On Saturday night, more than 100 cars managed to shut down multiple intersections in Stockton for various “sideshows” as part of a coordinated, judged event that was widely advertised and distributed on Facebook.
And the majority of those that participated started their night at a rallying point in Lathrop.
According to the Stockton Police Department, the night began when dozens of vehicles gathered in the parking lot near Thrive Church at the corner of Towne Centre Drive and Manthey Road – just down the street from Lathrop City Hall – before mobilizing and leaving for various locations in Stockton.
By the end of the night the group had taken over three intersections – Martin Luther King Boulevard and Hunter Street, Main Street and Golden Gate Avenue and Pixie Drive and Kingsley Avenue.
One man was hospitalized after he was struck by the back of a vehicle that was spinning donuts along MLK Boulevard, suffering minor injuries. The collision was captured on cell phone video and was widely distributed on the internet.
Even though the lawbreakers gathered in Lathrop, Police Chief James Hood noted that the city itself deals with these issues only sporadically and never on a large scale like what was seen in Stockton on Saturday night.
“We’ve had some situations like this where we’ve had car clubs come in and a few people get out of hand but we’ve very proactive and taken a zero-tolerance approach to that activity,” Hood said. “We haven’t had any serious issues in a few months and even then, they were the lone vehicle doing donuts.
“The big problems come when you have more than 100 cars traveling together and competing against each other and the crowds that come with that – it’s dangerous and we just saw what happens when these things get out of control.”
The problem of sideshows is so rampant in San Joaquin County that a multi-agency task force has been established to shut down the activity and arrest as many of the people involved as possible. On Saturday night, the San Joaquin County Multi-Agency Sideshow Task Force – which consists of the California Highway Patrol, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, the Manteca Police Department, the Lodi Police Department, the Tracy Police Department, the Escalon Police Department and the Stockton Police Department – processed 100 vehicles, issued 47 citations, inspected 20 vehicles, impounded 10 vehicles, searched 10 vehicles, and made four referrals to the California state referee for future inspections.
One shotgun was recovered as a result of the multi-pronged police action, and one unidentified law enforcement vehicle was vandalized.
Nearly two dozen people – some from as far away as Sacramento and the Bay Area – were arrested on charges ranging from reckless driving to aiding and abetting in a speed contest. “We will not tolerate sideshow activity in our community. This type of illegal behavior is extremely dangerous because participants have no regard for the safety of others and some are armed with firearms,” Stockton Police Department spokesman Joe Silva said. “The Countywide Taskforce will continue to investigate and take enforcement action at these events.”
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