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Woman on motorcycle clocked at 150 mph during I-275 chase, troopers say

Gina Aidaliz Henry, 38, is accused of weaving in and out of morning traffic between Tampa and St. Petersburg. The state is asking to keep her BMW bike.
Gina Henry was arrested April 22 after leading troopers on a chase from Tampa to St. Petersburg at speeds of more than 150 mph, the Highway Patrol said.
Gina Henry was arrested April 22 after leading troopers on a chase from Tampa to St. Petersburg at speeds of more than 150 mph, the Highway Patrol said. [ Facebook ]
Published May 27, 2020

TAMPA — A woman who works at a Tampa motorcycle dealership was arrested for hitting speeds of more than 150 mph as she fled from state troopers through morning traffic on Interstate 275 in Tampa, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Gina Aidaliz Henry, 38, of Lutz, was arrested April 22 on felony charges of unlawful speeding, reckless driving and fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer with lights and sirens activated.

Gina Henry was arrested in St. Petersburg and returned to Hillsborough County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Gina Henry was arrested in St. Petersburg and returned to Hillsborough County, the Florida Highway Patrol said. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

And whatever the outcome of the criminal case, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has asked that a court order the forfeiture of the motorcycle Henry was riding — a 2012 BMW S-1000RR, dubbed by enthusiasts as the “definitive superbike."

Troopers confiscated Henry’s motorcycle under Florida’s Contraband Forfeiture Act, court records said. So far, the courts have allowed the state to keep the vehicle, which has a suggested list price of just over $15,000.

In a thread of comments on her Facebook page May 1, Henry had a simple answer for friends asking why her motorcycle was impounded.

“Because I’m not faster than a helicopter,” she wrote.

Henry said on Facebook that after a year away, she would be returning soon to Moramoto motorcycle sales and repairs, with two stores in the Tampa Bay area.

Henry did not immediately respond to voicemails left Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Times at three phone numbers listed under her name, or to two direct messages sent to her Facebook page. Her St. Petersburg-based defense attorney, Lee Pearlman, did not return a voicemail or an email seeking comment.

An email sent to members of Moramoto’s management team and the company’s owner Tuesday was not returned, nor was a direct message sent to the company’s Facebook page and a voicemail left at the Dale Mabry Highway location where Henry works.

Henry’s troubles began when she was caught in a special enforcement effort coordinated by the Florida Highway Patrol along Interstate 275 between Bearss Avenue and downtown Tampa. Coronavirus restrictions kept people from work and school so morning traffic was light.

Court records in the forfeiture case give this account of what followed:

Troopers were parked in patrol cars near Fowler Avenue, working with a state helicopter monitoring speeds from above, when radar picked up Henry’s motorcycle headed south at 82 mph just after 8 a.m. The speed limit is 60 mph.

A state trooper turned on his lights and sirens and pursued Henry, signaling for her to pull over. But when Henry looked over her shoulder and saw the lights, she revved her engine and speed off down the highway.

Trooper Stephen Dachs turned off his lights and sirens and stopped the pursuit to avoid endangering other drivers. He knew the helicopter was continuing to record Henry’s movement with speed-detecting laser.

As Henry weaved in and out of traffic, between vehicles and along the shoulder, she hit speeds of over 150 mph, court records said.

She did more than 100 mph through downtown Tampa and across the Howard Frankland Bridge into Pinellas County before exiting at Fourth Street North. She was still traveling as fast as 100 mph as she headed down Fourth toward 115th Avenue, stopping at red lights but speeding off when they changed.

When Henry stopped for the light at the Gandy Boulevard overpass, troopers began a “coordinated approach."She turned left onto an eastbound service road at one point and found herself directly behind a Highway Patrol vehicle. This time, when the trooper switched on the lights and sirens and stopped his patrol car, Henry stopped, too.

She was arrested and taken to the Hillsborough County jail. She was released on bail the same day is scheduled for an arraignment Thursday, according to court records.

Henry fled from law enforcement once before, in 2015, and was arrested later at her home, court records said.

She sped away from an officer attempting a traffic stop in Gulfport, where she lived, killing her headlights and blowing through two red lights as she raced home. She completed a pretrial intervention program in return for conviction on a lesser charge.

Just days after her recent arrest, Henry wrote in a Facebook post that she was returning to Moramoto and the world of power sports as finance manager after a year-long career switch, including stints in finance, bartending and another motorcycle store.

“I’m grateful for the experiences and grateful for the people I’ve met and befriended!" she wrote. "But as they say, Home is where the heart is!”