JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM has an update about the ongoing saga of cars doing doughnuts and speeding through private parking lots in Jacksonville.
The I-TEAM has obtained footage of what appears to be a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cruiser peeling out in a parking lot in Northwest Jacksonville in front of people who were gathered for a car club meetup.
News4JAX learned it was recorded Saturday night in the parking lot of a store on Lem Turner Road near Soutel Drive.
In the video, someone in the crowd can be heard yelling that they think the cruiser was stolen, but the I-TEAM spoke with a car club member, who only asked to be known as James. He said he witnessed the whole thing and doesn’t think it was a stolen cruiser.
“That’s what some people thought at the time — they thought somebody might have hopped in the car. But I don’t think that anymore,” James said. “I didn’t see anything reported.”
Last year, the I-TEAM reported on drivers peeling out in front of JSO headquarters. Then we heard from managers of a Jacksonville strip mall who said car clubs doing doughnuts in the parking lot have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
RELATED: Doughnuts & street racing: Late night reckless drivers a nuisance for downtown residents | Manager says street racers have caused $60K in damage doing donuts in strip mall parking lot | I-TEAM: Complaints continue over car groups driving erratically in vacant parking lots | I-TEAM: Local car group speaks following street takeover complaints | Councilman’s message to car clubs: Get off public property or buy your own place
JSO has tried to break up many car meetups. When the I-TEAM reached out to the Sheriff’s Office about the latest video, we were told the footage has been turned over to internal affairs.
James said that since this issue has gained public attention, his club has considered more private lots where there won’t be complaints. But he said he doesn’t think the public should judge the driver of the cruiser harshly.
“I mean, there wasn’t anybody around him, so it’s not like he put anybody in danger. It’s not a very good use of our tax dollars on the cars,” he said. “But, I mean, I wouldn’t really criticize the cop particularly.”