Guns, drugs and fast cars: Jacksonville police crackdown on street racing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Police are cracking down on illegal street racing in Jacksonville.

On Monday, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said in the last two weeks officers have arrested 11 people, impounded 10 vehicles, and written over 200 traffic citations. JSO said multiple guns and drugs were also seized. The effort is in partnership with Florida Highway Patrol.

The crackdown comes after a string of street racing incidents across the area.

Two weeks ago, we told you about dozens of cars taking over Southside Boulevard, jolting neighbors awake with the sound of roaring engines and screeching tires. One woman told Action News Jax the noise kept her up most of the night. “It just kept going all night long. Can’t sleep, agitating the dogs. It was pretty bad,” Samantha Jacobs said.

In another incident, car clubs swarmed downtown, shutting down streets outside the sheriff’s office headquarters. Neighbors captured video from their Berkman balconies. “They were standing in place just burning rubber, smoke going up into the air, revving their engines and a lot of them had no mufflers so they were just trying to make a lot of noise,” Jack Bilski said.

Last July, police say two street racers collided. They survived, but an innocent woman in a third car died.

Action News Jax investigator Emily Turner found dozens of videos of dangerous driving recorded by underground car clubs and posted online.

In a Facebook post last week, JSO reminded people that it is illegal to participate in the spectating of street racing, as well as riding as a passenger in a vehicle that is street racing.

Street racing is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a $500 fine. If a death occurs because of racing, a driver could receive a mandatory minimum prison term of four years for racing manslaughter. Spectators who watch a race could be fined between $250 and $500.

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Posted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 2, 2022
Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.