FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The Chief of Fresno Police Paco Balderrama says there have already been more than 150 street racing complaints in Fresno so far in 2021.
In response, the police department began an operation they call ‘Stay Safe Don’t Race.’ It got off to a hot start this past weekend.
The department saturated the streets Saturday night, with 85 officers spread through the city and surrounding areas. The results of the night: 189 total citations, 44 vehicles towed and impounded, 10 DUI arrests, and 2 recovered illegal firearms.
“To have people with illegal weapons that are involved in street racing is a huge deal for Fresno. It speaks to the amount of danger that we’re seeing,” said Deputy Chief Mike Reid.
Among the speakers at Wednesday’s press conference, Dana Xiong, whose 17-year-old daughter Allison was one of three who lost their lives on December 26 after being struck by a street racer. 21-year-old Linda Chang and 27-year-old Christopher Vang also died in the crash.
“I couldn’t protect Ally that night, but today I am speaking out in hopes that safer streets might protect someone else’s life,” Xiong said.
According to Chief Balderamma, street racing in Fresno will cost roughly $16,000 when tow fees, fines, attorney fees, and insurance costs are added together. He also says the vehicle will be taken away for 30 days.
“Obviously you’re using that vehicle to facilitate your racing. These are big consequences but we have to get the message out there,” he said.
Balderrama said he wants to conduct these operations as often as possible, but understaffing at the department is also a factor.