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Street racers impacting car enthusiasts as Elk Grove PD cracks down on illegal activity

Elk Grove police cracks down on illegal street racing, sideshows
Elk Grove police cracks down on illegal street racing, sideshows 03:12

ELK GROVE - The Elk Grove Police Department has made its second big bust this month on street racers.

Law enforcement agencies up and down the state have been cracking down on this illegal activity, but it is also impacting the car community.

"It kind of disheartens me having a car in the scene because I just want to enjoy the nice cars," said Chris Manaoat who lives in Elk Grove.

Manaoat has been taking care of his 1983 Toyota Celica Supra for the past 10 years and said he has never engaged in any type of street racing or sideshows.

"For a car enthusiast, we put our time, money and heart into building our cars, making it look nice," said Manaoat. "Not just for ourselves, but for other people to appreciate too."

He said street racers in sometimes similar classic cars ruin it for car enthusiasts like himself.

The Elk Grove Police Department has been cracking down on cars causing chaos. In one night last week, it issued 50 citations, towed eight cars, made three reckless driving arrests and one for DUI.

At the beginning of the month, they also had a similar night out at Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road where they made 74 vehicle stops, 55 citations, 10 vehicle tows and four arrests for reckless driving.

Spokesperson Christina Gonzalez for the Elk Grove Police Department said they were able to be successful in both of these enforcement nights by using officers on the ground, their traffic unit, Real Time Information Center -- which they use street cameras for -- and their UAS team that utilizes drones to detect dangerous drivers.

"They feel like they come in numbers and they can take over an area then it's theirs," said Jerry Sandline who lives in Elk Grove.

That is what people in nearby Stockton thought earlier this month. The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office impounded 88 cars and detained more than 150 people in one night.

All of those cars are now secured at the sheriff's office and are being searched for evidence in what the sheriff is calling a potentially record-breaking bust for California.

"Anytime these people come back here again and try to do this we are going to be waiting for them and we are going to do the exact same thing," said San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow.

Sideshows are less common in Elk Grove. Gonzalez said it is mostly car meet-ups that turn dangerous.

"They start off lawfully and people just show up uninvited and end up causing problems for them," said Gonzalez.

Linda Sawicki who lives in Galt said car racers have crashed into her neighbor's home twice, calling those who take part in driving recklessly: "lunatics."

"If you want to race, you can pay to go race at Sonoma on the racetrack," said Sawicki.

However, the recent crackdowns are giving communities hope that the dangerous drivers will stay off their streets.

"It gives us a bad name," said Manaoat. "Like I am just trying to have a nice car."

Gonzalez said Elk Grove PD has zero tolerance for this illegal behavior and plans to have more crackdowns if needed in the future. 

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