SAFFORD — On the last day of August, a speeding motorcyclist led law enforcement on a chase through the streets of Safford before wiping out, then unsuccessfully tried to escape on foot.
Later, he allegedly told Safford Police officers he tried to elude them because he was on probation.
The motorcycle chase started around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, when a Safford Police officer saw a man later identified as Timothy McClellan go through the intersection of 8th Avenue and Relation Street without stopping. McClellan then accelerated the vehicle, going more than 50 mph in a residential area.
The chase went through several turns, with McClellan running five more stop signs — including another one at 8th and Relation — as he dodged police and a sheriff’s deputy. At one point, after nearly colliding with a pursuing officer’s vehicle, McClellan briefly rode down a sidewalk. Fortunately, no pedestrians or bicyclists were out at that hour.
McClellan’s motorcycle finally went down near Relation Street and 9th Avenue. As Safford officers closed in, he started to run. During the ensuing foot chase, McClellan reportedly ran into the side of a Thatcher Police officer’s vehicle. Bouncing off the vehicle, McClellan kept running but was then tackled to the ground by the sheriff’s deputy.
McClellan reportedly struggled with officers but was finally handcuffed. According to the police report, his driver’s license was suspended and a syringe was found in one of his pockets. McClellan allegedly admitted the syringe contained heroin he planned to use. Asked why he was driving so recklessly, McClellan reportedly said he was on probation.
McClellan declined to give a blood sample. According to police reports, he passed one sobriety test but failed another; however, the failure may have been caused by prescription medication he was taking.
McClellan claimed someone had let him borrow the bike. According to police reports, the owner initially reported lending it to a friend, not McClellan, who did not return it. The owner later reported the motorcycle as stolen. However, a Safford officer recalled seeing the owner speaking with McClellan and a third man in Downtown Safford earlier that night. The owner admitted drinking at a local bar, according to reports, and police believed he may have lent someone the vehicle and forgotten doing so.
McClellan was booked into the Graham County Jail for reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, unlawful flight, resisting arrest and drug paraphernalia possession.