A motorcyclist is accused of zipping along a Dakota County highway with his 3-year-old daughter seated in front of him and his 5-year-old son behind -- none with helmets.
Michael B. Johnson, 44, of Mendota Heights, was charged in District Court by summons with child endangerment, a gross misdemeanor.
Helmet use is required in Minnesota for anyone on a motorcycle who is 17 or younger.
The charge alleges that Johnson put the children "in a situation likely to substantially harm" them.
"They're my kids, we do it all the time!" read a police report, quoting Johnson soon after he was stopped a few blocks east of Hwy. 13 and three blocks from his home. "My kids ride their own motorcycles. I ride a motorcycle. ... This is like ... for our family. ... Do you know what I mean?"
A telephone message seeking comment from Johnson was not returned on Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint:
A police officer spotted Johnson shortly after 8:20 p.m. Aug. 3 northbound on the north end of Hwy. 13 (Sibley Memorial Highway) near Annapolis Street, with the two children aboard. None had head gear. Only Johnson wore protective eyewear.
The officer turned around and "had to travel at a high rate of speed" to catch up to the motorcycle and make Johnson pull over.
The speed limit on that stretch of highway is 40 miles per hour.
The boy's feet did not reach the foot rests, and there were no foot rests available for the girl.
He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the case on Oct. 1.