JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s Mayor is speaking out for the first time over groups of cars and motorcyclists taking over streets and intersections around the city.
This comes after the I-TEAM showed you video of a large group of drivers taking over one of Jacksonville’s busiest intersections this weekend -- Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road. News4JAX also received a tip about a large group of drivers peeling out in the Ikea parking lot on the Southside and doing considerable damage. When our cameras stopped by Monday afternoon we noticed crews repainting the parking strips that had been damaged.
“No, we don’t accept living with it. What we need people to do is we need people to report it so we can get police officers out there and prevent it from happening,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
MORE: Florida lawmakers crackdown on parking lot takeovers, street racing | I-TEAM: Instagram video shows ambulance doing doughnuts in parking lot | Legitimate, legal car clubs denounce illegal racing, donuts | Video shows car club meet-up in same area where 17-year-old was shot | 2 street racing crashes in 2 weeks | Empire Point, Englewood and St. Nicholas residents said their area is turning into an ongoing weekend racetrack
After the News4JAX I-TEAM obtained video of what happened at Southside and Baymeadows we received numerous complaints from drivers around the city. One chilling email was sent to the I-TEAM read -- “I was trapped in this traffic last night/this morning. It was truly terrifying. I did call JSO as for a moment I was scared for my life. Tons of cars pull up and blocked the roads, people hanging out of cars while others drive, more people getting out with ski masks on and then you hear what sounds like gun shots. You couldn’t turn around to leave, you couldn’t move anywhere. You’re trapped. Something needs to be done about this. Imagine being a woman alone in her car at night trying to go home and you can’t. Scared to call the cops because these kids are so insane wearing masks and you don’t want to be hurt. I dimmed all of my cars inside lights and my phone to call the cops. I was that scared someone would see. There were easily 30-40 people running around in the street banging on cars.”
This all is happening just months after the State Legislature passed HB 399 which would enhance penalties for people who participate in this activity. It has yet to be signed by the Governor, but if it is, it would go into effect late this year. It would also enhance penalties for passengers in these cars including a suspension of driving privileges. The legislation also targets people who videotape these activities for the purposes of posting on social media.