SPRINGFIELD — One of seven bikers given a citation for violating Springfield’s “Stay at Home” order speaks out, and police comment on the incident.
Dusty Sneed was one of those bikers given citations. He says Wednesday night, April 7, started with his group of motorcyclists riding through the city. It ended in him being among seven to get a citation.
“Nice night, why not? And so we made our round around town – literally just a loop around town,” Sneed says.
After their recreational ride around Springfield, he says they stopped at the Kum & Go on Battlefield and Kimbrough to get drinks and snacks.
“And we weren’t even in there for a couple minutes, literally you know – grabbing stuff and heading out after we paid for them. Some guys were getting gas. The clerk came out yelling at us saying we have to leave the property immediately or she’s calling the cops,” Sneed explains.
So, they left, and went across the street the Eagle Stop at 820 E. Battlefield. Sneed says the Eagle Stop was closed at the time.
“We ride over here at the Eagle Stop, finish our drinks and snacks, and a couple minutes later, about four officers swarmed on us. A couple of the officers were really nice, saying that we weren’t going to get tickets or nothing like that, and then all of the sudden tickets started going – handed out left and right,” Sneed says.
KOLR10 was not able to get an interview with police, but did talk to SPD spokesperson Jasmine Bailey.
She said indicated that a recreational motorcycle ride isn’t deemed an essential activity, even if they did stop for food along the way.
SPD put out the following statement Thursday regarding the incident :
“On April 7, 2020 at 11:44 p.m. Springfield Police Officers were dispatched to a gas station at 820 E. Battlefield Rd in response to citizen complaints that a large group of motorcyclists were driving erratically, loitering, and were possibly intoxicated. When officers arrived, they witnessed a group of individuals in the parking lot.
After speaking with the individuals, officers could not determine any essential reason for them to be out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, all seven of the individuals present were issued citations for violating the City’s “Stay at Home” order that is in place to address the health and safety issues related to COVID-19
A recent News-Leader story by columnist Steve Pokin related to this incident created questions about any restrictions regarding motorcycles, because the individuals cited happened to be on motorcycles. As we have noted in the past, Springfield Police Officers are not going to stop drivers solely to determine if they are engaged in essential activity. The “Stay at Home” order, does not restrict any specific mode of transportation, including motorcycles, to or from essential activities. However, drivers are reminded they should only be on the roadways when absolutely necessary.”
Sneed denies that anyone was drinking, and says nobody was given a breathalyzer or a DWI.
Sneed says there were multiple groups of motorcyclists that were at the Eagle Stop, but some fled. He says those who stayed were ticketed – but only those who were driving motorcycles.
He wondered why everyone didn’t get a citation, including a female on the back of one of the motorcycles, and some who were with them driving cars.
Sneed believes he was adhering to the order because outdoor activity was allowed, including riding bikes, and he thinks his motorcycle should count.
“What’s the difference between riding a bike, and riding a motorcycle? One’s motorized, one’s not? That’s what you’re going to classify it as?” Sneed says.
Section 3 of the “Stay at Home” order says that outdoor activities are allowed such as “biking, walking, hiking, or running.”
Bailey says that motorcycle riding is not a traditional outdoor activity, and that the “outdoor activity” in the order suggests physical exercise.
Those who received citations face up to 180 days in jail, and/or up to a $1,000 fine.