DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Police are cracking down on street races in the city. Over the weekend, a driver died after losing control while accelerating and crashed into a tree near Sloan’s Lake. DPD says road racing could have been a factor.
“It is a very dangerous activity,” said DPD department head of the patrol Ron Thomas. “Where we see that mostly is actually on the freeways and then on open stretches of road.”
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Thomas says lower traffic during the pandemic compounded the problem. In 2020, more than 100 people were arrested for illegal street racing. Last summer, Denver police closed the lanes around Federal Boulevard to address the problem in the area.
Now racers are finding other parts of town to put the pedal on the metal.
“Some of the road closures we have put in place for security reasons, such as around Federal Boulevard, have resulted in people looking for cruises and hauling races elsewhere,” said Thomas. “Certainly the pandemic has kept people from doing certain things, bars are closed, some of the other activities have stopped, and so it has filled that void for a lot of people.”
Last month, road races brought traffic to a standstill on I-225 in Aurora. Earlier this month, pedestrian Jessica Allen was killed in a car race near the 18th and Lawrence in downtown Denver.
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“We usually look at it in the summer months and this year we saw it much earlier in the season than we usually saw,” said Thomas.
Residents can report illegal street races online. You can also call (720) 913-2000.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies are working together to curb illegal sport.
“We generally know when these activities are happening so we make sure our helicopters are available to provide cover from above and we have dedicated officials in each district responsible for responding to cruises and cruising street events all over town, ”said Thomas.
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DPD is working with the Colorado State Patrol to promote safer alternatives to road racing with events like “Take it to the Track” at the Bandimere Speedway. It takes place every Wednesday and allows drivers to race in a safe and controlled environment.