GARDENA (CBSLA) — Police in the South Bay are trying to prevent potential injuries and deaths with a newly formed task force focused on street races happening dangerously close to spectators.
The California Highway Patrol is cracking down on so-called “sideshows,” which can include everything from drag racing to modified vehicles doing burnouts right next eager crowds of onlookers. Participants often block intersections with zero regard for safety, let alone any consideration for drivers stuck behind them.
“It’s terrifying because they’re so close, and one and one slip can end a teenager’s life or somebody’s life,” said Saul Suria. He grounded his 17-year-old son for making too many modifications to his truck.
Over the past weekend, the newly formed group made busts in the Inland Empire at several sideshows, which included some passengers hanging out of windows.
Drivers were arrested, cars were impounded and spectators got ticketed, which did not sit well with some.
“Let us go have fun. They shouldn’t have harassed us,” said one passenger, despite the proven dangers of the rubber-burning spectacle.
In late August at such one such gathering, a car in Bellflower lost control before plowing into a group of observers, and it was all caught on cellphone camera.
Parents like Suria are afraid social media can push people to participate in the stunts without realizing things can turn bad quickly.
“They’re knuckleheads. They don’t think until they see what the consequences are,” said Suria. “Even when that happens, it’s forgotten by next weekend, and they’re at it again.”