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Member of street racing "side shows" organization speaks to 23ABC

Posted at 5:45 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 20:45:33-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bakersfield police reported 200 to 300 vehicles took over several streets near University and Wenatchee avenues for street racing over the weekend. 23ABC's Bayan Wang talked to a person who part took in the illegal racing and what they had to say to those living in the area.

One of the members of the social media groups that organized the events, which they call "Side Shows" told 23ABC that they know what they're doing is illegal, they know they cause a ruckus whenever they take over a neighborhood to do burnouts and donuts, and at the end of the day he said these kinds of activities will continue.

"I understand that it is illegal and what we do is wrong and I get that we disturb the peace and I apologize completely on everyone's behalf, but like I said, it's just the thrill," explained Elijah Lopez, a member of the group that organized the event.

The BPD said about 300 vehicles took over the neighborhood off University and Wenatchee avenues on August 10th and blocked off several streets.

"Sometimes we have takeovers which is other cities come down here and they have their car meets with us and that's why this past Sunday was so packed," continued Lopez.

Lopez said some participants drove all the way to Bakersfield from Texas, Oakland, Fresno, Visalia, and Los Angeles.

"We kind of keep the dates secret until we can figure out when we can do it because when we do Saturday and Sunday every week the cops know where to go, when to go, so we try to keep them guessing a little bit, making sure they don't know the schedule all the time," said Lopez.

But on August 10th Bakersfield Police rolled up, dispersing the crowd. The group then moved to the Westside Parkway blocking off westbound lanes for more reckless driving activities.

"They did take over a freeway and a lot of people they get that adrenaline rush. They get happy because they get to see this. But at the same time, there are people trying to get home and see their families and for that, I apologize," said Lopez.

Lopez also extended his apology to the East Bakersfield community his group disrupted.

However, when he was asked "what if the neighbors just say look we don't want your apology we just want you to stop this," he responded that there isn't anything he can do.

"The only thing is that is not under my control. Even if I was to tell these groups 'hey do you think we can stop this' they're not going to listen."

Lopez also said that if there was a place that law enforcement provided for them to do these sorts of activities he thinks his group would be more than willing to go there.

Before COVID-19 started Bakersfield Police Sgt. Robert Pair said they were in talks with several businesses and officials to get something like this going but the pandemic has put a pause on that. Pair said when things clear up they are going to resume those efforts but for now, he asked that these groups respect the community and stop their illegal activities on the streets.