Brooklyn-living, ATV-riding Wilfredo Garcia got away from Hollywood police officers’ hot pursuit back on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then, Garcia indulged in the vogue social-media-or-it’s-not-real philosophy.
Which is how Garcia wound up in New York City’s Rikers Island jail for a week before being extradited to Broward County on Thursday.
Reckless driving and fleeing and eluding law enforcement charges await Garcia, whom Hollywood police tracked down through his social media posts, particularly a video selfie of Garcia racing from police.
Garcia’s Facebook page screams of his ATV affection. His last two posts: WPLG-Channel 10 overhead videos of the MLK Day “Bikes Up, Guns Down” motorcycle and ATV ride.
The ride, also called “Wheels Up, Guns Down,” protests gun violence — although some critics, including many in law enforcement, believe swarms of stunt-trying, red-light running riders wind up promoting a different perilous behavior throughout the weekend. The public warnings of both Miami-Dade police and the Broward Sheriff’s Office were still echoing when an ATV rider crashed fatally on Jan. 15.
The next day around 5:20 p.m., according to Hollywood police’s arrest warrant, Garcia rolled up U.S. 441 at 50 mph in a 35 mph zone on his ATV. Around the 300 block, he made a U-turn through construction barriers into southbound traffic, which braked to avoid running him over.
That set Hollywood police after Garcia. Another U-turn and the chase buzzed south on U.S. 441. Garcia took a video of himself alternating cackles into the camera with dismissive glances over his shoulder at police SUVs. Eventually, Garcia mockingly shouted into the camera, “Get ’em! Get ’em!”
Police dropped off to apprehend another rider. Garcia got away.
Until, that is, Garcia posted the video to his Instagram page, @banshee_will, with the hashtag #bikesupgunsdown. Soon after, Hollywood Sgt. Justin Schweighardt found himself watching his pursuit of Garcia with a view that looked back at the front of his police Chevy Tahoe.
Several other posts depicting the chase, the arrest affidavit says, gave up information that clearly identified Garcia as the ATV driver who didn’t stop for the Hollywood cops. New York police picked up Garcia for Hollywood on Jan. 25.