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Templeton CHP impounds multiple vehicles suspected in street racing event

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Jan 27, 2022

The California Highway Patrol in Templeton impounded four vehicles believed to be involved in an illegal street racing event in northern San Luis Obispo County last Friday.

The CHP says the vehicles will be impounded for 30 days. The drivers were reportedly interviewed and officers will be submitting their reports to the court.

Templeton CHP says there's been an increase in illegal street racing activity on rural roads in northern San Luis Obispo County during the pandemic.

Jim Kelley, a resident of rural Paso Robles, says he was nearly hit head-on by two other cars while driving along Estrella Road.

"As I came around the corner, two cars were coming straight at me," he described. "They pulled over. They were going pretty fast and there was a bunch more cars."

On Shell Creek Road in Santa Margarita, resident Steve Sinton says he's witnessed more and more street races on Saturday nights with anywhere from two to 60 cars involved.

"There's been at least one instance where they've lost control and gone through a fence," he said.

Sinton, who runs cattle there, says besides safety issues, the land is being destroyed.

"I've hauled away garbage bags full of trash. People go out and drive out into the field and spin brodies and turn up the ground," he added.

The Templeton CHP says it's ramping up efforts to catch those involved.

"When we respond to these calls, oftentimes they disperse and we don't get there on time," said Officer Jose Meza.

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The four vehicles seized by CHP Templeton on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.

Officials say the CHP responds to more than 25,000 calls involving illegal street racing across the state each year.

"This behavior is unacceptable because there's bicyclists, there's pedestrians, there's community members trying to make it home safely," Meza said.

Street racing and sideshows have resulted in at least 264 crashes statewide over the past five years, according to the CHP, with 30 of those being deadly.

"Participants and onlookers are frequently killed, or seriously injured, as a consequence of street racing," the CHP said in a press release issued Thursday. "This reckless behavior endangers our community, and the CHP will take aggressive action to deter it."

Starting July 1, 2025, a court may suspend a person's driver's license up to six months for participating in illegal street racing.

The CHP asks anyone who witnesses illegal street racing to report it by calling 911.