Authorities try to put the brakes on street racing

January 21, 2010 4:58:12 PM PST
Residents in a west Harris County neighborhood tell us they're fed up. The sound of roaring engines is something they hear on a daily and nightly basis. Now law enforcement is trying to put the brakes on street racing. Homeowners in the Wingate subdivision say the street racing problem along Westheimer is getting so out of hand, they sometimes see it at all hours of the day. But it's the people who work at nearby businesses in this strip center who often get a front row seat.

Cutting hair may be Jack Morris's specialty, but working at the Men's Barber Shop on Westheimer has taught him a lot about something else.

"You see a lot of fast cars out there, a lot of them -- speeding, racing," he said.

Morris says they fly down Westheimer at speeds of up to 80 miles an hour. That's 30 miles above the posted speed limit.

"It'll scare you to death if you walk out there, if you're not thinking," Morris said. "It'll scare you to death."

Authorities say those who engage in street racing have formed fairly sophisticated networks who now organize their events trough social networking websites. Many use strip center parking lots up and down Westheimer as staging areas, mostly at night and on weekends.

Wingate Homeowner's Association President Dianne Williams said, "This is a deliberate, pre-meditated endangerment of innocent people."

Williams recently voiced her frustrations to Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia at a town hall meeting.

Capt. Lanny Hitchcock with the Harris County Sheriff's Department told Eyewitness News, "Deputies assigned to the areas where street racing takes place are encouraged to stake out hotspots when time permits."

Morris says more patrols would be nice.

"I don't think it's right," he said. "They should slow down."

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is urging residents who see street racing not just here but anywhere in the county to call and report it immediately at 713-221-6000.
Have you caught video of street racing? If so, you can send it to ABC13 Eyewitness News here.