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Cars Crushed in Street Racing Crackdown
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By GREG RISLING, Associated Press Writer
Link to Original Artcle @ FoxNews


RIALTO, Calif. — Charles Hoang winced when the whoosh went out of the tires. Daniel Maldonado took pictures with a digital camera as glass exploded and rained down to the ground.

The cars the teens had so meticulously souped up and tricked out were crushed Wednesday as part of a crackdown on illegal street racing in Southern California.

"That's my heart, my dream," said Hoang, 18, of Chino, who was surrounded by friends as his 1998 Acura Integra was put into a compactor. "That's my girlfriend, the love of my life. The cops can crush my car, but they can't crush my memories."

Authorities destroyed six vehicles Wednesday at an auto graveyard, hoping would-be racers think again after looking at the mashed machines. Illegal street racing is responsible for or suspected in 13 deaths in Southern California since March.

The thrill-seeking, adrenaline-pumping activity is rampant in Riverside and San Bernardino counties east of Los Angeles where rows of tract homes line wide streets that attract racers.

Nearly 1,000 people - drivers and spectators - have been arrested for investigation of street racing activities over the past two years in San Bernardino County alone. Police need a court order to destroy the cars. They must prove that the serial or identification numbers on a vehicle or its parts are removed, altered or destroyed.

Police said they have managed to reduce illegal racing and related fatal collisions, but know the underground hobby still thrives.

"We are making a dent," said Ontario police Cpl. Jeff Higbee. "But it's summertime and ... we expect to see more activity."

Hoang said he was caught late last year racing his prized car, on which he spent at least $10,000 to get into top shape. The 350-horsepower engine topped out at 160 mph, Hoang said, swearing it could beat a Corvette or even a Ferrari.

When police popped open the hood, Hoang said, they found a stolen transmission. Hoang flashed a receipt for the transmission he bought from his father who runs an auto shop and doubted the item was hot.

"Everything on that car was practically brand new," Hoang said as he watched his car get moved to auto death row. "They should take out the stuff that matters, auction it off, and give the money to charity."

Because racers put heavy stress on their vehicles, they often burn out or blow up parts. Higbee said the need for the expensive parts has created a "theft mill" where additional cars - usually Hondas or Acuras - are stolen and stripped of the necessary replacements.

Most of the cars police examine are illegally modified. Sergio Zavala, 18, was pulled over in his 1993 yellow Honda Civic for a broken tail light in December. He had purchased a B-20 Vtech engine with a double-overhead cam a couple months before, and after a police investigation, was told it was stolen.

Zavala, who admits he's been involved in street racing, estimates he and his mother spent about $10,000 on improvements to his car.

After watching his Civic demolished, Zavala is left without a car as he plans to attend a fire academy in the fall.

"It's heartbreaking to see this," said Zavala, who graduated from high school last week. "This is where all my time and money went."

Maldonado also said he put plenty of time and effort working on his 1992 black Honda Civic. He was stopped in November by police in what Higbee described as an area where racers gather.

The 18-year-old mechanic said a vehicle identification sticker apparently fell off and without it, police suspected some of the parts were stolen. Maldonado stood several feet away from his car as it was pounded into a heap of metal.

Maldonado said he has taken the advice of police by racing legally on one of several race courses around Southern California. For the money spent in fines and other penalties - on average about $5,000 for illegally modified cars - Higbee said street racers could compete about 250 times a year at a legitimate track.

"If you have to race, take it to a legal venue," Higbee said. "But as long as they keep racing illegally, we keep crushing their cars."

All three men who saw their vehicles destroyed said they believe illegal street racing will continue to prosper across the region.

"It will never go away," Maldonado said. "If it's in your heart, you will continue to do it until you can't anymore."
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You can see some footage of the cars being crushed here. It's good to see that So Cal police are cleaning up some of the garbage on our roads :D

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I... can barely *sniff* type this... through the tears. :(

...of joy! :AH-HA_wink:

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I don't mean to crash the party, but I read the part that read "Cars of Illegal Street Racers" and then began to think of the few guys who chose to go with Muscle over Rice. Think of the great Camaros that spanked Civics in the underground racing scene getting crushed in the crossfire. Depressing. :(

Glad to see that distastefully modified cars are getting a good old beatdown, but I do have empathy for the owners. They're out of a car and, unless insurance covers this kind of thing or they have a spare setting around, are completely FUBAR.

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I don't understand why they don't take off the non-illegal parts that are of value. Those wheels are obviously not illegal and they could sell them for some good coin, and aren't hard to take off at all.

Also, how can the transmission be illegal? Shifts gears too quickly? :P

Not that I'm at all heartbroken about seeing some rice patties crushed, but it seems they could have sold those parts and like the guy said given the money to charity.

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I don't mean to crash the party, but I read the part that read "Cars of Illegal Street Racers" and then began to think of the few guys who chose to go with Muscle over Rice. Think of the great Camaros that spanked Civics in the underground racing scene getting crushed in the crossfire. Depressing. :(

...

Don't worry... I think they (the police) need to prove that they are using stolen parts. So, I would think that most of the muscle car crowd is using legit stuff.

...

Also, how can the transmission be illegal? Shifts gears too quickly? :P

...

I thought the same thing, until I realized that a stolen transmission is probably illegal.

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I don't understand why they don't take off the non-illegal parts that are of value. Those wheels are obviously not illegal and they could sell them for some good coin, and aren't hard to take off at all.

Also, how can the transmission be illegal? Shifts gears too quickly? :P

Not that I'm at all heartbroken about seeing some rice patties crushed, but it seems they could have sold those parts and like the guy said given the money to charity.

They most likely were afraid those parts would end up on other illegal ricemobiles.

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It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright sun shining day :lol:

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I know you guys hate all things Japanese (dare I say, Asian period)....

...but....

Plenty of vehicles could have used those body parts, suspension parts, interior parts and wheels.

I understand the powertrain and stolen stuff. The rest, howver? So what if it was on a street race car? It don't come cheap at all. Unless the car was absolutely hot, most of that stuff should have been yanked off by boneyard dismantlers.

I don't believe in crushing cars, not even Ford Tempos.

The rule "One man's trash is another man's treasure" exists for a reason.

Those 18-YEAR-OLD KIDS, however, do need to learn their lesson.

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Those 18-YEAR-OLD KIDS, however, do need to learn their lesson.

I think that's the point with this. Make a big splash, intimidate, hope it works.

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Give them a place to race. They've gotten rid of street legal drag racing at local tracks because of the pollution and the noise. What did people think would happen when they moved near a drag strip. I thought I remember reading years ago where the state limited the amount of pollution that can be emitted from a drag strip in one season. I don't know if they passed or an idea.

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1) Take it to a strip...

2) No need to crush a perfectly good car that could be salvaged and sold for charity.

3) Gives these people an excuse to buy REAL cars now.

4) However, I do feel for these guys. I'd have a damn heart attack if someone crushed one of my cars.

5) Do you just have to be "present at the scene of street racing" or actually get caught street racing for this to happen? Because it'd be pretty $h!ty to be hanging out with some friends on "the strip" and be implicated into something that you had no part in.

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They most likely were afraid those parts would end up on other illegal ricemobiles.

But if there's nothing illegal about those parts there's nothing wrong with it. What's wrong with selling another ricer the rims and tires for $1500, the brakes for $750, the craptastic wing for $250, the carbon fiber hood for $1000, and the ricer tails for $150 and giving it to charity? Certainly they shouldn't sell them the illegal engines and such, but if the stuff is legal and not stolen, why waste it?

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Give them a place to race. They've gotten rid of street legal drag racing at local tracks because of the pollution and the noise. What did people think would happen when they moved near a drag strip. I thought I remember reading years ago where the state limited the amount of pollution that can be emitted from a drag strip in one season. I don't know if they passed or an idea.

Right after the story about the crush, the news showed another about trying to save the LA County raceway dragstrip in Palmdale. Usual suspect: owned by someone who wants to throw up more tract homes.

As far as those homeowners who just move in somewhere, it's one thing to want to change the culture away from gang violence or something....it's a whole other to close down legit businesses that were there before you were.

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Give them a place to race. They've gotten rid of street legal drag racing at local tracks because of the pollution and the noise. What did people think would happen when they moved near a drag strip. I thought I remember reading years ago where the state limited the amount of pollution that can be emitted from a drag strip in one season. I don't know if they passed or an idea.

Really.

1) Take it to a strip...

2) No need to crush a perfectly good car that could be salvaged and sold for charity.

3) Gives these people an excuse to buy REAL cars now.

4) However, I do feel for these guys. I'd have a damn heart attack if someone crushed one of my cars.

5) Do you just have to be "present at the scene of street racing" or actually get caught street racing for this to happen? Because it'd be pretty $h!ty to be hanging out with some friends on "the strip" and be implicated into something that you had no part in.

:withstupid:
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it doesn't matter what they drive. It doesn't matter how old they are.

It is still unfair.

It is unfair mainly because there are hardly any legitimate places for streetraces to go and drag legally, and those that still do exist, don't take kindly to having to deal with us "stupid kids and our street cars."

It's not just whether or not the car has illegal parts on it. The deal is, you get caught street racing too many times, your car is toast. Who cares if the parts are illegal? Not the law. The Lawmen here always have and always will hold the title of "The Masters of Overkill."

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That's the thing. The police and all the lawmakers like to whine and moan about how we should all just take it to the track like it were that simple, but let's look at the steps involved with legal racing.

1. Drive and hour to get to the track.

2. Pull into parking lot full of old guys, posers and people who think they need a semi trailer and full support crew to race their 15-second Corolla.

3. Pay exorbitant fee to slovenly dude behind desk.

4. Argue with fat dude with clipboard for an hour about every little leak and missing part. AKA: Tech inspection.

5. Wait for an hour in the staging lanes while rich prick in front of you tries to figure out how to shift the 6-speed Jericho in his shop-built hot rod.

6. Do burnout to warm tires. Listen to guy behind you complain you're throwing rocks on his car.

7. Make pass down drag strip.

8. Head back down return road.

9. Attempt to make a second pass. Get told you can't because you ran too fast and are missing some obscure cage or shield.

10. Leave in frustration.

DAMN!! What track do you go to? I know you exagerated at little, okay, a lot, on your list, but a few things on your list could be taken care of just by bringing a safe vehicle. That's one of the good things about organized racing. I have a problem with #1 though. It shouldn't be drive an hour. It should be drive for several hours. That's the problem in California. NO PLACE TO RACE!!!!!!!

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I don't mean to crash the party, but I read the part that read "Cars of Illegal Street Racers" and then began to think of the few guys who chose to go with Muscle over Rice. Think of the great Camaros that spanked Civics in the underground racing scene getting crushed in the crossfire. Depressing. :(

Glad to see that distastefully modified cars are getting a good old beatdown, but I do have empathy for the owners. They're out of a car and, unless insurance covers this kind of thing or they have a spare setting around, are completely FUBAR.

Ah, no. The old 'Cudas and Firebirds are NOT bought buy 18 year olds (first of all, they can't afford them!) so we are not in any danger of losing any REAL cars here.

Secondly, this is not limited to California (sorry, guys). Three ricers were involved in a race up the 400 highway last weekend, resulting in a tanker truck over turning and that driver was KILLED. Police have arrested 3 suspects so far - all 18 and all, dare I say this, from the same "background." Of course, the press tip-toes around that issue, too.

Naturally, in true Canadian fashion, the bleeding heart press (Toyota Star, for example) is blaming the AUTO COMPANIES, and are calling for a "voluntary" advertising campaign, amounting to 5% of their advertising budget to fight street racing. They are also calling for a stop to lifestyle car ads that depict, well "ZOOM-ZOOM"

In our parent's time, street racing may have been glamorous, even fun. My father told me about removing the construction barricades of the 401 (now North America's busiest highway) when it was first being built, and how they would race their cars on the new concrete. But that was then. Insurance was $50 a year, and people didn't sue for having a hang nail.

I think crushing is a great idea. It gets the point across. It makes splashy headlines and MAYBE it will send a message before Big Brother gets involved and forces governors on ALL cars, which is already being called for by our bleeding heart press.

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I'm ok with confiscating the cars, but not with crushing them. It is needless grandstanding by local authorities for their own agrandisement.

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...

Now, if officials really wanted to get people to stop racing on the street, they should have something along the lines of a "open house night" at a local dragway, parking lot or airport. Have people who want to race pay a small cover that could go to a charity, have some people there to make sure nobody is racing anything that's dangerously unsafe, maybe section off a portion so people can do burnouts and doughnuts. The police could be on hand to make sure nothing gets out of hand and to promote goodwill. Invite some vendors to sell things and raffle off some prizes. In short, officials should work with racers, not against them. Grandstanding and creating friction is not going to get anything done.

I can't remember if it was the LAPD or CHP, but some police organization actually did this. And... they let you race against the cops (they had the usual cruisers and bikes, along with some modded cars)!

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I can't remember if it was the LAPD or CHP, but some police organization actually did this. And... they let you race against the cops (they had the usual cruisers and bikes, along with some modded cars)!

Now that's the way to deal with the problem!

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I can't remember if it was the LAPD or CHP, but some police organization actually did this. And... they let you race against the cops (they had the usual cruisers and bikes, along with some modded cars)!

I remember reading that! I'd love to participate in something like this.

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I know this is going to be harsh- But I feel pretty much all ricer's cars should be crushed...there are simply too many stupid poeple out there...

Reasons?

- Street racing might have been okay about 20 years ago- but with the population boom and there being SO many people around, not only could you kill yourself (well, if you were stupid) and many other people as well.

-As I got into the tuner thing-I have come to realize most people don't have a clue when it comes to customizing cars.

NOS is a good example. How many people do you know that would put a NOS tank near a fuel line/tank? I wish I could say one person, but nope, quite a few (and listening on advice on how to do it). With muscle cars, you just had to worry about suping up the engine- but now you have to watch out for that guy with the WAI and the giant wing-gosh, he might just fly away.... :rolleyes:

-why would one spend 10,000 bucks on a car, then go "ghost riding"?

-I know 2 people (an old classmate and a old co-worker) who have killed themselves while street racing. And the worse part? Their friends were out again that very next weekend... :banghead:

- Muscle car drag racers didn't have to worry about wings, body kits, and carbon fiber latched hoods....yeah-no need to explain there....

Sad part was, I was into the tuner thing. My Cav was supposed to be a custom car-but then I got to see how stupid it really is....

Edited by daves87rs
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I know this is going to be harsh- But I feel pretty much all ricer's cars should be crushed...there are simply too many stupid poeple out there...

Reasons?

- Street racing might have been okay about 20 years ago- but with the population boom and there being SO many people around, not only could you kill yourself (well, if you were stupid) and many other people as well.

That reasoning dictates that it was NEVER OK. Nothing kosher about speeding on city streets, that's why the boys on the Police 1000s dust off the radar guns and tuning forks.

A whole bunch of us here had a ham foot once upon a time. How many of us now all 27 and 31 and 39 and 47 have our cars packed with all our rowdy friends doing 70 on Washington Blvd? Probably none because we got sick of going to court evey eight months and the speeding points piling up. They're not only still wet behind the ear, but also just happen to be into hooked-up cars and putting them in inappropriate situations, just like KIDS were back in the 30s and 60s. No matter how many people were around, it was never right. It's not the cars, it's the people behind the wheel. But then we could say the same thing about guns.

-As I got into the tuner thing-I have come to realize most people don't have a clue when it comes to customizing cars.

NOS is a good example. How many people do you know that would put a NOS tank near a fuel line/tank? I wish I could say one person, but nope, quite a few (and listening on advice on how to do it). With muscle cars, you just had to worry about suping up the engine- but now you have to watch out for that guy with the WAI and the giant wing-gosh, he might just fly away.... :rolleyes:

ALL cars can be "tuned"....it's funny how people got to reserving that term for Asian frontie compacts.

I'll give you the nitrous thing (I never believed in nitrous anyway)....but as far as wings and all that, the 60s stuff had nasty looking wings too, just not as often, because there wasn't that much inspiration for the aftermarket to go there as often. When the Europeans started to do all the crazy stuff they did in the early 70s is when it trickled over to rest of the automotive world. Technology and design allowed for different things. If it existed in 1967, they'd have done it on those cars too, trust. Those geezers and rednecks that pooh-pooh the kids of today were kids back then you know.

-why would one spend 10,000 bucks on a car, then go "ghost riding"?

Need to cut down on the E-40, I guess....

-I know 2 people (an old classmate and a old co-worker) who have killed themselves while street racing. And the worse part? Their friends were out again that very next weekend... :banghead:
Passion? Maybe they'e just that frickin' hungry. All things being equal, no one is all over the NASCAR, F1 or Indy guys when drivers die (excepting the stick-and-ball sportswriters). The day after someone dies, even the hour after the track's cleaned up, it's business as usual, the way it should be. Change these kids' scenario from the street to the track, and we're not having this conversation.
- Muscle car drag racers didn't have to worry about wings, body kits, and carbon fiber latched hoods....yeah-no need to explain there....

Again, man, different culture of technology and design. There were a lot of retarded things in the custom aftermarket I never understood either (boomerang TV antenna? dual-blade wipers? hood louvers? chrome ladies?) The stuff comes and goes. Cats would wedge their cars by jacking their rear end way up or lowering their front end only. People would put wheels with the wrong offset onto their cars, meaning they would stick way out beyond the fender. If the carbon fiber hoods existed back then they would have done it too. Some people think choptops are the thing to do whereas I mostly can't stand them. I think the "high-rider" thing (throwing 22" or larger wheels on cars that can't legitimately fit them, making them sit much higher than stock) is just foolish, but the guys who did it get a kick out of it. There will always be someone who does something custom (whether tasteful or ridiculous) that the leave it stock crowd won't like. That's just the way it is. Besides, it's their car.

Sad part was, I was into the tuner thing. My Cav was supposed to be a custom car-but then I got to see how stupid it really is....

Maybe Cavaliers just aren't the right host for that sort of thing for you. Once upon a time, they said the same thing about Novas, now many would kill to have one, myself included.

The custom really isn't that stupid at the end of the day....it's actually improving the breed somewhat (taste of custom choices notwithstanding)....because MORE VARIETIES OF CARS ARE VALUED. Cars aren't crushed anywhere near as often as they were back in the day, plus you can do more with more engines now. It's beyond the 351 Cleveland and B-O-P 455 now, the possibilities are endless...like it or not, that's a GOOD thing. I see that because I have perspective about it all.

In basic, I just think this whole hate towards kids doing their thing with Asian (sometimes American or European) compacts thing is getting out of hand, and smacks of another spirit behind it. Substitute some bulls--t Camaro for those Civics and Integras, a lot of you would have cried in your beer.

Anyways, let's take our Joan Claybrook hats off....

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