(WSVN) - Illegal street takeovers continue to be a problem here in South Florida. In tonight’s 7 Investigates, Heather Walker rides along with law enforcement as they work to put the brakes on this dangerous driving.

Fast cars. Dangerous doughnuts. And rapid gunfire. All taking place on the streets of South Florida, as seen on social media.

These dangerous drivers put all of us at risk on the road, and that’s why officers are trying to put the brakes on them.

We rode along with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to see how these illegal meetups go down.

BSO Deputy Rockne Arguello: “All right. So we may have one.”

Moments after getting in the car, Deputy Rockne Arguello was alerted to a meetup.

Deputy Rockne Arguello: “So, basically, this is an Instagram posting. It says, ‘MainMovement Fun Run Fridays.’ It gave an address up here in Coconut Creek, where we’re at right now.”

We went there and found local police had already broken it up.

Coconut Creek Police officer: “There were a bunch of vehicles here, different make/models, mostly racing type vehicles. They dispersed without incident.”

This meetup ended peacefully, but others have not.

Shazz Brown Mendez, Taiice’s aunt: “It seems as though it just happened.”

Forty-two-year-old Taiice Davis was killed when a driver left a takeover and crashed in Miami Gardens. A 64-year-old man also died, and five others were taken to the hospital.

Taiice’s Aunt Shazz still can’t believe she’s gone.

Shazz Brown Mendez: “She’s minding her business, and this was perhaps the happiest time of her life. She just came back from a fabulous vacation.”

The driver was charged with vehicular homicide. He took a plea deal and was sentenced to a year in jail.

Heather Walker: “He’s back…”

Shazz Brown Mendez: “…on the streets. She left four kids, and the little ones, they’re going to be growing up without their mom.”

Law enforcement is trying to crack down, making more arrests and writing more tickets.

In 2023, there were 2,485 citations issued statewide. That’s up 191% from 2019, when there were 854.

But law enforcement says the penalties don’t deter racers. The same drivers get back on the road after being busted.

Deputy Rockne Arguello: “It’s kind of like the cat-and-mouse game.”

Take this man, for example. Investigators say Jose Alfredo Martinez Jr. organizes these street takeovers.

A source tells 7 Investigates that even from behind bars, he’s continuing to set up events.

A new bill being considered by state lawmakers would stiffen penalties for street racing. Second and third violations would become felonies, and fines would be increased by thousands of dollars.

Shazz Brown Mendez: “It’s not going to bring her back, but it might save lives. It might deter some people from thinking about it.”

For Shazz and police, the hope is to make the streets safer for everyone.

On Friday, the street takeover bill passed the Florida senate without opposition. Now, it moves to the house. If passed, it would become a law this summer.

Heather Walker, 7News.


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