Dallas police weren't chasing motorcyclists before fatal crash



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Posted on September 7, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 21 at 6:40 PM

Should police be more aggressive in dealing with motorcyclists who are breaking the law?

DALLAS — Drivers call them a menace: Motorcyclists weaving through traffic at speeds close to 100 mph.

Earlier this summer, News 8 reported that motorcycle groups are drawn to North Texas toll roads by their long stretches of open road.

They usually get away with it, but now one rider is dead.

Late Monday night, a group of 10 riders was racing on the Dallas North Tollway. One of them rammed into the back of a pickup truck and was killed.

It's a difficult situation for police. They are charged with stopping crime, but they rarely pursue speeding motorcycles.

"For us to follow, we would only be adding to an already dangerous situation," explained Dallas police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell.

Traffic camera video from Monday night showed a speeding motorcycle doing a wheelie, while a platoon of others followed in the southbound lanes of the Dallas North Tollway. A Dallas police cruiser turned on its lights to initiate a traffic stop, but quickly backed down; they did not pursue.

The video showed the same group of motorcyclists exiting  the tollway at Mockingbird Lane, then making  a U-turn and heading north.

Again, police attempted to make a stop, but did not chase them.

A short time later, 22-year-old Preston Cass of Garland crashed into the back of a pickup truck. He was thrown from his motorcycle and crashed into a median barrier.

Cass, who was wearing a helmet,  died early Tuesday at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Dallas police said one biker in the group did pull over, and was given a ticket.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating Monday night's crash. They said they will use the surveillance video to look for clues and to attempt to identify the other bikers.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com