The traditional weekend cruising event for which some local cities became known appear to have given way to noisier, smellier, more mobile automotive happenings liable to pop up anywhere, draw dozens if not hundreds of participants and spell trouble for those who don’t appreciate the artsier elements of burning donuts in the middle of captive intersections.
Recently, sizable gatherings of as many as 200 cars have popped up in Benicia, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Concord, Oakley, and Livermore – waking unappreciative civilians, capturing key sections of roadway and drawing the attention of police.
Part of the allure, apparently, is taunting law enforcement and running from officers when they arrive on scene – often with less than optimal consequences.
A 40-year-old Livermore man was wounded Wednesday morning when he drew gunfire after attempting to obtain the license plate number of a car he observed spinning donuts in the area of Chestnut and North M streets.
Police responding to the area – scene of a chaotic sideshow the night before – heard gunshots and located the victim in the 2000 block of Chestnut Avenue, suffering from a non life-threatening wound. He told officers he was trying to exit the area when a bullet penetrated his car from the rear.
Officers located the suspect vehicle a short time later and arrested the 20-year-old driver, Smith said, who was also from Livermore.
On Saturday night, police in Oakley responded to a report of sideshow activity involving an estimated 200 vehicles in the area of Sellers Avenue and E. Cypress Road.
A lone officer quickly found himself outnumbered by an estimated 60 cars, the occupants surrounding the cruiser with at least one participant jumping on the hood and roof before the officer could withdraw.
Police reported that at least one gunshot was heard, though it was believed not directly at the officer, and a gun was reportedly recovered.
A black BMW participating in the sideshow struck a car as it was fleeing the area and was later located, abandoned, not far from where it struck another car at Sellers and Riverrock.
Although no arrests were made, two vehicles were towed and their drivers identified – with charges expected to be filed with the district attorney.
Despite a zero tolerance policy toward sideshows area police have had a difficult time corralling their participants, though seizures and high fines are possible when arrests are made. The gatherings are highly mobile, of course, and consist of souped-up, extremely nimble vehicles modified to run at high speeds with drivers communicating via text messages – always able to stay a step ahead of police.