Chicago City Council this week is set to vote on an ordinance meant to curb illegal street racing, an issue that has become a familiar and disruptive problem affecting several different parts of the city.
The proposed ordinance, put forth by Alds. Quinn of the 13th Ward, Reilly of the 42nd Ward and Curtis of the 18th Ward say that "reckless" street racing has "tormented" residents in their Ward, as well as other neighborhoods. According to a release, the ordinance would permit the Chicago Police to "immediately impound a car involved in drag racing" and establish fines between $5,000 - $10,000 per offense.
Additionally, according to the proposal, the owner of the vehicle could face a $500 fine.
"We worked a lot with Ald. Reilly, who was the chief sponsor of that ordinance, to make sure that we had one that was in compliance with the city laws, and it really gave the police department an opportunity to be successful in shutting these things down," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "As you know, unfortunately, drag racing and drifting had been a thing in our city for decades. I live not too far from Fullerton Avenue and it's an issue."
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The three Wards span across Chicago, from the West Lawn neighborhood southwest of the city to the Loop, Streeterville and River North downtown.
Video from a street racing incident around 2 a.m. Monday in the West Loop near the intersection of Monroe Street and Clinton Street shows drivers doing donuts, surrounded by a crowd of people and cars. Chicago Police say they received calls about the incident, and that they arrested a 17-year-old who, during the event, allegedly injured an officer after throwing a firework towards them.
"One of those cars spins out of control, a whole crowd can be taken out," Lightfoot said. "So what we want to encourage is people to be smart about how they're using vehicles."
The full city council is expected to vote on the ordinance Wednesday.