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03-05-2006, 10:10 PM
State Police put the brakes on street racing in Norfolk
By STEVE STONE, The Virginian-Pilot
March 5, 2006



NORFOLK - Nine cars roared off the starting line Friday night, State Police said, hurtling down Interstate 564 near the Navy base.

But this was no NASCAR event, and there were no cheers at the finish - just a phalanx of blue lights and troopers ready to hand out tickets and seize the cars.

Police promise more of the same in a crack down on illegal street racing in Hampton Roads, where young drivers pour thousands of dollars into souped-up cars and gather in parking lots to show them off.

"This ain't a one-shot deal," said Sgt. D.S. Carr, a State Police spokesman. "We will be patrolling that area by air and by ground. If they want to race, we'll be back and seize more cars ."

State Police have been investigating and videotaping the racing for about a month since getting complaints from other motorists. Carr said some cars have been going as fast as 150 mph along I-564, where the limit is 55 mph.

Friday night's busts were accompanied by a flurry of ticket writing at a nearby parking lot where car enthusiasts had gathered.

In all, about 80 summonses were issued by troopers and Norfolk police, Carr said. No drugs or weapons were found.

Those charged with racing, if convicted, could lose their driver's licenses for up to two years. Whether owners get their cars back "is up to the judge," Carr said.

"It was a horrible night," said Mike Olson, 20, whose 1992 Honda Civic hatchback now sits in a police impound. "I put $10,000 to $12,000 into my car. It's my life. I just can't stand to have something like this taken away from me."

Although Olson denies high-speed racing, he said he was going 65 to 70 mph.

"I know what we did was wrong," Olson said. "I plan to take my punishment for it."

He's ready to pay fines and do community service but hopes he won't lose his car.

"That's basically a $12,000 fine," said Olson, who said he lives on his own and relies on the car for his livelihood.

State Police said it's a safety issue. All of those stopped on the interstate were 21 or younger. One was 17, Carr said.

"They don't have much driving experience to begin with, and they are out there driving at these speeds," said Sgt. Chris Hopkins.

Carr said the races happen mostly on weekend nights when traffic is light on I-564. He said the racers "take off and swap and jockey for position and see who can get to that ramp first" at Granby Street. They cover about 1-1/4 miles in a matter of moments.

Friday night's action, involving more than 40 officers, was carefully choreographed.

As the drivers gathered just after 11 p.m. in an underpass near the Navy base, they were being watched by police hiding along I-564. There also was a helicopter with a State Police coordinator aboard and Norfolk's commonwealth's attorney along to observe. City police and troopers blocked nearby ramps. As the cars took off, heading east, a pack of State Police cars drove onto the four-lane highway, heading west.

The approaching troopers "could see them down the road," coming at them, Carr said. The troopers then made

U-turns so they were heading the same way as the cars.

"Four abreast, we did a rolling roadblock," Carr said.

The nine drivers were charged with reckless driving for racing , and nine passengers were charged with aiding and abetting in racing.

Jeremy Maximini , 17, of Virginia Beach, said his 1997 Acura Integra was one of the cars seized. "I have street raced, but I don't do it to a point where I put my life in danger," Maximini said. "I have a life ahead of me."

He said he only went to watch Friday night. "I never thought I could get in trouble for watching."

He said his car was in front when he looked up and saw headlights coming at him. "I slowed down, but there was nowhere to go," Maximini said. Within seconds, he and the other cars were boxed in.

He said the car is in his mother's name. "She just really wants the car back. She just paid it off. She doesn't mind if I lose my license." He goes to court April 3. If he gets the car back, he plans to take the powerful engine out and "put in a stock engine and just drive it."


At Waco Avenue, in a parking lot near the Kroger off the 200 block of Little Creek Road, Norfolk police and state troopers set up a checkpoint and issued 44 tickets for violations ranging from suspended driver's licenses to equipment violation. Four cars were towed.

Carr said State Police agents had watched the lot for weeks and found it was "the staging area for the local racers."

Mekana Lopez , 29, of Norfolk, said she was given seven tickets, most for equipment or registration violations on her 1992 Honda Prelude. "I'm just out there to look around," she said. "I don't race."

Getting together in a parking lot "is just a social thing," said Amy Kranenberg , 25, of Virginia Beach.

"We have a hobby just as anyone has a hobby," she said. "We're all ages, all races. There are people that spend $200 on their cars or $30,000 on their cars. They're not doing drugs or drinking and driving."

Sung Kim, 20, an Old Dominion University political science major who runs a Web site dedicated to enthusiasts of drag racing vehicles in Virginia, said most are not lawbreakers.

"All they really want to do is talk to other people and admire each other's cars," Kim said. "All that racing stuff isn't a characteristic of most of these people."

He was not at Friday's sting .

"They know that it's illegal and there are consequences," Kim said. "If they are going to do those kinds of things, they are on their own."

Kim said he hopes police and city officials will try to take a more positive approach to the situation and meet with the car enthusiasts.

"Giving us a place to hang out," he said, "would keep people from doing drugs or drinking and driving."


Reach Steve Stone at (757) 446-2309 or steve.stone@pilotonline.com.

just wanted to share this clip with everybody.peace and be carefull

=cJ=
03-06-2006, 03:11 AM
Good on them, let's crack down and give 'em nowhere to go...

Well done mr plod, well done... :rolleyes:

GTinvader
03-06-2006, 07:15 AM
yeah when i lived there thats where everyone went. It was a pretty good spot too, there was almost never a car on the road. the only bad part about it was that there was a drive by shooting. here is the link to the video if anyone want to see it. http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=4585031 It was kinda funny cause i got a call from my dad saturday morning saying that the state and local cops rolled up there with flat beds to try and bust people.