Illegal street racing is menacing innocent citizens across Texas, from rural expanses to congested urban areas such as San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Jim Adler & Associates urges law officers to crack down on those who endanger innocent persons for thrills.
We also caution drivers to be wary of street racers, to avoid them if possible and to alert police about their locations.
As for street racers, they can keep this in mind: Under the Texas Penal Code, illegal street racing is a Class B misdemeanor. Racers who break the law can face jail time of up to 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
Street racers also can have their driver’s license suspended for up to one year, and they must complete 10 hours of community service before it is restored.
Repeat offenders can have the so-called book thrown at them. They can be charged with a second-degree felony and have their license suspended. They also can face a fine of up to $10,000, jail time of 2 to 20 years, or both. A third felony offense even could lead to life in prison.
Texas’ street racing laws were upgraded to these levels in 2003. Prior to that, street racing was a simple traffic violation.
Of course, street racers also can face another thing: a car wreck injury lawsuit filed by Jim Adler on behalf of innocent victims if their racing harms anyone.
This month, San Antonio TV station KENS Chan nel 5 reported that street racing is growing in the Alamo City. The station quoted San Antonio Police Officer Douglas Greene as saying, “People have been seriously injured, or killed. When you’re racing, you’re putting other people’s lives in danger.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety shows speeding as a growing contributor to the city’s thousands of auto accidents. In 2012, Bexar County had 1,453 speeding crashes. Last year, the county had 1,776 speeding crashes, including 30 fatalities.
One was Jessie Zerwas, 31, who apparently was drag racing when his Corvette crashed and burned.
Street racers also are menacing the Houston area. Earlier this month, police say two racing cars caused a three-vehicle collision on Almeda Road near Beltway 8 when they struck a center median and went out of control. A pickup truck also was hit, but the innocent couple inside somehow escaped injury.
Officials with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the two cars were traveling at an extremely high rate of speed and appear to have been racing.
Last year, a Baptist minister and his wife were killed when a truck involved in street racing ran a red light and hit their car at the feeder of West Sam Houston Beltway and Bammel North Houston. Killed were Jesse Estrada Sabillon and Maria Sabillon, who’d been married for 30 years.
YouTube videos also have been posted of underground street racing in Houston. But keep in mind there’s a big difference between illegal street racing and sanctioned drag racing, a sport that is regulated and organized with emphases on safety.
In Dallas this month, police staged a crackdown on street racing at a traditional racing spot on Forney Road near Seldon Way, in the Pleasant Grove area.
Dallas Police arrested 14 persons — two for racing on a highway, and 10 for criminal trespass. Police also impounded five vehicles, recovered a stolen firearm and seized drug paraphernalia from among the many spectators who had gathered at the scene.
Last year in Southeast Dallas, a bystander was killed in a street racing crash on Lake June Road. One speeding vehicle went out of control and struck several parked cars. The victim, a pedestrian, was hit in a crosswalk around 100 yards away, and his body was severed.
Two persons were arrested for racing which resulted in serious bodily injury or death.
Enough is enough. Jim Adler & Associates encourages Texas law officers to continue cracking down on selfish, reckless and dangerous street racing which endangers innocent persons. Mere thrills are not worth the terrible price of serious injuries or deaths in street racing accidents.