Valley police departments, DPS cracking down on freeway burnouts and donuts

Posted at 8:05 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 23:05:46-04

After a series of incidents earlier this year, street racers behind incidents on freeways in the West Valley seem to have taken the past few weeks off.

That changed Sunday when the Arizona Department of Public Safety says 70 or more racers were reported on Interstate 17. Previous incidents have taken place on Interstate 10 and the Loop 101 Agua Fria.

"The trooper's number one focus was to prevent any kind of freeway take over," said Captain Tim Mason, who has been on the street racing detail for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Phoenix police also stepped in to help, citing seven drivers for reckless driving.

And it's not just Phoenix having the issues. DPS tells ABC15 police departments from across the Valley are burned out from the burnouts, saying it doesn't  matter if it's on a street or in a parking lot--it's dangerous.

"I think they believe that the police don't talk to each other. We're aware of when they come into our city and we make the next city aware of when they're leaving," said Sgt. Jonathan Howard with the Phoenix Police Department.

Street racers are also talking. After ABC15 ran a story about freeway takeovers and a DPS crackdown, we found a Facebook posting suggesting street racers get radios and designate cop spotters.

"It's frequent for us now when we're trying to stop people or capture people that they're receiving phone calls from associates saying 'Let's go over here, there [are] too many cops here, hey come over to this location there's nobody around,'" Capt. Mason said.

Catching the race or the burnouts in progress is challenging because groups move around so much, but Phoenix police said they can be just as mobile because in Arizona there are no jurisdiction laws.

"We can follow you, cite you, arrest you anywhere in the state," said Sgt. Howard.


"We're going to take enforcement action, you close a freeway, you drive recklessly, you're doing donuts or burnouts, you're going to jail," warned Capt. Tim Mason with DPS.