While Chicago fights stunt drivers with tickets (maybe), other cities are more aggressive

Car sideshows, those donut-spinning, tire-squealing, engine-revving headaches that tie up city intersections and have resulted in more than one death in Chicago, are causing problems in other cities, too. While Chicago authorities have taken a relatively passive approach, other jurisdictions are getting hands-on.

In Las Vegas, where road closures due to sideshow stunt drivers have reportedly threatened the local gasoline supply, authorities are installing “rumble strips” in the middle of intersections that will tear up the tires on any car that tries to do a donut.

And in Nashville, officials charged a 21-year-old man with five counts of inciting a riot for “promoting unsanctioned car meets.”

Nashville police arrest Keller Moore (top left); newly-installed rumble strips outside Las Vegas (bottom left); and a car spinning donuts in the intersection of Hubbard and Damen in Chicago on March 26, 2023. | LVMPD; MNPD; Provided

Here at home, Chicago police generally keep their distance when sideshows pop up. Officials say the officers collect license plate numbers from the vehicles involved so the city can carry out enforcement actions later. But most of the cars involved don’t have visible license plates.

This was the scene last week at the intersection of Hubbard and Damen:

“Police stayed about a block and a half south on Damen for 10 minutes, and eventually everyone drove away as police slowly followed caravan,” a witness told CWBChicago.

But any driver who tries to spin donuts in a remote intersection outside Las Vegas will have to contend with crisscrossing divots in the asphalt that local authorities installed last week.

You’re probably familiar with rumble strips, notches placed in the pavement that cause vehicles to rattle if a driver drifts off the roadway.

Well, Nevada Department of Transportation crews carved rumble strips across the entire intersection of Grand Valley Parkway and U.S. Highway 93 last week at the cost of $70,000.

“We had drivers driving these semi-trucks, delivering fuel to Las Vegas, that couldn’t make it through this intersection because of this illegal activity,” appropriately-named Las Vegas Metro Police Lt. Daryl Rhoads explained when the strips debuted last week.

“They can come out to this intersection and do donuts all they want, but it’s going to do some serious damage to the tread of their tires.”

Meanwhile, in Nashville, officials charged Keller Moore, 21, with five counts of inciting a riot for organizing car meets via social media. Officials said Moore’s meet-ups attracted hundreds of cars to parking lots at Nissan Stadium, a large church, and other locations.

“These were characterized by burnouts & other dangerous driving activity,” the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted.

After his arrest, Moore clapped back on Instagram: “Claiming that I start ‘riots’ or that I condone ‘street racing’ is beyond ridiculous. All of my meets are strictly ‘park and chill.'”

“I have personally tried to contact Metro PD before in the past about having them work with me on my events to make them as legit as possible, however no response,” Moore continued. “Now, this entire scenario has gotten out of hand.”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com