CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Police are launching a new campaign called "Operation Crackdown" to put a stop to illegal street racing in the San Diego area.
Authorities say when popular movies like "Fast and the Furious" open at the box office, they see a surge in street racing.
"We find when the movies come out, the incidents of speeding and racing goes up a little bit," said Bernard Gonzales, public information officer with the Chula Vista Police Department.
Last week, Alexandria Drake, of Chula Vista, was killed in a car accident on Highway 67 in Ramona. The 25 year old mother was driving with her baby in a car seat in the back of the car. Witnesses told police that her car was side swiped by a Jaguar that went out of control during a street race. Drake died in the crash. Her baby survived.
On Monday, local law enforcement held a news conference at the Chula Vista Police Department to announce the creation of "Operation Crackdown." Funded through a $600,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, it will include members from every law enforcement agency in San Diego County.The money will be used to train officers to spot cars that are not street legal. Funds will also be used to pay for officer overtime.
Owners of race cars can be cited or arrested, and their cars can be impounded or even crushed.
"If that's what it takes to get their attention, that is what we will do," Chula Vista Police Chief Rick Emerson said."These cars can mean death on the streets, and that's what we are really trying to avoid here."
On Friday the task force conducted their first operation. They made 94 citations, including 17 impounds and eight arrests. More operations are scheduled.