Two teens arrested after street race

January 18, 2011 2:59:18 PM PST
Two teenagers were arrested late Saturday night after California Highway Patrol officers spotted them racing each other on U.S. Highway 101 in Santa Rosa, a CHP spokesman said.

The officers were driving north on Highway 101 at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when they spotted two sports cars, an Acura Integra and a Toyota MR2, traveling ahead of them at high speeds, CHP Officer Jonathan Sloat said.

The two drivers appeared to be racing, and the officers sped up to keep pace with the cars, which were going as fast as 95 mph, Sloat said.

The cars exited the highway at Mendocino Avenue and the officers followed, pulling the vehicles over on nearby Fountaingrove Parkway.

The driver of the Acura, Kevin Lala, 18, said he knew the driver of the Toyota, identified as Israel Montero, 19, and both admitted to racing each other, according to the CHP.

Both drivers also had 17-year-old male passengers in their cars, Sloat said.

Lala and Montero, both Santa Rosa residents, were arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of engaging in a speed contest, an offense for which Lala has a prior conviction, according to the CHP.

Lala was also cited for modifying his vehicle for street racing, CHP officials said.

Street racing has resulted in several injuries and deaths in the past several years in Sonoma County, which has a number of flat, straightaway roads like the stretch of Highway 101 on which Lala and Montero were allegedly racing, Sloat said.

Sloat said racing often leads to arrests, including some made in the past month on city streets in Santa Rosa where cars were going 85 mph in a 35 mph zone, he said.