‘Knock it off, we’re tired of it’: Fresno street racing crackdown now in force

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – It’s been nearly two months since a street racing crash killed four people in northwest Fresno, at the intersection of Palm and Bullard avenues.

“If you are racing in Fresno, knock it off, we’re tired of it, we don’t want to see it anymore, take it somewhere else, and get it out of our city,” said Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi.

It was overnight Dec. 26, 2020, when officers say 18-year-old Irvin Villarreal ran a red light going 100 mph and crashed into two cars.

Four people, including Villarreal, died at the scene. The youngest victim was 17-year-old Allison Chang, a student at Sanger High School.

“Whether you are the family of the victim or of the driver, the families are the ones that lose,” said Karbassi.

That night, Lauren Tillotson lost her best friend Allison.

“She was very funny and very caring and she never turned away anyone. She was always there for you,” said Tillotson.

On Monday, Allison’s friends went to her gravesite for the first time to lay flowers, candles, and some of her favorite things.

“Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I remember she always made us cards, so I was kind of missing the little cards that she drew for us yesterday. So, I was thinking of her,” said Tillotson.

A billboard has since gone up at Blackstone and Shaw avenues to remind drivers of the penalties of street racing. It is part of a new operation with Fresno Police, the California Highway Patrol, and the California Bureau of Automotive Repair to crackdown on racing and sideshows. 

“If you get caught for racing not only will you get a 30-day impound which you will have to pay every day, your insurance rates can go up to 50%, you will have attorney’s fees, you could end up paying up to $16,000 for that impound,” said Councilmember Karbassi.

It’s a price Allison’s friends hope will prevent another tragedy.

“I want her life to mean something, and I don’t want her life to be in vain. I just want to make a positive difference for her,” said Tillotson.

Karbassi encourages residents who want to report racing to call the Fresno Police Department at their non-emergency line 559-621-7000.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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