Minibike rider dies fleeing cops in Qns.
BY TAMER EL-GHOBASHY,
GREG GITTRICH and TRACY CONNOR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Friday, July 30th, 2004
The minimotorcycle fad sweeping the city claimed the life of a Queens man early yesterday when he sped away from cops, hit a pothole and wiped out in an alleyway, police said.
Donte Pomar, 19, a parolee training to be a mechanic, was not wearing a helmet and did not have a license for the illegal two-wheeler, known as a pocket bike, officials said.
Police said the officers who tried to pull over Pomar followed but did not chase him - and were a block away when he crashed in the alley behind 78th Road in Kew Gardens Hills.
But Pomar's family is questioning the NYPD account. Hours after the accident, they contacted a politician for help, and consulted a lawyer who has worked on police misconduct cases.
"My gut feeling is that they tried to pull him over. Maybe they nudged him a little bit," Pomar's brother, Alan, told the Daily News. "They probably chased him. ... They caused the accident." :roll:
Minibikes, which are less than half the size of a normal motorcycle but cost only a few hundred bucks, are a growing craze in many neighborhoods.
But they are not legal to ride on public streets, and serious questions have been raised about their safety, since they can top speeds of 35 mph.
Pomar was tooling around on his red GS Moon model near his house about 3 a.m. when cops in an unmarked car spotted him, police said.
He did not stop, possibly because he has a suspended license and is on parole for car theft until 2008, friends said.
The cops followed as he zipped down Main St., rounded a corner onto 77th Road, turned right on 147th St. and entered the community driveway, police said.
The closest they got to him was three-quarters of a block, officials said.
After the crash, paramedics pronounced Pomar dead at the scene.
Highway police inspected the cops' car and the minibike and determined they never touched each other, and Internal Affairs also investigated, police said.
Nevertheless, Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), who was contacted by Pomar's relatives yesterday, said he has concerns about the officers' conduct.
"I want to know why [they] had to engage in a chase that leads to one's death if he's not wearing a helmet," he said. "It's at least reckless and poor judgment." :roll:
Near the spot where Pomar died, a small memorial of candles, flowers and beer bottles sprang up, and friends remembered him as a talented mechanic who was set to graduate from the Auto Diesel Institute.
They also could not believe that a joyride on a pocket bike could end in tragedy.
"It's messed up. Something is very fishy about this," said Millissa Nelson, 17. "If you fall or flip up, you'll break your arm or your ribs, but you just don't die." :roll:
With Tom Raftery