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Some Want To Increase Punishment For Street Racing

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- A Maryland tragedy brought state police to Annapolis to ask for jail time for people caught in illegal street races.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the proposal has gained momentum.

A street race in Prince George's County in 2008 resembled a massacre. Survivors gave a gruesome account of the dead and the injured.

"People were getting hit with body parts.  People's body parts was breaking other people's body parts," said one witness.

"People was chaos," said another.

In 2009 in Baltimore County, a street race ended with two killed and one other person left permanently disabled.  Families were shocked to learn that in each event, there's no penalty for injuring a person, other than traffic charges.

"Currently, if someone is involved in a race with a serious injury, all we can write them is a $290 ticket that they can pay and never have to appear in court," said Lt. Tom Woodard.

Maryland State Police asked the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday to put more teeth in the law, to allow them to charge a participant if someone is seriously injured in a race and to provide fines and jail times.

Baltimore City Delegate Keiffer Mitchell says races are happening in his district.

"Late night races, parents worried about their kids and loved ones involved in these races," Mitchell said.

No one testified in opposition to the bill Wednesday.

While law enforcement and AAA support this bill, some members of the Judiciary Committee do not.  It failed to pass this committee last year.

The law does allow manslaughter charges in cases where people are killed.

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