For the Madera Tribune
Jose Cortez,18, was arrested Saturday night after being recorded by CHP on radar at 110 miles per hour in what officers allege were multiple incidents of a drag race on northbound State Route 99.
An 18-year-old Madera man was arrested Saturday night on charges of drag racing with another vehicle after he was observed by an officer of the California Highway Patrol on northbound State Route 99 and at a recorded, sustained radar speed of at least 110 miles per hour.
Jose Guadalupe Cortez was reportedly seen in his 2016 red Chevrolet Camaro and recorded on video repeatedly slowing in traffic and then drag racing side by side with another vehicle, by an officer who noticed the taillights of slowing traffic and followed behind the two.
The incident happened about 8 p.m. Saturday night in moderate traffic as the two vehicles passed Avenue 9 in south Madera County.
Cortez, the apparent instigator, was stopped and arrested on charges of blocking traffic, excessive speed, and participating in a speed contest. He was booked on a $5,000 bond and his car was impounded for 30 days.
The incident is under investigation and officers are in the process of locating the other vehicle involved in the drag racing.
Officers say speeds have recently increased on local roadways and motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 16- to 20-year-olds. Young drivers also frequently buy and drive high-powered cars they have no experience in operating, they say, only adding to the danger to themselves and other motorists.
Most CHP vehicles operate with front and rear radar detecting and recording capacity while they are moving, along with dash camera video and license plate readers, a recent technology that makes monitoring high speed traffic much more efficient.
Mid-altitude airplanes are also operated and used by CHP to monitor traffic patterns and speeds on major highways.
The Madera area with it’s wide-open, straight roads, has long had a dangerous car racing culture and history of high speed driving stunts, along with many fatal and preventable crashes according to Madera police and CHP officers.
Anyone convicted of reckless driving (endangerment,) or engaging in speed contests can be charged with a felony and could face imprisonment of up to 90 days in jail, fines of $1,000 or more, not including court and legal costs, suspension of their driving privileges and points on their driver’s license, along with a significant increase in the cost of car insurance.