Cops Crack Down On Street Racers

Family9 (movie)VehiclesCrime, Law and JusticeCrimeDeath

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Policeare launching a new campaign called "Operation Crackdown" to put astop to illegal street racing in the San Diego area.

Authorities say whenpopular movies like "Fast and the Furious" open at the box office, theysee a surge in street racing.

"We find when themovies come out, the incidents of speeding and racing goes up a little bit,"said Bernard Gonzales, public information officer with the Chula Vista PoliceDepartment.

Last week, AlexandriaDrake, of Chula Vista, was killed in a car accident on Highway 67 in Ramona.The 25 year old mother was driving with her baby in a car seat in the back ofthe car. Witnesses told police that her car was side swiped by a Jaguar thatwent out of control during a street race. Drake died in the crash. Her baby survived.

On Monday, local lawenforcement held a news conference at the Chula Vista Police Department toannounce the creation of "Operation Crackdown." Funded through a$600,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, it will includemembers from every law enforcement agency in San Diego County.The money will beused to train officers to spot cars that are not street legal. Funds will alsobe used to pay for officer overtime.

Owners of race cars can becited or arrested, and their cars can be impounded or even crushed.

"If that's what ittakes to get their attention, that is what we will do," Chula Vista PoliceChief Rick Emerson said."These cars can mean death on the streets, andthat's what we are really trying to avoid here."

On Friday the task forceconducted their first operation. They made 94 citations, including 17 impoundsand eight arrests. More operations are scheduled.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times