Grant Putting Brakes on Nighttime Drag-Racing

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A 60-plus-year tradition of nighttime drag-racing on Carson streets is screeching to a halt, thanks to a $200,000 state grant to pay for extra police patrols. Half a dozen sheriff's deputies, one sergeant and extra California Highway Patrol officers are cracking down on the illegal racers, said Sgt. Ken Fitzpatrick, a traffic supervisor who oversees the program based out of the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Carson.

Drag-racing has become more difficult to track in recent years because of cellular phones and police scanners that allow racers to disperse before officers arrive, said Marilyn Sabin, spokeswoman for the state Office of Traffic Safety, which awarded the grant.

Since the state grant began funding overtime in the Carson area on May 6, hundreds of violators have been ticketed. Last Sunday alone, 90 citations were issued. San Diego is the only other Californian city to receive a state grant to curb illegal street racing.

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