CHARLOTTE — Drivers took over an intersection outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte on Saturday night, performing stunts and burnouts.
Channel 9 viewer video taken from the JW Marriott Hotel near South Caldwell Street shows dozens of cars burning out and people blocking the intersection. Police had to use on-coming lanes to try to get to the scene, causing the crowd to scatter. Traffic was backed up for several blocks while the intersection was being blocked.
On Monday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released a statement about the incident, saying their officers first received a call at 10:33 p.m.
“They responded within minutes, dispersing the crowd of vehicles around 10:48 p.m., allowing regular traffic flow to resume,” CMPD said.
But neighbors said they spotted people taking videos of the stunts and they said the activity went unchecked for a long time.
Police said they monitored the group throughout the evening and prevented something similar from happening again.
No arrests or citations were made in the incident, police said.
“When I walked out of my apartment on the fifth floor, I could smell burning rubber,” Rachel, who lives nearby, told Channel 9.
“You hear them revving and then they let off the gas. And ‘pop pop pop pop,’ it almost sounds like gunshots,” said neighbor William Wilson.
For years, Channel 9 has followed the problem of cars taking over busy intersections. In November, cars took over a street in South Park. CMPD then started “Operation Street Takeover.” CMPD made three arrests, wrote 32 tickets, and sized two vehicles.
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“The #CMPD takes these reckless driving incidents very seriously and will continue to devote resources to shutting down pop-up street takeovers,” CMPD said Monday.
>> Watch the full video of Saturday’s street takeover in the video at the top of the page.
Some say the problem is getting worse. North Carolina Rep. Carolyn Logan said she’s working on a bill that could deter the activity by creating tougher penalties for street racing.
“I would like to make the one we’re doing now put an at least a Class 5 felony into it,” Rep. Logan said. “The only thing we can do is give law enforcement tools to work with.”
And some are hoping the bill passes before things get out of hand.
“They’re getting really really bold and brazen with it,” Wilson said. “To be able to do that type of stuff without any fear of police in the middle of Uptown Charlotte, something needs to be done.”
Rep. Logan said a similar bill was put forth last session, but it did not pass.
The full statement CMPD released Monday is below:
“On Saturday, January 28, 2023, CMPD responded to a large group of vehicles blocking an intersection near the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte and performing burnouts and other stunts. Central Division and out-of-division officers received their first call for service about this incident at 10:33 p.m. They responded within minutes, dispersing the crowd of vehicles around 10:48 p.m., allowing regular traffic flow to resume. No arrests or citations were made. Officers monitored this group’s activity throughout the evening and prevented similar behavior from occurring again on the streets of Charlotte. The #CMPD takes these reckless driving incidents very seriously and will continue to devote resources to shutting down pop-up street takeovers.”
(WATCH BELOW: CMPD: Arrests made, guns and drugs seized amid street takeovers in Charlotte)
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