Woman's video of man riding ATV on I-10 near Gentilly goes viral - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Woman's video of man riding ATV on I-10 near Gentilly goes viral

Source: Alicia Conforto Source: Alicia Conforto

On Wednesday during Alicia Conforto's commute eastbound on I-10, she recorded something she still finds hard to believe, a man driving an ATV doing donuts, popping wheelies and weaving in and out of traffic lanes.  

"It was like he just owned the place, and we were just kind of in his way. It was like his own little race track," Conforto said. "It was very reckless and surprising and baffling and bizarre all in one."

Conforto's video has more than 140,000 views and nearly 2,000 shares on Facebook.  

She said the ATV driver stayed on I-10 for about a quarter of a mile before the high rise during rush hour traffic. 

"Before I took the video, he had been popping wheelies and like riding on a wheelie for a good while. I wasn't going to video it. I was like that's dangerous. He's already in front of me. That's dangerous but then I was like no one is going to believe me. I have got to get this on video," Conforto said. 

Monday, FOX 8 went to the area Conforto took her video, but before arriving at that section of the interstate we found a crew, riding three ATV's and two dirt bikes down Gentilly Blvd.

None of the riders wanted to talk on camera but did want to say why they rode illegally. 

"We do it just to stay out of trouble. We could be out there in the streets selling drugs, shooting one another. It's not that. It's a sport. Just a way of venting so you don't have none of that. It's all peace. Bikes up guns down," one of the riders said. 
None of the riders were the man caught on the interstate last week.

FOX 8 followed the crew from Gentilly, through Mid City, Central City, and finally parted ways with them near Uptown. 

During the nearly hour long ride, the riders did not encounter a single marked New Orleans police unit even as the group disregarded traffic signs.

"Let's say you take away all the bikes. Now what? It's back to more crime. It's back to going to the neighborhood and now you don't have nothing to do," the rider said. "It's a hobby, a way of life. Just like people go to the race track and race cars, this is people's hobby." 

But a hobby for some, has led to dangerous and even deadly outcomes in New Orleans recent past. 

In 2014, an accused drunk ATV driver killed 37-year-old Daphne Cola outside the Mother in Law's Lounge.

Last February, police say another drunk ATV driver plunged his four-wheeler into a second line and broke a woman's ankle.

"You saw us do a hard crackdown a while back. But we have not seen a lot of that, and it's starting to resurface again," NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said. 

Harrison said officers are trained to pull over ATV drivers on public streets and the interstate but are told to use caution if pursuing an ATV. 

"If we think it's safe enough to do it, then we can authorize [the stop]. There is no policy not to chase, but we just have make sure that officers are safe and that were are not causing undue and unnecessary harm and risks to the citizens. 

The group of ATV and dirt bike riders did say they have gotten stopped by officers before.

NOPD said the department is aware of the interstate video but have not gotten any formal complaints about the driver or any other ATV drivers on the interstate. 

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