Downtown drag racing video shows ring of fire, burning rubber as officials vow crackdown

CHICAGO (WLS) -- City leaders say drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive isn't a new problem, but it's a problem that's only getting worse.

Overnight, video shared by CWB Chicago captured on Lower Wacker plays out like a scene from an action film. Dozens of spectators appeared to be in awe of stunt-style drivers burning rubber and gas into Chicago's underbelly.

"This is a real threat to public safety," said 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

The scene intensified after a ring of fire was ignited. Drivers did donuts around the rising flames.

But this was no action film.

"They're escalating," Ald. Hopkins said. "Now we have rings of fire, where an innocent vehicle could potentially catch on fire and lives could be lost through this kind of activity."

Moments later, some encircled by the flames were seen jumping to escape the cloud of smoke.

"Somebody's going to get injured. Somebody is going to get in a hospital or worse so we want to do more that Lower Wacker is safe," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Hopkins said the city's work to stop these gatherings have been ongoing. The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance by Alderwoman Pat Dowell empowering the Chicago Police Department to impound motor vehicles accused for drifting and drag racing. Hopkins was one of the co-sponsors, who also requested special tow vehicles to help with enforcement last year.

"It provides a means for us to conduct mass impoundments if we catch people engaged in this kind of activity," he said. "We're trying to draw a line in the sand and just say we can't tolerate this anymore. It is not a victimless crime. People are being hurt by this."

CPD Superintendent David Brown said the overnight incident was also captured on city POD cameras, and echoed the need for more resources downtown, especially overnight.
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