Thursday, February 9, 2012
Motorsickle Maniac On Loose In Iowa
Iowa Motorsickle Maniac Clocked At 188 MPH Convicted
By Nicole Paseka, The Des Moines Register
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – A motorcyclist whose speeds reached 188 mph during a chase by troopers may spend two years in prison after he is sentenced March 8.
James Foldenauer of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was found guilty Wednesday of traveling at excessive speed and eluding a police officer as he drove Aug. 5, 2009, on Interstate 29 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. The speed limit was 70 mph, and he and another motorcyclist were clocked at 89 mph in a construction zone.
The other motorcyclist, a woman, stopped, said Sgt. Bryan Michelsen of the Iowa State Patrol. Foldenauer accelerated his 2003 Suzuki Hayabusa and reached 188 mph near Honey Creek, Iowa.
But that's not the fastest motorcycle chase: Michelsen said he found records from the Minnesota Highway Patrol clocking a motorcycle at 205 mph. Two Iowa State Patrol officers on the ground and one in the air pursued Foldenauer although the police cars couldn't keep up with the motorcycle.
"I don't think he knew we had a plane over him. If he had known that, he probably would have stopped," Michelsen said.
Pilot Scott Pigsley said he was concerned on that day about the safety of not only the motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, but also everyone else traveling on I-29 in his path.
"I not only watched him pass on the shoulders at high rates of speed, but I saw him go on the centerline between semis and cars," Pigsley said.
Pigsley followed the motorcyclist across the Missouri River to an Omaha, Neb., residence, where Omaha police officers arrested him.
Michael Murphy, Foldenauer's lawyer, says that the motorcyclist whom the Iowa State Patrol tracked that day was not Foldenauer.
"His motorcycle was an orange motorcycle, kind of a bright orange. Everybody identified a red motorcycle, so that was our problem we had," Murphy said. The Pottawattamie County jury didn't buy it.
Dena Gray-Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Transportation, said Foldenauer's license will be revoked one year, and he can request a work permit.
Foldenauer has been cited previously for less serious traffic offenses, online court records show.
Michelsen said no one knows for sure why Foldenauer didn't stop.
"I guess we'll never know 100 percent because he never did confess," Michelsen said.