‘We have got a problem’: Street takeovers could soon be outlawed in NC

CHARLOTTE — Street takeovers like the ones that have plagued Uptown Charlotte could soon be outlawed in North Carolina.

It’s been a problem in the Queen City and surrounding communities for years.

With a signature from Gov. Roy Cooper, there could soon be stiff penalties for the crime.

Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz looked into the potential new rules of the road, and why those dangerous street takeovers weren’t already outlawed.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has had to get creative to crack down on street takeovers. Officers charge drivers with reckless driving, speeding, and evading police.

Lt. Christopher Rorie is with CMPD’s transportation unit, and he’s responded to his fair share of street takeovers. One of those had an estimated 350 cars involved.

“This is happening everywhere,” Rorie said. “I’ve never seen so many cars in one place, and I was like, we have got a problem.”

Channel 9 has reported on these stunts countless times, with nearby residents outraged. CMPD officers can issue citations or possibly arrest drivers for things like street racing, but there’s no law on the books specifically criminalizing street stunts without racing.

It’s why CMPD and others are hopeful that Gov. Cooper signs a bipartisan bill to outlaw these street takeovers.

The bipartisan bill to do so is now on his desk.

Under the proposed law, street takeovers, including burnouts, doughnuts, drifting, stunts, and wheelies, would be against the law. If you get caught, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and hit with a thousand-dollar fine. Your car can also be seized.

Even if you’re not behind the wheel, organizers of these types of events can be prosecuted.

“If they’re organizing them or setting them up either by word of mouth, social media, whatever, they can be implicated by this new statute,” Rorie said. “And that’s going to be a big factor for us.”

It’s a big factor some agree with, but some question whether it will work.

“There’s a lot of things that get passed into law that people find a way to do, but the people who are scared of the law, it will help,” said Niman Headen in Charlotte.

CMPD is continuing to crack down on these takeovers. Since February, they made more than 14 arrests and have seized more than 42 cars.

If signed by the governor, the law would go into effect on December 1.

(WATCH: How social media likely fuels street takeovers)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.