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http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-liroads244356728jul24,0,3312273.column

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ON THE ROADS
Cops try to put the brakes on illegal street racing

July 24, 2005

They gathered before midnight in the parking lot of Waldbaum's on Sunrise Highway in Baldwin. There were more than a hundred of them - Acura Integras, Nissan 300 ZXs, Subaru WRXs, Dodge Neons and Honda Civics.

Most of them bore the markings :rolleye2: of illegal street racers: black carbon fiber hoods, fat tires, custom exhausts. A few were emblazoned with racing decals. Some were even running on nitrous oxide, a gas racers use to boost engine horsepower.

Across the street, under a full moon, State Police Sgt. Timothy Heins and State Park Police Sgt. Darren McCarthy sat in an unmarked police car with tinted windows, watching.

"Looks like we've got a big crowd," Heins said.

Illegal street racing has been around almost as long as we've had cars. But in the wake of recent suspected street-racing fatal accidents - one on the Southern State Parkway, one on the Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens - police are determined to stop it.

So Wednesday night, the State Police and the State Park Police combined forces to crack down on illegal racing.

"This is obviously the Band-Aid approach," Heins said. "But maybe if we cost them enough money, they'll stop racing."

Street racing is a loosely organized sport. Drivers arrange "meets" on the Internet. This night, police have learned of a "meet" after monitoring a Web site.

There, police said, racers from Long Island and Queens said they would meet at the Waldbaum's and then head out to run on Meadowbrook Parkway or the Ocean Parkway by Jones Beach.

Police had a plan, too.

They would wait in the shadows of a vacant beach lot, as well as on the Wantagh Parkway, Meadowbrook and Ocean. They had more than a dozen police cruisers, spike strips to puncture tires, and two K-9 units - one to search for drugs, one a bomb-sniffing dog to search for illegal nitrous oxide bottles.

Not long after midnight, the gathered drivers stopped standing around talking and got into their cars to head out.

On eastbound Sunrise Highway, McCarthy and Heins drove in a pack of cars. Drivers gunned their engines and weaved in and out of lanes.

Some of the cars headed onto the southbound Meadowbrook. Some continued on Sunrise. McCarthy and Heins took the Meadowbrook, doing 70 mph. Most of the cars easily pulled away from them.

A mile or so east of the Jones Beach Tower the drivers began to pull off onto the grassy shoulder of the Ocean Parkway.

Up ahead, police had set up a roadblock.

Minute after minute crawled by and nothing happened. Then, one by one, the cars headed back west through an unguarded turnaround.

The police had anticipated this. They had a roadblock on the westbound side of the road, too, just east of the tower.

There, more than two dozen cars were forced to stop. One by one, drivers were interviewed and asked to show their licenses and registrations.

All the drivers said they weren't racers. Police said their cars told a different tale.

"Honestly, I don't do street racing," said Jason Penn, 20, of Elmont, as he sat behind the wheel of his blue Honda Civic. A huge decal on the windshield read: "Team StreetWarFare. No Excuses." A decal on the rear hatch read: "R.I.P. Booga. NY Street Racing Legend."

An 18-year-old from Merrick, Bryan Vicquery, stood next to his Dodge Neon, which had doors altered to swing upwards instead of out - sort of like a Lamborghini.

"I just come to look at the cars," he said. "My car's all show. I don't race it."

The bomb dog found a nitrous bottle in the trunk of a red Honda. The driver, William Long, 19, of Bellmore, said he knew about it - but didn't know it was illegal.

"I'm not racing, sir," Long told State Police Sgt. Robert Myers.

"If you weren't going to race," Myers said, "then why is the bottle turned on?"

By the time police were finished they had issued more than 75 summonses for equipment violations and speeding. Three cars were impounded, including the red Honda driven by Long - since it is a federal violation to transport nitrous oxide, considered a hazardous material under law.

No one was caught in an "unauthorized speed contest," an illegal street race.

"We're trying to stop these races before they start, before they race and kill somebody," Heins said. "We didn't get the big group. But, tonight, we got enough of them."
 

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boy, i'm glad all those illegal searches went down. i know in cali traffic stops like that are illegal. and that writer, along with most of the press, is an ignorant storyteller who should stick to fiction if he wants to be so suspenseful
 

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lol. oooookay. wtf kinda article is THAT?

that sounded like a "meet" not an "official street race." damn.

i ain't participating in any meet whatsoever w/ y'all in LI. apparently if more than two imports tuner riceboys meet up, they'll both be arrested and their cars impounded. lol.

(mr. popo, if you're reading this...i think these illegal street racers are planning a meet this weekend. shhh....don't tell them i told you)
 
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