Illegal street racing in Lansing cause growing safety concerns

Lansing police partners with community to slow drivers down
Michigan State Police data showed 14 people were killed in crashes across Lansing in 2021.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - People street racing are wreaking havoc on streets across Lansing, causing many people to be worried about their safety.

Michigan State Police data showed 14 people were killed in crashes across Lansing in 2021. According to police reports, eight crashes were because someone was speeding or ignored stop lights.

Video from police dash cameras caught drivers doing donuts in the street at Cedar Street and Holmes Road back in May.

“They’re just really going to hurt somebody,” one woman said during a call to a Lansing police officer. The conversation was included in body camera video obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Someone could get hit, someone could get hurt,” said Terrence Smith, president of Capital City Mopar.

Many people across the city contacted News 10 worried more people would die if people continue to drive recklessly.

“We don’t know what to do. I’ve been sitting in the parking lot the whole time because more of them started peeling over here when I finally got to get through. I’m not going to put myself into another situation,” said the woman who called the officer.

Lansing police officers broke up a gathering at the U-HAUL on South Cedar Street back in May.

One person was arrested and eight others were ticketed.

“It’s a daily issue, you know, you have people doing well over the speed limit and it gets to be a real problem,” said Bubby Cook, who works at RPM Auto Sales on South Cedar. “I have a daughter who’s still a new driver, you know, I hate to see her getting into an accident because, you know, somebody wants to act like an idiot.”

News 10 took his concerns to Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee. He said this has been an issue in the Capital City for years, but it has gotten worse since the pandemic started.

“Then the streets were fairly empty. They turned into race tracks,” said Chief Sosebee.

Chief Sosebee is trying to find ways to get people to slow down. Part of that solution is community policing.

“It’s not always the best solution to have the chief of police or a police officer be the one that says you need to slow down and drive safe. It’s the, it’s the people that have a little bit more credibility within the groups of these car groups,” said Chief Sosebee.

“We want to just bridge that gap and create that relationship with the community the police,” said Smith.

The Lansing Police Department is partnering with groups like Capital City Mopar.

Smith said the local car group gathers for a car show in different parking lots.

“We just don’t want any accidents. We don’t wanna see anyone get hurt,” said Smith. “I’m gonna be honest. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s dangerous when you do it in a setting where people are recording and they’re getting too close.”

For much of the summer, they gathered here at the old Stock and Field on Edgewood Boulevard. Smith said he has a direct line to officers who can come right away if things get out of hand.

“If you want to do that with your car, we understand your car is a high-performance car and you, you have a really nice car, but we’d rather you take it to the track to run that vehicle the way that it’s supposed to be,” said Smith.

Cook is hoping people will think about how their actions could affect other people on the road.

“There are people out there with families, there are people trying to make it home, people trying to make it to work. And they, you know, I hate to see something happen to them just because somebody wants to do something stupid,” said Cook.

Lansing police are working with other groups to curb crime, using the partnership with Capital City Mopar as an example.

Someone convicted of reckless driving could spend three months in jail and face a $500 fine.

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