Nashville police officer dragged by 4-wheeler in 'reckless and willful act of endangerment'

Police in Nashville, Tenn., are searching for the driver of an off-road vehicle that hit one of their officers and dragged him through downtown over the weekend.

Sgt. John Bourque, a 22-year veteran of the force, was treated for minor injuries and released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center Saturday. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) said the 4-wheeler that struck Bourque was one of "dirt bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, and four-wheelers that illegally took over Broadway."

Witnesses said the riders were running red lights, making illegal turns, popping wheelies and otherwise driving recklessly. A statement from police said the group was "weaving in and out of moving and parked vehicles, endangering motorists and pedestrians, when Sergeant Bourque was struck."

The Tennessean newspaper reported that the group sped off after striking another vehicle in addition to Sergeant Bourque.

"We are confident that the MNPD will endeavor to identify and charge all who were involved in this reckless and willful act of endangerment," the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police said.

One rider told Fox 17 their goal was to introduce at-risk kids to a hobby that would keep them off the streets and away from gangs and gun violence.

"A lot of kids involved with guns nowadays, you know, not going to school," a rider told the station. "I mean, just out here on the streets for the wrong reasons."

She added that the riders did not mean to put anyone at risk, but wanted to show off their skills.

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"They battle," she said. "It's not a battle as in it's a bad thing. It's a battle as in, 'let's see your tricks and I’ll show you mine,' you know?

Authorities said many of the vehicles were not registered or street legal. Anyone with information about the driver of the 4-wheeler is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.

Click for more from Fox17.com.