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You can see why street takeovers are a crime. Watch this video of an intersection takeover that shows numerous near-misses because the spectators were trying to touch the car doing donuts. Seriously. A number of spinouts just miss watchers that formed the circle around the intersection antics. The apparent view from the 19th floor of a nearby apartment building gives a good perspective on the dangerous donuts.

When and where was this intersection takeover?

This happened last month in San Diego, on Pacific Coast Highway or PCH. This is right between the Embarcadero and Gas Lamp District, crammed with many food and entertainment venues. Police estimate over 200 bystanders joined up to watch the midnight incident on a Saturday. 

This was not the first intersection takeover at this popular spot. Another takeover happened less than a year ago in the same location. Back then, San Diego Police Lieutenant Adam Sharki told NBC News, “We take this very, very seriously.” It has become so prolific that police now go through special training to contain, and arrest those involved or just watching. 

Was anyone arrested in this intersection takeover?

Street takeover
Street takeover sideshows | Getty

Interestingly, this takeover yielded no arrests. According to the person that shot the video for NBC, the incident lasted for more than 20 minutes before police arrived. “There were some people that were, like, trying to touch the car … at one point someone sat in a chair in the middle of the intersection,” she said. 

“As officers neared the intersection, they turned on their emergency lights and sirens,” San Diego Harbor Police Department Sgt. T.D. De La Peña told NBC. “The suspects began to leave the area on foot and in vehicles. In an effort to de-escalate the situation, officers did not pursue the vehicles as they left the area; the violation had stopped and the risk of injury outweighed the severity of the misdemeanor offense committed.” 

Whether you are participating in, or just watching one of these intersection takeovers, you are committing a crime. “Being a spectator is a misdemeanor under the municipal code,” Sharki told NBC. “People who do so can get up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000, as can the owners or operators of the vehicles involved.”

Another one in Bakersfield involved assaulting and hitting police

Just last Saturday a large group of intersection takeovers happened south of San Diego in Bakersfield, California. Five intersections were involved and over 300 cars were involved. Police said that due to “the violent nature of the participants,” it was forced to call in reinforcements. 

The car owners that “rampaged” through town assaulted several police officers. There were eight arrests altogether. Police are still looking for more suspects. Bakersfield police said that some in the crowd, which outnumbered the police, started attacking the patrol cars. A fleeing car intentionally hit one police officer on foot according to the Bakersfield Police Department. Many of the arrested also had weapons violations. 

So the two intersection takeovers had completely different bad outcomes, though the Bakersfield incidents went way beyond most reporting of similar events. 


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