FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new influx of sideshows in Fresno has prompted the Fresno Police Department to warn residents about how dangerous the popular phenomenon can be.
Department officials say they received as many as 15 calls about sideshows on Sunday alone.
“They’re vehicle stunts, but it oftentimes results in them losing control of their vehicles – bystanders, spectators getting hit,” said Sgt. Todd Turney with the Fresno Police Department. “You have 4,000-pound vehicles coming at a high rate of speed that they can’t always control.”
Turney says the police department had received calls about sideshows from about 11:30 a.m. – until late into the night. Fresno Police officers issued 24 citations and impounded over 17 vehicles on Sunday alone.
“You know, we’re hoping not to see an uptick in those, but we are taking a lot of enforcement action and trying to be proactive with those and trying to stop them prior to them getting started,” said Sgt. Turney.
He said there were large sideshows reported at intersections such as Van Ness and Belmont, Jensen and Cornelia, Shaw and Blackstone, and others.
At Shaw and Blackstone, Marcus Angulo at Lamps Plus said around 3:00 in the afternoon sideshow participants used their parking lot to line up. They also blocked off the parking lot and the roads so customers couldn’t leave or enter. It ultimately killed business for the day.
“All of us do at least $3,000 to $4,000 a day, we did like $3,000 for the whole store so… we lost a good $4,000, $5,000 just from the sideshows,” said Angulo, a sales representative at Lamps Plus.
He is thankful nobody was hurt.
“Cops started coming, they ran over here, and that’s when it started getting dangerous though. Because people started leaving, and then especially everyone in line they wanted to get out of here…there could have been crashes,” he said.
Turney said the minimum penalty if you participate in a sideshow is a misdemeanor crime, and a $2,500 fee to retrieve an impounded vehicle. If someone is hurt, or property is damaged, you could be looking at felony charges.