71ºF

At least 20 arrested over weekend after police crackdown on illegal street racing

HOUSTON – Street racing and street take-overs have become epidemic in Harris County, drawing crowds that can number in the hundreds to deserted parking lots and lonely highways to race and show off.

These gatherings often result in accidents, injuries and deaths.

“We want them to understand this is not fun and games,” said Sgt. Ana Ortiz with the Harris Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Hector and Alice Herrera know that all too well. They live near a street racing hot spot in the 14000 block of JFK Boulevard near Bush Airport.

“It’s scary, bottom line scary,” Alice said.

In the time they’ve lived here, they’ve had three cars crash into their house or property. The last one stopped by a palm tree in the front yard. Hector said there’s been a marked increase since last February.

“A lot of cars zooming through here. Just pealing out. You hear the cars just racing up and down the road,” Hector said.

Even as our crew talked with the Herreras, a driver careened recklessly down their residential street in broad daylight.

For the last year, police have had to deal with a lack of jail space due to COVID-19 concerns, preventing them from really cracking down on street racers. But that changed last weekend.

City, county and state law enforcement officers arrested about 20 racers on charges ranging from reckless driving to deadly conduct and issued over 100 citations. Houston police Chief Art Acevedo promises more to come.

“Those arrests, prior to this last weekend, would not have been happening because of COIVD,” Acevedo said. “They are now happening. They are now happening, which means we not only arrest you, not only take your car, we also search your vehicle and your person for fruits of other crimes.”