An airman from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma is facing legal trouble after taking police on a high-speed motorcycle chase that authorities say reached up to 183 miles per hour.
Senior Airman Michael Alexander Workman, 24, of the 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron at Tinker, was arrested April 25 after taking his motorcycle for a spin, according to a report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. He was accompanied by two other motorcyclists.
According to the report:
Trooper Walter Jack was sitting in his patrol car on the side of I-35, in Love County, Oklahoma, a little after 4:30 p.m. when Workman and his friends passed on their sport bikes, going 80 miles per hour in a 70 zone. Jack hit his lights and siren and began pursuing the trio. He caught up to them and ordered them to pull over.
The situation quickly escalated. One motorcyclist sped up, made an unsafe lane change, and then began driving on the shoulder, but did not take part in the chase that ensued. Workman and the third motorcyclist accelerated to 120 miles per hour, before crossing into neighboring Carter County. Trooper Jack again activated his radar and saw that Workman’s red Honda motorcycle had hit 153 miles per hour.
Jack radioed dispatch about the high-speed chase and kept pursuing the two motorcyclists, watching them swerve from one lane to another and dodge to avoid hitting a slower vehicle.
After Jack had pursued them for about eight miles, the arrest report said, he again hit the radar and saw Workman had reached 183 miles per hour.
“There was approximately half a mile of separation from the lead (black) motorcycle and the second (red) motorcycle,” the report read. “Jack could observe that they were both passing slower vehicles on the inside lane and an incredibly high rate of speed.”
Traffic started to build up, forcing the two motorcycles to slow down. Jack pulled up beside Workman’s motorcycle and boxed him in against a pickup truck, which had pulled to the shoulder. He then pulled in front of the motorcycle and arrested Workman, who started to apologize for not stopping.
A dashcam video of the arrest captures the sound of Jack, audibly furious, admonishing Workman for being “stupid” and attempting such a dangerous escape after a minor infraction.
“You almost killed people out here!” Jack shouted. “You would have just got a ticket! Then you almost kill yourself!”
The third motorcyclist, Justin Wayne Digby of Wynnewood, Oklahoma, then approached, and Jack flagged him down and cited him for riding 80 in a 70, and for riding with an expired used dealer tag. Both motorcycles were impounded.
The lead motorcyclist was long gone by that point, but the report said Highway Patrol was later able to locate and identify him. That motorcyclist was not named in the report.
Video of Workman inside the patrol car shows him clearly anguished as Jack questioned him about the other riders.
“I can’t lie, I’m in the military,” Workman said. “I know both of them. I’m not gonna [expletive] lose my job because of them. I didn’t even want to [expletive] ride that fast.”
Jack was booked in Carter County on a charge of endangering others while attempting to elude a police officer, which is a felony punishable by between one and five years in jail and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. He was freed on a $2,000 surety bond.
The Air Force then asked to take over the case against Workman, and Oklahoma district attorney Craig Ladd on May 7 dropped the state’s charges against him.
Workman’s attorney declined to comment when reached by telephone Thursday.
Workman is a comm systems operator in the 1A351 airborne mission systems career field, who entered active duty in December 2015, according to information released by the Air Force Personnel Center.
Adding insult to injury, as Jack pulled away with Workman in custody, Workman said he was expecting a call to tell him what time he had to report back to Tinker that coming Monday, but had lost his phone miles beforehand while riding in Texas.
“Oh, that sucks!” Jack said in the video. “That’s about right.”
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.