12 May 2015

"We tell them 'Let us inspect your car or you'll go to jail, and we'll still inspect your car.'" LAPD Cracking Down On Car Modifications To Curb Street Racing

The sporty little car with the red paint and racing stickers was caught.

Parked beside a Granada Hills road and its handcuffed driver, the Toyota Supra sat with its big modified exhaust hanging just above the ground, like a dog with its tail between its legs.

"Remember me?" Officer Will Durr said to the driver — an embarrassed college student he'd pulled over days before in the same illegally modified car.

Durr grinned as he stood beneath the car's popped hood, ogling the turbo-charged engine, shining his flashlight over the modified air intake that allowed the vehicle to breathe in more power-giving air.

Like the other officers in the Los Angeles Police Department's Aggressive Driving Detail, Durr is trying to put the brakes on illegal street racing, one vehicle code violation at a time.

The driver swore he didn't race. So did his brother, sitting in the passenger seat with both hands on the dashboard.

"It's not like we're bad kids," the brother said sheepishly. "Besides, I drive a Prius!"

Durr ticketed the driver and threatened to impound the car if he saw it again. As the young man drove off, Durr laughed at having been recognized.

"We're getting pretty famous out here, the Aggressive Driving Detail," he said before hopping on his motorcycle to look for more potential racers.

From "Rebel Without a Cause" to the "The Fast and the Furious" films, illegal street racing is woven into Southern California's DNA — in movies and in real life.

It's a subculture that approaches the tribal: insular, with its own coded language, distrustful of outsiders.

"You feel the adrenaline pumping in your body. It's like getting on a roller coaster," said Dave Vazquez, 34, who started racing as a teen before giving it up because he didn't want to lose his car to police or get into a bad wreck.

In February, two spectators were killed during a race in Chatsworth, when a Mustang spun out and plowed into the crowd. In March, a driver died in Gardena. Last month, a man racing his brother died after he lost control of his Mitsubishi GT 3000 and crashed into another car in San Bernardino.

After the Chatsworth crash — which drew attention after dozens of spectators scattered, leaving the dead and the wreckage behind — people on the tightknit racing scene became even more suspicious of strangers, whom some thought might be undercover cops. For many of the drivers, even talking about the scene is taboo.

"It's dry snitching," said one man at a recent illegal race. "If I get caught, I'll get beat up."

On a recent night, a Corvette and an Audi lined up on a deserted street in Southeast L.A. A man in a black shirt with a racing logo stood between them. He lowered his arms, sending the cars screeching forward. The air filled with the smell of fuel and burnt tires.

Minutes before a police helicopter lighted up the scene like a UFO, the cars blazed past a maker of pool products, an office furniture factory — and the Entenmann-Rovin Co.

It makes police badges.

In November, the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division formed the seven-officer Aggressive Driving Detail, the department's only unit dedicated to street racing.

The unit has made more than 70 arrests for reckless driving and street racing and handed out more than 900 citations for illegally modified vehicles, said Sgt. Greg Fuqua, who leads the unit.

"They know we're out here," Fuqua said. "We tell them, 'Let us inspect your car or you'll go to jail and we'll still inspect your car.'" Fuqua said that sometimes drivers will beg for speeding tickets, trying to avoid vehicle inspections out of fear that they'll lose their cars. 

Authorities do not keep track of deaths and accidents related to street racing. But last month, dozens of law enforcement officials met in the Valley to discuss what they called a growing epidemic, agreeing to create a multi-agency task force to combat the activity. They talked about pushing legislation that would stiffen penalties for illegal car modifications — and about struggling to keep up with people who have become adept at using social media to stay ahead of law enforcement when setting up races.

"They jump on any one of their social media sites, only to move the problem to one of our partnering jurisdictions," said LAPD Capt. John McMahon.

On a recent night, Yungster323 — a private Instagram account followed by racers — put up a cryptic post: There would be a meet on Tuesday night. Send a private message to the account to get the location.

Read More:http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-racing-20150511-story.html#page=1


  1. Communist Mexafornia.. I'm surprised you're still ALLOWED to OWN cars there.

  2. Screw the pigs we the people will do as we please with OUR cars.

  3. LAPD needs more non-violent criminals to arrest because REAL criminals are dangerous; what else would you expect from a bunch of microencephallic stooges who need magnifying glasses to pee upright and maps, GPS, and a service dogs to find their own asses.