DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune
Hermen Nambo-Escutia sits in handcuffs Saturday night after police allegedly saw him doing figure eights and other stunts in a black Chevy Malibu in a parking lot off Country Club Drive.
Officers of the Madera Police Department were out in increased numbers Saturday night in a zero-tolerance effort to crack down on drivers with vehicles modified for racing or stunt driving. They are focusing on getting the reckless drivers off the roadways. The activity typically spikes in summertime, but is dangerous anytime of year, officers say.
Officers stopped and checked some 30 vehicles, wrote 17 citations and sent three cars to the state of California referee department for further, more specific inspections, which typically result in the required removal of the modifications before the cars can be legally driven on the roadways again.
Three drivers were arrested after officers witnessed them drag racing, doing burnouts or stunt driving in parking lots, or otherwise driving recklessly. Their cars were towed and impounded for 30 days. Police also stopped several cars with underage, 15-year-old drivers without drivers licenses and cited them, before releasing them to their parents.
Corporal Brent Cederquist supervised the enforcement detail and said Madera police officers had recently received the specialized training required in identifying the popular but illegal vehicle modifications such as enhanced air intakes, fuel injection systems and loud, modified mufflers used in racing and stunt driving.
“It’s a matter of public safety,” he said. “We recognize it’s a growing problem. Sideshows, and racing stunts are dangerous and put the public at risk. These (stunt driving) enforcement efforts are going to continue.”
Officers say an arrest and conviction for reckless driving can result in fines and other charges of well over $1,000 when traffic fines, court costs, and vehicle impound charges are added up, not to mention points on a driver’s license, and increased auto insurance costs.
Residents witnessing reckless driving or with any information on stunts, side shows or drag racing events are asked to call the Madera police dispatch number at 675-4220. The line is answered 24 hours, 7 days a week.