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Man charged in street race

Ben Godar

Despite a rash of high-speed crashes in neighboring communities and

the recent arrest of a teenager for driving more than 100 mph through

local freeway traffic, Burbank Police and the California Highway

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Patrol say street racing in Burbank is uncommon.

Last month, Stephen Patino, a 19-year-old Los Angeles resident,

was allegedly racing his 2001 Honda Civic eastbound on the Ventura

(134) Freeway packed with morning commuters, CHP Officer Vince Bell

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said. Patino’s car and one other car passed a CHP officer near the

Hollywood Way interchange and continued east just past the Golden

State (5) Freeway junction, where the officer was able to get Patino

to pull over, Bell said.

Patino was booked June 20 by Burbank Police on suspicion of

participating in a speed contest and released on $10,000 bail. The driver he was racing managed to drive away.

Bell said it is rare for the CHP to catch cars racing cars in the

act, even though motorists using cell phones frequently alert

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officers.

“A black and white tends to deter this type of activity around

us,” he said. “Something like this where we witness it is not an

everyday occurrence.”

The arrest came just a day after two Glendale men -- a 19-year-old

driver and his 18-year-old passenger -- died during a street race on

Glenoaks Boulevard in Sun Valley.

On Tuesday, a 17-year-old Glendale resident speeding along

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Glenoaks Boulevard was critically injured when he lost control of his

car and struck a cement signal post and a tree.

Those and other incidents, including the fatal crash of a street

racer Monday night in Canoga Park, should drive home the dangers of

street racing, Bell said.

“You can just look at the incidents in the last couple of

[weeks],” he said. “This kind of activity kills people.”

Despite the arrest, Bell said street racing is relatively rare in

Burbank, particularly compared to areas of the San Fernando Valley.

Burbank Police Det. Paul Orlowski said several years ago there was

a problem with racing on Vanowen Street, but he could not recall any

incidents in the past couple of years.

Orlowski said there is little police can do to prevent a

spontaneous race from happening, but he believes high visibility has

prevented any organized racing from developing.

“We generally have a lot of cars just moving about, and that tends

to keep people from trying to do it,” he said.


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