HCSO cracking down on illegal street racing, urging racers to practice on legal race tracks

HCSO is cracking down on street racing, but not without an alternative

BAYTOWN, Texas – Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and other law enforcement leaders held a news conference to call for an end to illegal street racing. Gonzalez talked about the dangers of illegal street racing and urged racers to practice their hobby on legal race tracks and not on public roads.

The news conference comes as race aficionados converge in Baytown for the annual TX2K21 Roll & Drag Race Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. According to Seth Angel, the owner and operator of Houston Raceway Park, the event is a street-car-focused, five-day competition that will feature some of the fastest street cars in the world.

According to Gonzalez, the event is a great way for racers and fans to enjoy street racing in a controlled environment. However, despite having the option to race legally for just $20, Gonzalez said some still choose to endanger their lives and the lives of innocent bystanders by racing on public streets.

“Just last month, our sheriff’s office deputies investigated a dangerous street incident that resulted in a crash that killed two young brothers, ages 14 and 16,” Gonzalez said. “...The problem of illegal street racing and street takeovers has gotten so bad that last year our sheriff’s office created a special traffic crimes unit that is tasked with shutting down these drivers.”

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said the county is actively seizing vehicles that are being used in illegal street racing.

“While the adrenaline is exciting, it’s not so great then to have to rebuy your car back once it has been lawfully seized and forfeited as an instrument of a crime,” Ogg said.

According to Ogg, 86 cars have been seized and so far “six have been finally and totally forfeited, 15 resulted in settlements with the car owners, 47 of those cases remain pending and we’ve returned 18.”

Gonzalez said he understands the need for speed, but if you do it on the streets, you will be prosecuted.

“Like Ricky Bobby, I know some of you just want to go fast,” Gonzalez said. “But there is a right way to do it, and there is a wrong way that is likely to land you in jail and your expensive muscle car at the impound yard.”

Watch the full news conference below:

Press conference on the dangers of illegal street racing ahead of the TX2K21 Roll & Drag Race Nationals. We're at the Houston Raceway Park's starting line with our partners to urge car race fans to practice their hobby on legal race tracks and not on our public roads ahead. If you have any information related to illegal street racing activities, please call 713-221-6000 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 713-222-8477.

Posted by Harris County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.