Police put brakes on illegal street racing

Two drivers cited near I-70 Park & Ride

WOODLAWN, Md. - The park and ride in Woodlawn is the end of the line for I-70, and its isolated location has long made it an irresistible place to form the starting line for illegal street racing.

RELATED: Maryland police target street racing, aggressive driving in Baltimore County
    
Police have now produced images showing the latest impromptu event over the weekend, when they moved in and crashed the party.

"Investigators believed to be an estimate of 50 to 60 people present and participants shutting down Interstate 70---that's a big deal," said Sgt. DaVaughn Parker of the Maryland State Police, "We got there.  They were able to strategically get in front of this illegal street race, and at some point and time, someone alerted others of police presence.  They started to scatter."
    
Maryland State troopers and Baltimore County police caught up with a pair of alleged racers and cited them for multiple moving violations, but the penalties pale in comparison to the risk of such activity.
    
The same westbound straightaway set the stage for a race almost a decade ago when Jonathan Henderson of La Plata and his girlfriend, Mary-Kathryn Abernathy of Columbia died after a car lost control and struck the pair of spectators.
    
Some suggest a movie franchise such as "The Fast and the Furious" fueled renewed interest in illegal street races, but at what cost?

"That's why we gear towards shutting them down immediately, because they are not safe,” said Parker, “You can be an innocent bystander like the young woman was in 2009 and lose your life.  A lot of people think these are like scenes out of a movie, but we all know that crashing at those high speeds, you're not walking away from an accident like that.

In many instances, the illegal street racers post videos on line and use social media to organize future races, which at least in some cases, also helps police shut them down before they ever rev their engines.

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