CHP introduces specialized training to combat illegal SJ street racing, sideshows

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose residents say high-pitched screeching sounds, the smell of burning rubber, and tire tracks along neighborhood streets mean one of two things -- their community was the stage for either an illegal street race or sideshow.

"It's hard to sleep if it's happening at night," Marilyn Rodgers said as she pointed to tire tracks on her residential street.

The long-time San Jose neighbor said the events now happen at any time of day.

"It used to always be in the evening or at night. Now, they're doing it during the daytime," she explained. "Like, 4-o'clock in the afternoon is a favorite time."

RELATED: Police officer injured in sideshow, operation targeting racers intensifies

The California Highway Patrol and other agencies are working together to stop these sporadic street races and sideshows. New this year, CHP introduced specialized training for its officers. Each training session is focused on combating the problem on our freeways.

"It's going to continue on until every officer in the California Highway Patrol, especially in San Jose, the area has that training," Officer Alicia Moreno told ABC7 News.

She explained the most recent street racing training happened just last week in Gilroy. Beyond that training effort, area agencies have plans to meet bi-quarterly in an effort to put the breaks on the bad habit.

Currently, the meetings involve law enforcement and neighbors. Though, in the future, CHP said could also connect car clubs.

"The community is essential," Officer Moreno explained. "Important in helping us find out who these street racers are and preventing any loss of life."

In January 2015, a 24-year-old woman named Kiran Pabla was jogging along Yerba Buena Road when she was struck and killed by a speeding car.

RELATED: CHP says motorcyclists held disruptive sideshows on Bay Area bridges

San Jose Police initially purported the two drivers may have been in an impromptu street race, but the Mercury News reported that theory was not allowed to be presented in court.

In any case, this illegal behavior can impact anyone remotely close to the action, regardless of whether you're a participant.

"It's considered a deadly weapon," Moreno said about cars. "It's not only the participants that are losing their life, it's spectators or innocent victims that are just traveling to or from work or their house."

This is just one major reason why those in the South Bay want it out of their neighborhoods.

"They need some place to go and have fun. I understand that," Rodgers said. "But not a residential street."

On the popular social media platform, Nextdoor, South San Jose neighbors identified the shopping center at Almaden Expressway and Cherry Avenue as a hot spot. When ABC7 News visited the location, there were multiple marks on the ground, when a car did several "donuts."

ABC7 News contacted SJPD about the problem, and will update the story to reflect any statistics released by the department.CHP said its officers have responded to "quite a few issues" already this year. Officers added the agency has been successful in stopping attempted freeway takeovers.

"We don't tolerate it. It's illegal. It's dangerous," Officer Moreno said. "We don't want anybody to be a victim, and we want to save lives."

For more stories, photos, and video on sideshows, visit this page.
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.