Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Car. Photo by John Schreiber.

Seven people were arrested and more than 100 others were cited in an operation that targeted illegal street racing in Castaic, authorities said Friday.

The countywide effort was aimed at street racers and reckless drivers who participate in what has become commonly known as a “sideshow,” said Los Angeles Sheriff‘s Capt. Robert Lewis.

The illegal street racing activity is most popular in Oakland where it was believed to have originated.

Thursday’s operation was conducted in an industrial park in Castaic, which is heavily occupied by thousands of workers during the workday, but after business hours becomes a ghost town, Lewis said.

The long, wide asphalt streets attract street racers to perform tricks such as “burnouts, doughnuts, and drifting,” all of which are illegal and “highly dangerous to the spectators who show up to watch,” Lewis said.

Seven people were arrested and booked at the sheriff’s Santa Clarita Valley Station and their vehicles were towed as a result of the operation’s efforts, Lewis said.

In addition to the arrests of the drivers, 102 spectators were cited for spectating at an illegal speed event and released at the scene, he said.

“It isn’t just the reckless driving or racing that is illegal, as the onlookers discovered. A momentary loss of control, which can happen all too easily, can have devastating consequences for both the drivers and spectators,” Lewis said.

Of those 102 spectators who were cited and released, 17 were minors.

“Because street racing tends to be an activity of teens and young adults, parents can assist in making sure their children have no involvement with street racing as well as making certain they adhere to local curfew laws,” Lewis said.

“One of the most common danger signs that their child is becoming involved may include having an illegally modified vehicle.”

Lewis called street racing “extremely dangerous, both to participants and onlookers, with death or serious injury a frequent and unfortunate consequence. “

“There are numerous locations and facilities where this hobby can be legally pursued and not place bystanders in peril,” Lewis said.

— City News Service

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