Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says he’s launching a statewide task force to target the “rise in dangerous street takeovers happening across Texas.” A street takeover, or sideshow, involves a group of people blocking off intersections with vehicles and spectators and then drivers use the intersection to perform stunts, like drifting, spin-outs, donuts or other.
According to Frank Heinz,
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says he’s launching a statewide task force to target the “rise in dangerous street takeovers happening across Texas.”
A street takeover, or sideshow, involves a group of people blocking off intersections with vehicles and spectators and then drivers use the intersection to perform stunts, like drifting, spin-outs, donuts or other dangerous tricks.
Abbott is directing the Texas Department of Public Safety to bring an end to the takeovers described as “violent and more frequent, resulting in injuries to law enforcement officers and endangering the public.”
The governor said the DPS task force would work closely with local officials and law enforcement to investigate, prosecute, and prevent takeovers.
“We must send a clear message that these reckless, coordinated criminal events will not be tolerated in Texas,” Abbott said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Grapevine Police said they arrested a 22-year-old man they said was the “ringleader” of a New Year’s Eve street stunt takeover along the city’s Main Street entertainment district. At one point an onlooker ignited fireworks in the intersection, which sparked a small fire in the grass next to a restaurant.
In January, Fort Worth Police said a fatal car crash that killed two people and injured two others was tied to an intersection takeover near West 7th Street and White Settlement Road when the driver sped away with his lights off before crashing and flipping over.
Last weekend in Austin, KXAN-TV reported police responded to four different “street takeover” incidents on Saturday night. During these takeovers, Austin Police said the crowd threw rocks and bottles and pointed lasers at officers.
A YouTube video linked from the KXAN report showed officers in Sunset Valley interacting with a crowd in a shopping center parking lot before the takeovers took place. Sunset Valley Police Chief Lenn Carter told KXAN that the officer was trying to establish a connection with the organizer while warning them that if they crossed a line they could face consequences.
Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw said the takeovers are risking the lives of Texans and Texas law enforcement officers.
“We are seeing fireworks fired at officers in crowds, lasers pointed at aircraft, drivers driving upwards of 130 mph with no lights on in the dark of night — all of it is reckless, and it needs to be stopped,” McCraw said in a statement.