HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County authorities are warning anyone thinking about conducting a street takeover to think about whether they want to keep their cars.
Law enforcement agencies warned of severe consequences for those plotting illegal “street takeovers” to promote street racing or reckless driving like recent events that have occurred in Austin and Houston.
RELATED: Houston street takeover involving 200 cars busted over the weekend, 3 arrested
In one event, several people were injured in Austin, including a police officer, when large groups of people blocked intersections two weeks ago to race vehicles, do “doughnuts,” set fires and light fireworks.
In a similar event involving 200 cars in Houston occurred just last weekend, which resulted in multiple arrests, including one for felony child endangerment.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Assistant Houston Police Chief Wyatt Martin, and DPS Regional Director Gerald Brown said such events are extremely dangerous to participants and nearby motorists and that the local response to such events will be swift and aggressive.
Cellphone video shows dangerous illegal street takeover in heart of Texas
While cars did donuts in the intersection surrounded by the mob, an Austin police car could be seen trying to approach the intersection. Then, the crowd is recorded overwhelming the police officer and shooting fireworks at the vehicle.
“These are people who clearly value their cars more than they value the safety of motorists around them,” Ogg said. “So our message to them is simple and clear. You will be arrested and prosecuted. And if you take over our streets, we will take over your cars.”
What investigators are saying about several street takeovers in Austin
It was a wild night on the streets of Austin, putting citizens and police officers in danger.
Officials said state law allows the District Attorney’s Office to pursue forfeiture of vehicles that are used in such cases of organized criminal activity. The office has seized more than 200 vehicles involved in similar activity in the past two years, and Ogg said her office will continue to use the law aggressively.
Gonzalez added that cooperation is key to successful intervention.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder in our efforts to double down on our mission to keep racing on the tracks and off our streets,” he said. “Don’t risk your life or the lives of others. The short-lived adrenaline and thrill aren’t worth a lifetime of heartache and devastation, if an innocent life is lost.”
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