Madera Police Department
Adam Garza, 21, was arrested Saturday after Madera police spotted him doing burnouts in the parking lot of the Home Depot store.
A Saturday night gathering to watch drivers do donuts in their cars in the parking lot of The Home Depot store on North Schnoor Street and Foxglove Way resulted in a crash and the arrest of Adam Garza, who just turned 21, after police spotted him in the act of doing circles and burning out.
Garza then fled from police at a high rate of speed in his metallic blue 2016 Mustang, striking and seriously damaging another car in the process.
According to police, Garza ran home and attempted to hide in a nearby apartment complex before being found by officers, resulting in additional charges of felony evading and hit-and-run. Police then towed his car to an impound lot.
Madera Police Lieutenant Dan Foss said officers are in the process of reviewing dash cam videos to investigate the possibility other members of the group could also face charges in the incident.
“They go out (and do this) to show off their cars.” Foss said. “He was doing donuts in the parking lot just about dark, when we showed up. There were several other kids (with cars) there. When he fled he got in a wreck, and then fled from there but we had ID’d him already. We got him at his house and then booked him,” he said.
The stunts may seem harmless or even glamorous when seen on TV, said Foss, but he cautioned, “Don’t do it. It’s considered reckless endangerment or wanton disregard for the safety of others. Zero tolerance. It’s up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail for doing donuts, and the other costs for reckless driving are significant, and if you consider the towing and impound fees and court costs and other costs, it quickly adds up.” he said, “ And felony evading (police) can result in up to a year in jail.”
A conviction on a charge of reckless driving, can result in two points on one’s driver’s license, which remain there for at least three years, and can have significant effects on the cost of auto insurance rates, or even the driver’s ability to obtain insurance.
The area near Home Depot has long been a favorite spot for Mustang, Dodge Charger, Honda and Camaro owners to gather and burn rubber for bragging rights, and attempting to impress each other.
Police are aware of residents’ complaints and the many other intersections with the telltale heavy, black circular tire marks and have stepped up their patrol efforts to catch reckless drivers before any pedestrians, bystanders or any other drivers are struck, and seriously injured or killed.
“We are very aware (of this situation) and we are going be cracking down ... doing another sting or two, an overtime (enforcement) efforts. We hit them hard last year but it now seems to be increasing again with the warm weather. They are not hard to find. They tend to all group together, find a parking lot and make a lot of noise ... to show off their cars. We’ll hit them hard and we usually partner with CHP because if they have any modifications to the vehicles, we will cite them for that. The (cars) are then actually illegal to be on the roadway until they go back to stock,” Foss said.
Foss said police will also be checking for loud or modified mufflers after a new law, AB 1824, went into effect in January.
“That’s why we partner with CHP. They will actually go over these cars from front to back. Any type of vehicle modification, mufflers, window tint, etc. will be cited for. And it’s no longer a fix-it ticket” according to Foss who said, “You get the ticket and have to get it fixed, and then signed off by CHP before you can register it again.”
The incident is at least the third potentially reckless traffic collision involving younger drivers, Mustangs, and damage to other vehicles in city limits in the last six months. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for drivers between the ages of 16 to 20, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Residents witnessing cars doing burnouts or with information on reckless driving incidents are asked to call Madera Police dispatch at 675-4220. The line is operated 24/7.