Southold police arrest motorcyclist following high speed chase

Southold Town Police arrested a woman Tuesday after she allegedly fled from highway patrol officers on a motorcycle at a rate of speed in excess of 100 miles per hour and continued to attempt her escape on foot.

Officers arrested Katerina Tzannes, 25, of Greenport and Bayside at 2:04 p.m. on Manhasset Avenue in Greenport. In addition to third-degree fleeing from an officer and traveling at an “imprudent speed,” Southold police charged Ms. Tzannes with eight additional counts, including having an improper plate, a motorcycle violation; having a knowingly obscured, covered plate; improper passing in a motorcycle; improper passing on the right; unsafe turn or failure to signal; operating a vehicle without an inspection certificate; driving an uninsured vehicle; and driving an unregistered vehicle.

According to Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley, Ms. Tzannes allegedly passed a highway patrol car while heading east on Sound Avenue near Harbes Family Farm Tuesday afternoon. The officer began to pursue Ms. Tzannes for a license plate the chief alleged was bent upwards to purposely obscure it from view. Police charge that Ms. Tzannes failed to stop and accelerated to flee. Mr. Flatley said the highway patrol officer continued to follow Ms. Tzannes east towards Greenport, but did not chase her in a high-speed pursuit. Instead, the chief explained, the department’s officers strategized, as he alleged that highway patrol officers have been long-acquainted with the red motorcycle Ms. Tzannes allegedly operated.

“That bike has taken off on [police officers] probably at least four or five times over the last a year, year and a half,” the chief said. “When it takes off on them when they’re doing speed enforcement, they don’t bother chasing it because it’s not safe. The bike just goes so fast, there’s no way they can catch up to it.

“The woman who was driving this motorcycle drives like that all the time, passing cars on the left, passing on the right … [Officers have previously recorded] her on radar speeding [on County Route 48],” Mr. Flatley alleged. “But whenever you take off after a bike like that, it’s almost impossible to catch up to them because of the speeds they’re traveling at. And it’s unsafe [to chase] for a traffic violation.”

According to the chief, the officers’ familiarity with this particular motorcycle engendered Tuesday’s arrest.

“One of the previous times we were looking for the bike, [the pursuit effort] ended up on Manhasset Avenue,” he said. “We had a little previous knowledge as the where [the rider’s] destination was going to be.”

After Ms. Tzannes allegedly fled from the highway patrol officer on Sound Avenue heading east, multiple Southold police cars were stationed on Manhasset Avenue. The officers’ hunch proved correct, as the chief said officers pursued Ms. Tzannes down the dead-end street and searched the surrounding wooded area on foot. Authorites claim to have found the motorcycle, as well as a jacket and helmet Ms. Tzannes allegedly wore, along with some of her personal effects, including her cell phone. They then apprehended the 25-year-old.

“The way it ended yesterday was nice because we didn’t have to chase [the motorcyclist], we didn’t have to get into anything really dangerous,” Mr. Flatley said. “We waited where we thought it was heading and were able to pick it up there.”

Police said Ms. Tzannes’ motorcycle was impounded for unlawful fleeing the police. She was processed and released with a court date.