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Street racing operation in Newport Beach leads to 3 arrests, 177 vehicle citations

A police officer speaks with a driver in Newport Beach.
A police officer speaks with the driver of a stopped vehicle during last weekend’s traffic enforcement operation by the Newport Beach Police Department and other local agencies.
(Courtesy of the Newport Beach Police Department)

Three people were arrested over the weekend as part of a joint traffic enforcement operation in Newport Beach, according to a news release issued by police officials.

The Newport Beach Police Department collaborated with the Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana police departments and the California Highway Patrol. Two referees from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair also participated in the operation, which was aimed at street racing and vehicles with loud or modified exhaust systems.

Officials reported 206 vehicles were stopped, and 177 of them were cited for vehicle violations. About 16 were inspected onsite by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, and one was cited for exceeding 100 mph.

Lt. Eric Little of the Newport Beach Police Department’s traffic division said officers have seen an increase in the number of vehicles either street racing or with loud exhaust systems on the road since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

“In Newport Beach, we haven’t seen a large number of street races or takeovers but do have a large number of loud vehicles with modified exhausts,” Little said in an email Wednesday. “This can affect the quality of life of our residents and visitors, and we field numerous complaints from the community.”

Little noted that street takeovers have happened in other neighboring Orange County cities, including Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. He didn’t elaborate on any major hot spots for such takeovers, noting that car clubs tend to meet at different locations and travel together.

The individuals arrested Saturday face different charges, including evading a peace officer and possession of a loaded firearm; one was an unlicensed driver with warrants.

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