Police cite 4 people, tow 2 vehicles during string of street takeovers in North Long Beach

Long Beach police say they cited four people and towed two vehicles Thursday after responding to three separate street takeover events in North Long Beach.

“Through their excellent response, LBPD North Division officers were able to safely end each street takeover event,” LBPD spokesperson Allison Gallagher said in an email.

Street takeovers often involve dozens or sometimes hundreds of attendees blocking off city intersections where drivers perform stunts in their cars. Serious injuries and some deaths have occurred at street takeovers in recent years.

The first street takeover on Thursday involved 20 to 30 vehicles gathered on Orange Avenue and Via Wanda, police said. Officers arrived at 9:50 p.m. to clear the area. No citations were issued at that event.

At 11:11 p.m., the LBPD responded to a second street takeover on Cherry Avenue and Harding Street where another 20 vehicles and a large crowd had gathered, according to police. During this incident, police towed a vehicle after citing the driver for tinted windows and having no license, according to the LBPD. A second driver was cited for “exhibition of speed,” Gallagher said.

A 3-minute video uploaded to YouTube Friday morning shows dozens of attendees gathered at the intersection as engines rev and traffic is blocked off. A driver begins burning tire rubber during doughnut maneuvers as a passenger hangs out the window. A separate 40-second clip shows attendees fleeing the area as police arrive and pursue one of the vehicles.

Following the chain of events on Cherry Avenue, officers responded to a third report of a street takeover, this one at Orange Avenue and Market Street, according to Gallagher. During this incident, she said, a fight broke out between two drivers, but no injuries were reported. When officers arrived at the scene, they noticed that a traffic collision had occurred. Officers determined the driver at fault and cited them for an unsafe lane change and driving without insurance, Gallagher said.

The large crowd that had gathered was dispersed and LBPD towed a second vehicle after citing the driver for exhibition of speed, Gallagher said.

Last summer, the Long Beach City Council moved to crack down on street takeovers, directing the city attorney to begin working on an ordinance that would allow police to fine anyone in attendance. It’s unclear what will be included in the Long Beach ordinance or when it will be ready for a City Council agenda.

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.
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