It was insane.
It was terrifying.
We pulled up to the red light at Fallbrook and Roscoe last Saturday night. Nothing unusual, and then out of nowhere a car roared into the intersection and began doing skids in front of us. Fifteen feet in front of us. We had nowhere to go and no way to get out. Stunned – we could only watch in horror.
That car roared off down Fallbrook and a truck took its place. Bigger, faster, and louder. Closer to our car than the first.
It seemed that suddenly there were 50 people in the intersection, cheering on the driver and his passenger who was hanging out of the car filming himself.
It’s one thing to write about it. Another to experience it. According to residents, the street takeover went on for at least another hour at the intersection. We were able to jam out of there only when there was a break in the action. Facebook posts the next day reported that one car actually crashed into a bystander’s vehicle.
It could have been us.
Street takeovers and street racing are taking over the valley.
Wednesday morning two cars were speeding down Topanga Canyon Blvd. and the resulting crash left one person dead.
Just after 1 am near Topanga and Vanowen a Toyota Camry and Mercedes were, according to witnesses, allegedly racing. When the Mercedes clipped the Toyota, the driver lost control and slammed into a light pole, splitting the car in two and killing him.
The driver has been identified as 26-year-old Alejandro Lopez Munz of Northridge.
The driver of the Mercedes has not been located at presstime.
Many of the incidents of street takeovers and racing, including the one we reported just last week in the papers, are attributed to people seeking Internet fame through these stunts.
“The popularity of street takeovers is the monetization for social media,” Deputy Chief Donald Graham of LAPD’s Traffic Division has said. “The more reckless, the more dangerous the footage can be, the more they increase their following on social media.”
Street racing tends to happen in the valley on the straight, long boulevards that run from north to south, such as Valley Circle, Kanan, Tampa and White Oak. Detective Barrigan of LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, says there are several reasons for that. “The west end of the valley has such long, wide streets – Ventura Blvd., Valley Circle, Vanowen and Victory – that we’re seeing an increase in speed racing. That the streets are so long and wide seems to be the attraction. Tampa is another one they see as an ‘open road’ so they use it for racing also,” he added.
And so often the racing leads to death:
Young woman killed at Topanga and Dumetz – 2022
Hit and run killed pedestrian on Ventura Blvd. -2022
An innocent woman in a Prius on Valley Circle – 2021
Two children in a crosswalk – 2020.
Truck driver killed by 17-year-old – 2019.
Fatal crash, Ventura at Del Moreno – 2017.
Three dead at Ventura and Desoto – 2016.
Those are just the ones we’ve reported.
And today, tragically, we add another to the list.