ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WLFA) — Sixty-nine people were arrested Saturday night after St. Petersburg police cracked down on a “major” street racing event, according to officials.

In a Monday press conference, Assistant Chief Antonio Gilliam said officers intervened after learning of a “street takeover” that was supposed to take place in a parking lot at 11001
Roosevelt Boulevard.

Officials said street takeovers happen when individuals close off a part of a roadway or parking lot to do vehicle doughnuts and other unsafe street racing acts.

“We’re seeing this in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, here,” FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins said.

Law enforcement officials also said these races have been statewide, for both money and fun.

“It’s really a network,” Gilliam said.

Video released by the SPPD showed that one person was nearly struck by a vehicle doing doughnuts at the scene.

Officers said they learned that this event was just a warm-up and that the organizers of this street takeover had plans to hold other events at major intersections in Pinellas County.

Dozens of people were at the event, which was interrupted by over 50 patrol cruisers from the SPPD, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas Park Police Department, and the Florida Highway Patrol surrounding the takeover.

According to police, the 69 suspects, who were mostly from outside the county, were arrested on various charges, including fleeing and eluding, child endangerment, street racing, driving with a suspended license, and obstruction.

Gilliam said 74 citations were also served, and 23 vehicles were impounded.

“Whenever an owner is the driver or occupant of these vehicles during a street racing event, we can take that vehicle for 30 days,” Gilliam said. “The owner is responsible for the towing and storage fees, which can often amount into the thousands.”

Among those who were arrested was a couple who brought their 1-year-old and 3-year-old to the event. They were charged with child endangerment.

“Why are you bringing a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old to an event like this?” Gilliam said. “What good can come out of that?”

To report instances of street racing, you can email information to