LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (PIX11) – The NYPD is investigating the actions of its police officers in the lead-up to a deadly crash that killed two men riding an ATV in Queens Friday.
The NYPD is investigating whether police officers were chasing the illegal ATV when it crashed into a tractor-trailer truck in Long Island City near Queens Plaza South and Jackson Avenue around 1:40 a.m., officials said.
Two police officers have been placed on modified duty pending an investigation of the incident, an NYPD spokesperson said. The New York Daily News first reported the development.
Angel Lopez, a 22-year-old Bronx man, and his male passenger, were both killed while riding the ATV, police said. Right before the crash, they had noticed police nearby around Jackson Avenue, so they allegedly tried to get away from the officers, sources told PIX11 News. Lopez may have been driving the wrong way when the crash happened, the source said.
The fatal crash comes as the NYPD takes a more aggressive approach to rid New York City of dirt bikes and ATVs, which are illegal on city streets. Police have seized hundreds of them in recent weeks.
The NYPD has developed new tactics and strategies to seize illegal dirt bikes and ATVs and selected a group of officers to undergo extra training, officials said.
The department hasn’t disclosed all the details of the new strategies, but it doesn’t include chasing ATV and dirt bike riders, NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said earlier this month.
“A lot of the time, we just try to catch them off guard,” Maddrey said on Aug. 2. “Catch them when they’re not paying attention. Catch them when they’re stopping.”
The NYPD has seized approximately 3,000 dirt bikes and ATVs so far in 2022, officials said.
PIX11’s Nicole Johnson and Katie Corrado contributed to this report.