City Hall

Are North Texas Police Catching Up With Street Racers and Stunt Drivers?

In the last couple of weeks, police in Dallas and Fort Worth have arrested about 140 people in during street racing busts.
In the last couple of weeks, police in Dallas and Fort Worth have arrested about 140 people in during street racing busts. Avi S. Adelman /
Street racing and stunt driving blew up in Dallas and across the country during the pandemic. States and cities have been trying to crack down on the trend to no avail. But if recent busts in North Texas are any indication, the law is beginning to catch up with the drivers.

In the Dallas area, many street takeovers the last year can be attributed to TSNLSDallas, as they’re called on Instagram. “[It] started in March of 2020,” the Instagram user told the Observer in February. “We became the face of Dallas sideshows."

The thrill of burning rubber along with a deep adoration for fast cars kept weekly takeovers going across the city. Those responsible, such as TSNLSDallas, call themselves swingers, referring to how their cars whip around when they do donuts, usually surrounded by spectators. Their events are called sideshows.

Throughout the pandemic, the swingers became experts at evading the police. “We know how to move. We are always a step ahead," TSNLSDallas said. "Why do you think we last 30 minutes plus at each intersection?”

They may need to trim the time down. Dallas Police arrested 81 people during street racing stings last weekend. They also handed out 16 citations to spectators. The department doesn't distinguish between racing and swinging.

“We know how to move. We are always a step ahead." – TSNLSDallas

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On Aug. 13, police responded to a takeover in the 4200 block of Parry Avenue. There, they say they saw two people sitting in their car, shooting assault rifles into the air. When the cops tried to stop the vehicle, the people fled. After a quick pursuit, the police arrested the two and took their guns. The two assault rifles were equipped with illegal attachments that convert the rifles into pistols, according to DPD.

The next day, DPD was working a takeover in the 1600 block of West Mockingbird Lane when they heard gunfire. They saw people hiding between cars with an assault rifle and a handgun. The two were arrested. One of them had been arrested by DPD’s street racing task force four times in the last year. Those arrests included charges for aggravated robbery, deadly conduct, spectating and evading arrest.

During 11 street takeovers that weekend, police swooped in on large crowds, some of which, they say, fired paintball guns at officers. When it was all done, cops had issued 27 other citations, towed 35 vehicles and seized seven guns. "At multiple locations, spectators were firing paintballs and fireworks at officers," according to DPD.

A similar bust took place in Fort Worth the week before.

Fort Worth police responded to a site where they’d heard an “illegal reckless driving exhibition hosted by a local street racing group” was going to take place. By the end of the night, the Fort Worth Police Department took in around 60 adults and seven juveniles and towed 29 cars.

About 40 officers were involved in the bust and charged people for street racing, reckless driving, evading arrest and spectating.

In April, the Fort Worth City Council passed an ordinance that outlawed attending as a spectator street racing and stunt driving events on public roads, highways and parking lots. City Council members in Dallas approved a similar ordinance last May.

"At multiple locations, spectators were firing paintballs and fireworks at officers." – Dallas Police Department

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But if you check TSNLSDallas’ Instagram page, it seems the swinging hasn’t slowed. A video posted this week depicts a montage of Big D street takeovers. The caption reads, “If you were wondering if Dallas was still turnt ….. Here’s a lil sum sum. …” In some clips, red-and-blue police lights flash in the background and fireworks go off near cop cars.

If you asked the swingers, they’d say they don’t know what the big deal is. As for the dangers, TSNLSDallas argues that cigarettes and alcohol kill more people than events like sideshows.

Still, the stunt driving has left a trail of dead bodies behind it.

In April, 54-year-old Lynetta Washington was shot and killed outside her home when someone began shooting at a street takeover in the 4300 block of Duncanville Road, according to WFAA. In July, Carlos Alfredo Alas Rivera, 19, died when he crashed into a tree after losing control of his car during a street race in Carrollton. That same month, three others were killed in a street racing crash in West Dallas.

In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 2315, which allows law enforcement in some circumstances to seize and possibly forfeit someone's car as part of an ongoing effort to clamp down on street racing.

A first-time offender wouldn’t get their car seized or forfeited unless they injured someone or were driving while intoxicated. After the first offense, though, stunt drivers risk having to find a new set of wheels. State Reps. John Turner and Morgan Meyer filed the bipartisan bill based on DPD's recommendations and constituent comments. The new law goes into effect Sept. 1.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn