ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – St. Johns County deputies believe they've identified a motorcyclist who they say has been driving recklessly but has eluded traffic stops several times.
Deputies said they had received complaints about the rider, but every time they tried to pull him over, he sped off.
One driver snapped a photo of the motorcyclist before calling 911 to report him. Deputies released that photo about 11 a.m. Thursday, asking the community to help identify the man, who drivers say has been seen dangerously passing between cars and speeding down bicycle lanes.
The photo was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook and tons of tips flooded into the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. Less than seven hours later, deputies announced Thursday night that they believe they've identified the rider of the motorcycle.
Deputies said they starting looking for the motorcyclist after he had been seen driving recklessly in the area of U.S. 1 South and State Road 312 westbound toward SR 207 and then north on South Holmes Boulevard.
The driver had also been spotted frequently in the St. Augustine Beach area, driving east over the 312 bridge early in the morning, deputies said.
Steven Barnes, a motorcycle safety expert, said it appeared the motorcyclist is no beginner.
"He obviously knows how to get up and go, knows how to get out of people's way and weave in and out of traffic. So he sounds like he's had some riding time behind him, definitely," Barnes said.
Deputies said they had a tough time tracking the rider down because the motorcycle's tag appears to be tampered with so that it cannot be read, even at very close distances.
The Sheriff's Office thanked community members for all of their help and for submitting information about the motorcyclist. Deputies said they will be following up with the man.
Barnes said he was upset to see another case that paints motorcyclists in a bad light.
"If you look at someone driving like a maniac and not doing what they should be doing, that can put you in a different category. But there is also a lot of sport bike riders out there who ride very cautiously," he said.