Inside look at Houston's illegal street racing

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When night falls in Houston, the street racers come out to play. (KTRK)

When night falls in Houston, the street racers come out to play. The need for speed is an obsession fueled often by high stakes bets or just plain ego.

"It's been pretty widespread over the last 15 to 20 years," said Harris County Sheriff assistant chief Joe O'Leary.

But when those drivers crash, they can take lives and change families forever.

"For their little 30 seconds of fun, they ruined and whole entire family," said Jazmine Turcios.

Turcios' mother, Maria Rodriguez, was killed in a tragic car accident. A truck that appeared on surveillance video racing down Pasadena Boulevard rammed into her car.

Turcios' father was also killed in a crash just a year earlier.

"It's something that we are going to carry with us for the rest of our lives," Turcios said.

These deaths are what fuel O'Leary's undercover team. The illegal racing task force is on the hunt looking for racers on Houston's streets and surveying social media sites to gain intelligence.

"You will see a lot of vehicles that run around with cameras mounted on them videotaping their activities as they go," O'Leary said.

Eyewitness News tagged along with an undercover officer Saturday night. We cruised along I-10 around 11 p.m., one of Houston's many racing hot spots. We spotted a race about to take place, but the drivers backed out.

"We have to see the offender actually engaged in street race in order to make an arrest for this offense," O'Leary said.

Our night ended without any arrests, but just last month seven suspected racers were taken to jail. Last March, another big bust netted nine men.

"If we come out with 10 deputies, we will often times get 10 arrests within a couple of hours," O'Leary said. "I've personally witnessed runs to over 225 miles per hour."
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