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Street Racers Facing A Crackdown, With Top Cop Promising More Cars Towed And $10K Fines

Supt. David Brown said the Police Department is cracking down on drag racers and stunt drivers: "Let's keep going until these knuckleheads get the message."

A car street races on South Loomis Street in Pilsen.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Police impounded seven cars and are looking for 22 more after they were used in street racing this weekend — but the city’s police superintendent is saying they’ll crack down even more.

This weekend saw a flurry of street racing and stunts that led to nine people getting arrested and officers impounding — or seeking to impound — dozens of cars, Chief Brian McDermott said at a Monday morning news conference.

Police have also said drag racers might have been responsible for hitting and killing a 40-year-old woman as she walked in a crosswalk.

Videos of drivers racing, drifting, doing doughnuts and doing other stunts spread quickly on social media.

But that’s exactly what police want, Supt. David Brown said at the news conference.

A new ordinance from the city allows the Police Department to impound cars used in drag racing and drifting — and officers can use videos like those posted on social media to go after the cars.

While seven cars have been impounded so far after the weekend’s activity, officers have put in requests to have 22 more impounded — and McDermott said he expects to see even more cars identified from the videos so officers can also go after them.

People might think they’ve “gotten away with these crimes,” but they could soon see their car towed and put in a pound, and they could face fines, McDermott said.

The city can fine people up to $10,000 for drag racing — not include other fees and fines — but Brown said he’d like to see that go even higher as part of the crackdown.

“I’m not opposed to raising it from $10,000 to $20,000, if it continues,” Brown said. “Let’s keep going until these knuckleheads get the message.”

People who pick up their impounded cars could be arrested if they face charges, Brown said.

People who participate in the caravans try to obscure their license plates and other identifying information, and they try to throw off police by posting false information about meetups online, Brown said.

But people can get in trouble for hiding their license plates, and officers will use videos to find them and fine them, Brown said.

“Our strategy is to take their car and increase the impoundment up to $10,000,” Brown said. “Not many people can afford to get their car out the pound if they spent already a lot of money on the car, and now they gotta spend up to $10,000 to get it out of the pound. So that’s our strategy.”

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