2 detained, 1 car impounded after ‘sideshows’ take over intersections in the Loop, Near South Side

Chicago police detained two people and impounded one vehicle during car “sideshows” that shut down major intersections in the Loop and Near South Side early Saturday. The incidents will also provide early tests of a month-old ordinance that allows the city to seek impoundment of vehicles that are involved in the tire-squealing, smoke-spewing events.

The first sideshow closed down the intersection of 25th Street and Martin Luther King Drive around 1:45 a.m. A large group of cars clogged the streets as people watched drivers spinning donuts in a laser-lit, mortar-adorned spectacle.

After police arrived, Snapchat users captured footage of the area as spectators returned to their cars around 2 a.m. Watch:

Chicago police detained two men at the King Drive incident: Jose Castillo, 18, is charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct, and Juan Venegas, 18, was cited for possessing a pellet gun, disorderly conduct, and a litany of traffic violations, according to a CPD spokesperson. Both men live in Chicago.

Police also impounded Venegas’ car, the spokesperson said.

About 45 minutes later, another sideshow popped up at Wacker and Columbus drives in the Loop. Footage of cars spinning and sliding through the intersection spread widely on social media. Here are some Snaps:

Police made note of license plate numbers on cars at both sideshows for possible enforcement action.

An ordinance passed last month gives the city authority to impound vehicles that “drift” and drag race, even if cops aren’t present at the time, according to the law’s sponsor, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd). Reilly represents a large part of downtown, including the area around last night’s Wacker Drive sideshow.

Reilly’s ordinance allows the city to mail a “notice of intent to impound” a vehicle with evidence to support the action. There is also a process for car owners to contest the impoundment effort.

Reilly’s ordinance won approval after drivers did donuts in the middle of a West Loop intersection for more than 30 minutes on July 17. Similar incidents have been reported across the city, with crowds sometimes injuring officers and damaging police vehicles.

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