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Bakersfield neighborhood taken over by reckless driving Sunday

Posted at 10:57 AM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 13:57:35-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Bakersfield Police Department is targeting illegal street racing activity over the weekend. According to BPD, officers impounded multiple vehicles, issued several citations, and arrested two people as a result. Now a disgruntled community in East Bakersfield is speaking out after hundreds of vehicles took over many streets in their neighborhood Sunday night.

23ABC's Bayan Wang spoke to those residents and explains what they had to deal with.

What residents off of Wenatchee and University avenues had to deal with is visible on the street. You can see skid marks from a bunch burnouts that police say happened Sunday night. It was the location where police say hundreds of vehicles gathered while blocking off side streets so that they could do burnouts and facilitate other reckless driving activity.

"It's like lawless, there's no law, there's no police," said resident George Peters. "The fire stations is right down here. I was waiting for the police. Nothing."

Residents who wanted to leave couldn't.

"They started to blocking off the intersections here not allowing any cars to pass through," explained resident Peter Kennedy. "They started to have a drift circle with about 1 to 3 cars at the same time."

According to Bakersfield Police Sergeant Robert Pair, about 500 people were in that neighborhood when police showed up. At one point an officer was struck in the face with a glass bottle. That suspect was arrested.

But the night didn't end there.

"That event then traveled to the Westside Parkway," said Pair. "Same number of vehicles associated with the event. They blocked off the Westside Parkway for several minutes to facilitate racing."
From there the group would make its way to a shopping center on Calloway in Northwest Bakersfield where officers would chase a motorcyclist, and arrest him for reckless driving.

"Officers encountered a hostile crowd at all of the locations," said Pair. "The investigation into the incidents are still ongoing. As a result of street racing enforcement this weekend there were 10 vehicles impounded, eight citations issued, and two arrests."

The majority of those impounds and citations happened on Saturday. Only two vehicles were impounded on Sunday making a lot of residents here question how there can be such a large event with such little enforcement.

Sergeant Pair said it was hard for officers to go into such a large crowd and pinpoint individuals who are breaking the law before the crowds started to flee.