DRAG RACING HEATS UP NIGHT; BRAVADO, RIVALRY IN VALLEY A DANGEROUS MIX.Byline: Phillip W. Browne Daily News Staff Writer
The squad cars moved in, red lights and sirens blaring Friday night at the intersection of Bledsoe Street and Bradley Avenue, and dozens of youths bolted for their cars.
At the Sylmar hot spot, scores escaped in a trail of smoke and dust from a Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. police dragnet Dragnet
radio show in which justice is always served. [Radio: Buxton, 73]
See : Crime Fighting targeting illegal street races. But others weren't so lucky.
``I'm dead,'' wailed a 17-year-old girl who was handcuffed and put in a squad car for curfew violation with handfuls of other teens. Officers would be calling their parents. ``I'm going to be dead.''
As she moved her cruiser into position, Foothill Division Officer Michelle Rodriguez said this is where a raid on street racers Street Racer is a racing game, similar to Super Mario Kart, released for the Super Nintendo in 1994, the PlayStation in 1995 and also the Amiga, Amiga CD32, Mega Drive/Genesis, PC and Sega Saturn. gets complicated.
``When they run, things get dangerous,'' Rodriguez said.
When the smoke cleared, about 75 cars and hundreds of youths remained, waiting for hours as the LAPD 1. LAPD - Link Access Procedure on the D channel.
2. LAPD - Los Angeles Police Department. searched every car, screened every person and wrote tickets for every vehicle code violation imaginable.
``This isn't fair. We're out here having a good time instead of drinking, partying and drugs,'' said 19-year-old Ree Rodriguez of Downey. ``These raids get scary. People drive out of here like crazy, and that's when people get hurt.''
The raid didn't crush the spirits of 21-year-old Shawn Hendrix, who travels to Los Angeles every summer from Oklahoma just for the races.
``Nobody likes to race on tracks. This is fun. It's better to sneak around,'' Hendrix said. ``It's a huge thrill. Look how exciting this is.''
With the approach of long, hot summer nights, young men are beginning to meet secretly on empty streets to push their heavily modified cars to triple-digit speeds. They're searching for the next rush, for living-on-the-edge excitement.
Two days before Friday night's action, longtime Valley street racer Eddie Perazzo leaned over a counter at Hi Speed Motorworks in Sylmar, explaining how racers come from San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. and Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. and San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden .
``It's like any other sport, but the adrenaline you get from it is something I can't really explain,'' said Perazzo, 24, manager of the performance shop.
Since 1995 about a dozen people have perished in racing incidents, including an 18-month-old girl who was a passenger in a car that wasn't racing.
Still, the danger doesn't stop the hard core who come for the thrill - and profits of victory. The stakes are in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to drivers with the top speed.
Some even bet their cars.
``The only time I've ever seen accidents is when someone is showing off, or when the cops come and make everyone scatter,'' said Perazzo. ``Safety is a big issue and some people get nervous, but I've never seen a watcher get hurt.''
``The biggest problem is these drivers are not skilled, and they are racing at more than 100 mph while kids are standing in the street,'' said LAPD Foothill Division Officer Ron Walker Ronald Joseph Walker AC CBE (born September, 1939) is an Australian businessman renowned in Melbourne for his work in managing sporting events. History
Walker attended Caulfield Grammar School, and served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1974 to 1976. .
The alcohol flows. Sometimes drugs. The clandestine CLANDESTINE. That which is done in secret and contrary to law.
2.Generally a clandestine act in case of the limitation of actions will prevent the act from running. events draw larger crowds than normal during the summer when streets roar with the sound of engines, bringing police task forces into the fold.
``These days you can get crowds of 400 kids out there, with about 200 cars racing. It's just plain dangerous,'' Walker said.
Street racer Ozzie Maya, 19, of Sylmar agreed the sport can be dangerous, but said that racers and police should come to some kind of arrangement.
``Maybe they could watch and make sure nothing goes wrong,'' Maya said, sitting behind the wheel of a $25,000 Mitsubishi Mirage The Mitsubishi Mirage is a subcompact car produced by Mitsubishi Motors from 1978 to 2002. It was sold as the Mitsubishi Colt and Lancer in many markets. 1978 . ``I don't think anyone would have a problem with that.''
Racers have also perfected their security to avoid detection, Walker said. They often have lookouts who will monitor police scanners and use cell phones to warn their friends, Walker said.
That makes it tough for police, who can't keep up with the movement and get bogged down with logistics in setting up enforcement.
``It's just tough to put these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. together. I've spent about 50 hours setting this one up,'' Walker said.
Still they have good days.
In October - the most recent crackdown - seven people were arrested and nearly 150 others were cited when sheriff's deputies broke up races in Lancaster.
But with several hot spots hot spots
acute moist dermatitis. throughout the Valley, it's easy to keep the races alive. They're held in Pacoima, Reseda, Northridge, Sylmar and Chatsworth. They travel into Lancaster near the area's landfill, and to Quartz Hill.
Street racing isn't new in the Valley. It began with hot rodders in the 1960s when the muscle-car craze began to take root. Its popularity hit the mainstream in 1973 when the film ``American Graffiti'' romanticized street races in the summer of 1962.
``For 30 years they've gone out for the thrill, to be the best, and to win money,'' Walker said.
A film student at California State University, Northridge CSUN offers a variety of programs leading to bachelor's degrees in 61 fields and master's degrees in 42 fields. The university has over 150,000 alumni. It's also home to a summer musical theater/theater program known as TADW (TeenAge Drama Workshop) that leads teenagers through an , who chronicled street racing in a documentary said the action turned out to be more dangerous than he expected.
``The whole thing is incredibly stupid,'' said Eric Zlotorynski, who spent a semester in 1998 filming Los Angeles street Los Angeles Street is a historic avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, California.
Traffic on the street travels northbound only, from the I-10 Freeway in the south of downtown, through the Fashion District, and on through Little Tokyo, where it ends after passing between LAPD racing culture.
``What struck me the most is that racers had a great lack of care or safety for other motorists and the kids who were watching,'' Zlotorynski said. ``I felt they were wasting - and risking - what life they have.''
But the showmanship and revelry Revelry
Revenge (See VENGEANCE.)
Reward (See PRIZE.)
in honor of Bacchus, god of wine. [Rom. Religion: NCE, 203]
Boar’s Head Tavern
scene of Falstaff’s carousals. [Br. Lit. are strong lures to young people, despite risks of arrest or worse.
``It's all about the rush, nice cars and being the best,'' said 20-year-old Carlos Parker of Simi Valley Simi Valley (sē`mē, sĭm`ē), city (1990 pop. 100,217), Ventura co., SW Calif. in an oil, fruit, and farm region; laid out 1887, inc. 1969. who cruises to the races in his modified Acura Integra.
They spend thousands on their cars, outfitting them with bigger engines, suspensions that improve traction and even nitrous oxide nitrous oxide or nitrogen (I) oxide, chemical compound, N2O, a colorless gas with a sweetish taste and odor. Its density is 1.977 grams per liter at STP. It is soluble in water, alcohol, ether, and other solvents. injectors, which makes the fuel burn faster for extra speed, Perazzo said.
``I've got a modified exhaust and intake that gives me about 15 percent more horsepower,'' Parker said. ``I've got it up to about 130 mph on the freeway, at night of course.''
With many modifications that aren't legal, customers have to sign a waiver exempting the Sylmar performance shop of any liability, Perazzo said.
``California has the toughest restrictions in the country,'' Perazzo said.
Cars these days are moving faster, crowds have grown larger and the death toll has risen, police say.
Most recently, a 20-year-old West Hills man died in March when his car crashed in a street race at speeds up to 100 mph. Paul Rolda was driving on Valley Circle Boulevard near El Canon Avenue when he lost control of his car and hit a tree.
The deaths aren't always from racing events.
Pasadena street racer Julio Mares, 19, died and his two passengers were critically injured in November 1997 as they fled from police who were breaking up a Sylmar street race.
He hit a tree, too.
A few days after his death, his mother, Maria Elena Mares, tried to convince her son's friends to quit risking their lives.
``I told them that they should stop the racing so that the same thing wouldn't happen to another teen-ager,'' said Mares, in Spanish. ``I told them to try to move forward, to succeed in life. I told them to see what had happened to our family and make sure it didn't happen to their families.''
Maria Mares said her life hasn't been the same since the death of her only son, who worked as a security guard. She has two younger daughters, ages 15 and 7.
As far as she knew, her son had never drag-raced nor shown any indications that it was a hobby of his.
``He would tell me that he would hang out with his friends,'' said Mares. ``I don't think drag racing drag racing
Form of motor racing in which two contestants race side by side from a standing start over a straight quarter-mile strip of pavement. Winners go on to compete against others in their class until only one is left undefeated. is good for youth. It's very dangerous for them to be doing that in the city.''
Daily News Staff Writer Yvette Cabrera contributed to this report.
PHOTO (1--Color) Police block a driver during Friday night's crackdown in Sylmar.
(2--3) Youths are detained de·tain
tr.v. de·tained, de·tain·ing, de·tains
1. To keep from proceeding; delay or retard.
2. To keep in custody or temporary confinement: by police officers, above, after an illegal street race in Sylmar on Friday night. At left, Phillip Santos, 19, of Sun Valley is questioned by an officer who holds a flashlight with a sensor that is capable of detecting alcohol.