SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Police in one North Bay community have a new plan to stop sideshow takeovers in neighborhoods by suing organizers for pollution.
Santa Rosa authorities say the unique tactic could be a first in California, aimed at curbing the death-defying stunts.
Illegal street takeovers, better known as sideshows, can attract a crowd anytime they happen, and in the Bay Area, it seems that's almost every weekend.
On Saturday night a car was fished out of the waters of the Antioch Marina, and the driver was injured.
Santa Rosa is no stranger to the street stunts and some neighbors like Erika Dominguez don't like it one bit.
"We have our kids in our vehicles, for us it's scary to come across anything like that," said Dominguez.
Many cities have tried arresting drivers and fining sideshow spectators but Santa Rosa police are now taking enforcement to the next level, by suing organizers for polluting waterways.
"Not only is destroying the roadway bad, but some of the environmental damages with rubber debris going into storm drains, polluting waterways," said Santa Rosa Police Chief John Cregan.
Chief Cregan says the city attorney is going after 13 sideshow promoters in civil court using codes from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding water pollution, which restricts the dumping of '"motor vehicle parts."
"We're trying to be creative and use the tools around us. We're going into uncharted territory with this but proud of our relationship with the city attorney's office," Cregan added.
Cregan believes the lawsuits could be a first in California. Santa Rosa is seeking fines of $25,000 from each defendant.
The city is also impounding cars used in sideshows and has installed bumps and traffic delineators around intersections where street takeovers typically happen.
Juan Torres wants neighborhoods to be safe but believes the sideshow enforcement may be too much.
"Anytime that you're kind of heavy-handed and don't provide other outlets for them to use that energy, it makes it a little more difficult," said Cregan.
Every summer, police say they let locals race their officers during the annual 'Top the cops' event at Sonoma Raceway.
But when it comes to non-sanctioned street takeovers, there's a new zero-tolerance policy in town.
"The one thing we want to make clear, with all the efforts we're making, we won't tolerate this illegal behavior on the streets of Santa Rosa," said Cregan.
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