CMPD issues citations, seizes car after weekend street takeovers, fireworks

CHARLOTTE — Seven people have been cited and a car has been seized in a street takeover investigation that began over Memorial Day weekend.

Video circulating on social media showed cars doing burnouts and fireworks shooting off in Uptown Charlotte. More video captured another street takeover in the NoDa neighborhood. Someone was hurt in that one, MEDIC said.

The videos show large crowds watching the drivers during the stunts.

At least two vehicles were doing donuts in the intersection of Brooklyn Village Avenue and Brevard Street in front of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the videos showed. Police said that happened around midnight early Sunday morning.

In one of the videos, fireworks were being shot off above the intersection.

On Tuesday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said they already had resources allocated to the incident, so officers were able to clear the scene as quickly and safely as possible.

Several people reached out to Channel 9 about another street takeover that happened Saturday night in NoDa. We reached out to MEDIC, who said someone was hit by a car around 2 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of 36th and North Davidson streets. That victim was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, MEDIC said. That incident happened in front of Fire Station 7.

Charlotte Fire said at the same time in the same location, one of their engines was involved in crash. It wasn’t a serious accident, Charlotte Fire said.

Police said their response to both incidents included the following: Two traffic stops, one vehicle seizure, and seven citations for violations including reckless driving, participating in a street takeover, spectating a street takeover, contributing to delinquency of a minor, no operator’s license, and resist/delay/obstruct.

‘Just really dangerous’

New video shared with Channel 9 Monday shows a different vantage point of the NoDa takeover. A coupe is seen drifting counter-clockwise around the intersection, and then it goes back the other way. On its second pass, a man recording with his phone crouches down before he’s hit by the coupe on video.

Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe spoke with Arion Chamberlain, the manager of the Evening Muse. The music venue sits right at the intersection of 36th and North Davidson streets.

“Burning out and spinning around, and then somebody got hit,” he told Lowe, adding, “We saw a lot of cars lined up on this part of the street and we were like, what’s going on?”

“It’s way too small of an area for that and it’s just really dangerous,” Chamberlain said.

Across the intersection, Greg Fleming manages Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen and Sanctuary, a restaurant and bar. He said the holiday weekend was a busy one.

“We’re used to certain wild activity happening here occasionally, but nothing that dangerous or outlandish,” Fleming said.

The takeover paralyzed the entire intersection. He said it also created chaos when the bargoers turned into spectators.

“It was frustrating because we have to keep people in here with alcoholic beverages, so they were having to run out and grab people who were trying to get involved,” he told Lowe.

As we’ve seen with most of the takeovers plaguing Charlotte, organizers, participants, and onlookers often scatter before police arrive.

“I guess it took the police a little while to get here afterwards,” Fleming said.

“Even if [police] just got one car out here just a little bit faster, it would have sped things along with handling it appropriately.”

Fleming said takeovers there aren’t anything new, but he said the potentially deadly acts seen in the video have raised the stakes.

“There’s lots of video, so hopefully, with the amount of evidence that’s out there, they’re going to crack down on this one pretty hard,” he said.

‘Use some common sense’

Channel 9′s Eli Brand spoke with a neighbor who lives near the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and he said this isn’t the first time he’s seen it.

“You’re just looking at the spectacle going on thinking, ‘Why is this still going on?’” Kyle Burleson said.

It’s a question that lawmakers sought to address when they passed a new street takeover law that took effect this year. This past weekend was one of the largest incidents since that law started.

The new law says everyone participating in these street takeovers can face a misdemeanor charge and up to a $1,000 fine.

We asked Charlotte City Councilman Malcolm Graham if that legislation goes far enough. He says the issue is that people just don’t take the problem seriously enough.

“You can’t legislate stupidity,” Graham said. “The legislation is, I believe, intact. CMPD has the authority to do what they need to do. We just need to have some of our residents to use some common sense.”

Videos show police starting to arrive on scene at one of the takeovers in NoDa. But for some residents, they’re concerned this will just keep happening.

“Maybe [the law] will deter people, but if you’re doing this, which is clearly not allowed, you probably don’t care about the thousand-dollar fine,” Burleson told Brand.

CMPD said it will continue targeting street takeovers and street racing. Penalties for participants can include a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first-time offense with a fine of at least $1,000. More offenses can result in a Class H felony, including a fine of at leas twice the value of the car involved.

Any car involved in a street takeover could be seized and held pending a court-ordered release.

Both organizers and spectators could be cited or arrested, police said. If anyone sees the groups driving recklessly and behaving erratically, they’re asked not to engage and to call 911.

CMPD asked anyone with information about the incidents this weekend or who has of videos or photos is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

(WATCH BELOW: Law implementing stiffer penalties for street takeovers takes effect)

Eli Brand

Eli Brand, wsoctv.com

Eli is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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