ATVs impounded and arrests made after Wheels Up, Guns Down ride

Participation appeared lower than in recent years

While there may have been fewer people riding recklessly in the annual South Florida event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there were more than 20 arrests and over 50 citations in Miami-Dade and Broward.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Several ATVs, motorbikes and Slingshots are sitting at Downtown Towing on Tuesday after the annual Wheels Up, Guns Down ride on Martin Luther King Jr. Day led to a number of arrests and citations in South Florida.

Police officers have been parked out front as people come to claim bikes that were confiscated. We’ve learned that some of those rides were stolen.

This year’s ride didn’t appear to have as many participants as in previous years. Downtown Towing in Miami-Dade said they had about 10 impounded vehicles this year, compared to about 70 a year ago.

But it was still a dangerous turnout.

Sky 10 captured riders doing donuts, popping wheelies and putting on quite the show — while putting nearby drivers’ lives at risk.

This year’s ride in South Florida didn’t appear to have as many participants as in previous years, but there were still arrests and heavy fines for riders who broke the law.

“ATVs are prohibited on the highway. Riding on one wheel is prohibited. It carries high fines,” said Lt. Yanko Reyes of the Florida Highway Patrol.

The riders outnumbered Florida Highway Patrol at times and could be seen running red lights.

Law enforcement could be seen standing by, making sure to keep the group off of areas like major highways and Port Miami.

The Miami-Dade Police Department released the following statistics from its traffic safety initiative that ran Friday through Monday:

  • 6 ATVs impounded
  • 4 Motor/Dirt Bikes impounded
  • 7 Felony arrests
  • 4 Misdemeanor arrests
  • 5 Traffic arrests
  • 24 Moving citations
  • 4 Non-Moving citations
  • 6 Guns recovered

The Broward Sheriff’s Office released these numbers:

  • 3 Bikes towed
  • 6 Arrests
  • 26 Citations
  • 1 Handgun recovered

At last check, there were no serious injuries reported as a result of this year’s ride.

Some arrests got violent though, as was the case of German Barja. An arrest report details how officers stopped him in a group of riders. He allegedly charged at officers after trying to run, leading to a tussle on the ground where he grabbed the officer’s gun.

Police were able to wrestle that gun away from him and make the arrest.

Most suspects involved have been charged with fleeing and eluding, as well as reckless driving.

WATCH LIVE: Sky10 following groups of motorcycle and ATV riders out for the annual Wheels Up, Guns Down event that takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. More:

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Monday, January 18, 2021

About the Authors:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.