SAN ANTONIO – After its ramped up enforcement late last year into early this year, San Antonio police reports “a steady decline in street racing and reckless driving exhibitions.”
An SAPD spokesman said arrests and impounding vehicles contributed to the decline.
Even so, just before midnight Wednesday, a 22-year-old driver of a Nissan coming over a hill in the 8000 block of Prue Road was killed in a head-on collision with a Mercedes and a BMW.
Police said the vehicles were racing side-by-side where Prue Road goes from three lanes down to two, leading up to the hill where the unsuspecting driver was struck.
It was the second fatality in less than a year along the same section of Prue Road.
Last November, 18-year-old Dominique Orta was ejected from the back seat of a Ford Mustang after the vehicle next to it swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle.
“Same thing, side-by-side, got bumped, and he hit the pole, rolled over and the young lady got killed,” said James Wilson, a retired Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who lives in a subdivision adjacent to where the deadly crashes occurred. “Same thing, teenagers.”
As a former DPS trooper and with two deadly street racing incidents so close to where he and his wife lives, Wilson said, “It’s definitely getting worse, and I’ve seen it first-hand.”
Wilson said he urges parents “to step up” by talking to their children, especially if they ask to borrow the car.
Levi Lewis, president and founder of the 1,700-member car club, Alamo City LX Modern Mopar, said, “A lot of this is just being driven by the desire to be insta-famous. They want to be on social media and they want to derive those likes.”
Lewis said street racers also now have access to faster cars and said street racing has been around as long as cars have.
“Sadly, around the country, unfortunately, the mindset has changed dramatically,” he said.
Lewis said many people have the mistaken belief that legitimate car clubs are associated with street racing. He said that’s not the case.
“It’s prohibited specifically in our by-laws and we make no bones about it,” Lewis said. “We find out that if you’re doing it, you will no longer be part of our organization.”
Lewis said new street racing laws will help if the maximum penalties are imposed on racers and spectators alike.
The new laws range from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony and confiscating the vehicles of repeat offenders, cases involving alcohol, or causing serious injury or a fatality.
Asked what more SAPD can do, a spokesman said, the department continually uses data in developing its “enforcement strategies.”
But, he said, it also needs public input.
“We encourage the community to report such incidents and patterns of dangerous activities in their communities,” the spokesman said.