FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Over the Easter weekend, Fresno police officers were overwhelmed with street racing and sideshow calls.
The Fresno Police Department said that officers were called to at least 8 sideshows starting at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday until 1:00 a.m. Monday. Overall, there were over 110 citations, close to 60 vehicles impounded (40 of the vehicles impounded for 30 days), and one gun recovered.
“Someone is going to get killed,” said Fresno Police Lt. Anthony Dewall. “I cannot believe it has not happened yet.”
The exclusive video on our station shows cars doing donuts and driving recklessly. Exhaust filled the air as a few of the cars barely miss the spectators filming.
“It is shocking and it should be because it is outside of the norm of what you should see in our city,” said Mayor Jerry Dyer.
Lt. Anthony Dewall said police officers were called to the Belmont Avenue and Fresno Street intersection but didn’t show up until it was pretty much over because the department was overwhelmed with 8 other sideshow calls at the same time.
“Essentially, we just ran out of bodies,” said Dewall.
Around 30 police officers were assigned to traffic control on Easter. Dyer said when he was police chief, there were around 80 officers in the traffic unit.
“We need to get back to that,” said Dyer.
Dyer said his proposed budget will add officer positions.
“Specifically to deal with street racing and sideshows from an enforcement perspective,” said Dyer.
Dewall warned drivers and spectators who take part in sideshows. He said if they are caught they will be arrested, face charges, a citation, and have their vehicle impounded for up to 30 days. Dewall said that if a driver injures a spectator during the sideshow, the charge becomes a felony.
“We are taking some pretty strict enforcement not only on the drivers themselves but on the spectators. The spectators are as nearly as guilty as the driver,” said Dewall.
The Fresno Police Department is working with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol to create a street racing enforcement team.
Police are also reviewing social media videos and said if there is enough evidence that a driver or spectator took part in the sideshow, they could face penalties.