ST. GEORGE — A group of motorcyclists in Southern Utah claim police made them miss the graveside service of a friend. But police insist the group was breaking the law.
More than a dozen motorcyclists Saturday were escorting a funeral procession for Josh Maynard, who passed away from cancer. They said Maynard requested to have his friends and family follow the hearse to the cemetery in Virgin on motorcycles.
The group left from St. George but was stopped by Hurricane police. Police called the motorcyclists’ actions unsafe.
"A large group of motorcyclists were traveling through two intersections, where they would stop, block traffic, and continue traveling through red lights,” said Sgt. Brandon Buell of the Hurricane Police Department. “Because of this and the way they were doing it, the officers were concerned that they were impeding traffic as well as violating traffic laws."
"There were no permits that were issued, and we were never contacted or even talked to prior to this procession coming through," Buell added.
One person who was pulled over, Robert Mortensen, said it was “uncalled for.”
Mortensen said it appeared to him police were profiling because the group consisted of bikers. He estimated the procession included 100 people. He said police pulled over 13 of them.
"He broke the law by stopping us. He should have helped the funeral procession," Mortensen said. "The cars even waved to us to go ahead. No one was ever in danger."
Mortensen said police gave him a warning but he is upset that he missed the graveside service.