JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX first reported on Tuesday that drivers are street racing and doing doughnuts in front of police headquarters in downtown Jacksonville.
Since then, viewers from around the city have been complaining that it is a problem city-wide — from Mayport to San Jose. Residents who live along the Wonderwood Expressway in Mayport contacted News4JAX to say street racing is a problem there too.
“We live right on the corner and it’s loud all night,” David Schubiger said.
The San Jose Athletic Association at Baker Skinner Park On Powers Avenue sent News4JAX a picture of a motorcyclist they said was terrorizing children and parents at a recent baseball game. They said the motorcyclist also made obscene gestures to a JSO officer on the other side of the fence.
Nathan Groff said the officer told him they couldn’t do anything.
“We were told we cannot pursue unless something happens,” Groff said. “So we asked, ‘does that mean a child has to get hit or an adult has to get hurt?’ And there was not any real explanation of that.”
News4JAX has covered other street racing arrests, including a case where the pursuing officer wrote, “I reached a speed of 116 MPH and noted that both vehicles were continuing to pull away from me while driving around slower moving traffic.”
Cases like this are why News4JAX crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said officers stop pursuing and let the speeder drive away.
“You have to be safe first of all. You have to make sure the public is safe,” Jefferson said. “You don’t want to chase someone driving erratically, looking behind their back trying to evade police and crash into someone or something.”
The Florida Highway Patrol said if it gets enough complaints on a certain stretch of road it will put out “Wolfpacks”, or groups of officers who stake out the area to catch people racing. FHP also utilizes aerial units to catch speeders in the act.