Accident highlights dangers of Tampa Bay bridge racing - WFLA News Channel 8

Accident highlights dangers of Tampa Bay bridge racing

Posted: Updated:

Police say it happens nearly every night. Drivers are racing other drivers at speeds well over 100 miles an hour on Tampa Bay bridges.

Tampa Police Lt. Steven Lee says a recent wreck involving illegal racers and a Tampa Police cruiser highlights the problem.

Related story: 08/12/2013 Street racing leads to Courtney Campbell crash

"They're going to kill themselves or they're going to kill some innocent person," said Lee.  "It's too dangerous.  They need to find a racetrack, a legal racetrack, if they want to race."

Despite the risks, Lee says dozens of thrill seekers regularly gather for illegal races on the Courtney Campbell, Gandy Bridge, and 22nd Street Causeway.

"We're not ignoring the problem.  It's just gotten so big that it's turned into a tradition," explained Lee.  "We'll just keep hitting them in the pocketbook.  We'll impound their cars, and eventually, they're going to realize it's not worth it to be out racing on the weekends."

Florida street racing penalties were changed years ago from speeding tickets to first-degree misdemeanors.  Lee said a major challenge is, street racers tend to bounce around between different jurisdictions when police are out enforcing the racing laws.

"We'll scare them to the 22nd Street causeway out to HCSO's area.  They'll kick them out of there.  They'll go to St. Pete and the Gandy and it's just a real big viscous circle," he said.

The service manager at Cars and Concepts, Inc. in Tampa says they get lots of requests from drivers with a need for more speed.  He warns those looking for adrenaline rushes, to take the responsible route and stick to race tracks and drag strips.

"There's more at stake than just winning the race," said Matthew Hayes.  "You're putting people's lives at stake, as well as your own, when they're running that kind of stuff." 

  • NewsMore>>

  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:56:27 GMT
    YouTube imageYouTube image
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
  • Tampa boy, 6, critically injured after being hit by SUV

    Tampa boy, 6, critically injured after being hit by SUV

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:29 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:29:58 GMT
    A 6-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was hit by a SUV while riding a scooter in Tampa on Tuesday night.
    A 6-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was hit by a SUV while riding a scooter in Tampa on Tuesday night.
  • Tampa boy hit by SUV dies

    Tampa boy hit by SUV dies

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:28:45 GMT
    The 6-year-old boy hit by an SUV in Tampa Tuesday night, died from his injuries, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
    The 6-year-old boy hit by an SUV in Tampa Tuesday night, died from his injuries, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:56:27 GMT
    YouTube imageYouTube image
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Photo of cat at gunpoint on Facebook sparks investigation

    Photo of cat at gunpoint on Facebook sparks investigation

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:00:28 GMT
    Animal Control officers are investigating a post that sparked outrage on Facebook - it was a picture of a man holding a cat by its scruff and pointing a gun at it, NBC-2 reported.
    Animal Control officers are investigating a post that sparked outrage on Facebook - it was a picture of a man holding a cat by its scruff and pointing a gun at it, NBC-2 reported.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.