City Council considers drag racing ordinance as video shows cars doing stunts in West Loop

Proposed ordinance would allow police to impound cars involved in this type of recklessness

ByCraig Wall and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Monday, July 18, 2022
West Loop drag racing caught on video as aldermen consider ordinance
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Cars drag racing, drifting and doing donuts in the West Loop were all caught on video and now the Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance to address the dangerous stunts.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago City Council will take up a drag racing ordinance after video from the West Loop has people calling for action.

The proposed new ordinance would allow the city to impound vehicles and give hefty fines to drag racers. It was unanimously approved by committee Monday.

Neighbors said the intersection of Monroe and Clinton streets was blocked off for hours overnight Saturday. The sounds of screeching tires woke neighbors out of their sleep.

Video shows cars drag racing and doing street stunts in the street, which a neighbor said lasted for hours, starting around 2 a.m. Sunday.

"The police came, but they didn't have enough police to do anything about it because there were probably over a hundred people here," the neighbor said.

Defiant drivers did donuts in the middle of the blocked off intersection. Spectators seemed to play chicken with another vehicle spinning wildly around in circles.

Police were outmanned and unable to stop it. And residents said when more officers were able to respond, things only escalated more.

"It is an absolute recipe for disaster and it is just a matter of time before people are killed in these incidents," 32nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly said.

After police managed to disperse the crowd, some went to the rooftop of a parking garage in the 1100-block of South Canal. Tire marks show evidence of more drag racing and drifting there.

Police said just before 4:30 a.m., fireworks were being thrown at them from the upper level of a parking garage.

One officer was hit and nearly an hour later a 17-year-old boy was arrested, police said. He's now charged with aggravated assault on a police officer.

"It's really unfortunate because, yeah, you know what? We all did dumb things as kids, but this is to another level and it's dangerous for the public," said Julie Darling with West Loop Community Organization.

Alderman Reilly has spearheaded countless legislative crackdowns to raise fines and penalties. He said these crimes should be better enforced and says this ordinance could help officers do so.

If police can identify a vehicle involved in drag racing or drifting, they would have to notify the driver of the city's intent to impound the vehicle. The owner would be given three opportunities to contest it: If they could show the vehicle was not in the city at the time of the incident, if the vehicle was reported stolen, or if the license plates don't match the vehicle description.

"This is an issue that impacts the entire city," the alderman said. "There are communities on the North Side, the Northwest Side, the West Side and the Southwest Side and South Sides of Chicago that are plagued with this."

Some aldermen and people from the Southwest Side communities are expected to gather Tuesday morning to promote this proposed ordinance. City Council is then expected to vote on it on Wednesday.