SAN DIEGO — FOX 5 obtained video from a Rancho Peñasquitos resident taken in January, showing street racing and a dangerous takeover along Carmel Mountain Road.
Smoke from burning tires filled the air as drivers performed stunts, including donuts in the middle of the intersection while crowds stood and watched just feet away.
“You have this vehicle drifting in the middle and it can hit those pedestrians and has hit pedestrians regularly here in San Diego and across the nation,” SDPD Lt. Dan Hall told FOX 5 Thursday.
The same takeover happened outside an organized car meet where souped-up vehicles packed a shopping center parking lot.
Organizers told FOX 5 these car meets are referred to as “park and chills” – and they’re meant to be a safe space where the car community comes together.
“There’s always a time and place for stuff like that. But in the middle of an intersection, in front of a car meet — it’s not the safest spot for stuff like that, so we definitely don’t encourage it,” said one car meet organizer.
Police say the car meets often lead to illegal activity.
“We had a really good case where at these meets one of the major organizers was involved in distributing ghost guns. This is happening at these events,” said Hall.
Hall says the racing and takeovers often include vandalism and thousands of dollars worth of damaged property. But he adds, law enforcement efforts have also ramped up, cracking down on drivers with vehicles that are not street-legal.
“We want those patrol officers that are dealing with them to start making stops, start enforcing California vehicle code and start letting these people know that participate or modify their vehicles that this isn’t OK and that we will be there to provide enforcement,” said Hall.