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N4T Investigators: Unauthorized car show and street racing 'take over' Pima County neighborhood

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Unauthorized Car Show

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KVOA) - Some residents who live near River and La Cholla Boulevard say they have had enough of street racing and a loud weekly car show in the Bashas’ parking lot. 

For months, the News 4 Tucson Investigators have been looking into the street racing epidemic across Pima County and Tucson. 

The N4T Investigators went to see the unauthorized car show for ourselves on multiple occasions. After 10 p.m., when Bashas’ closes, dozens of people start arriving in fast cars, revving their engines.  

Some homeowners nearby told the N4T Investigators they have seen people doing donuts in the parking lot.

While the N4T Investigators did not observe that when they visited the area,  the noise and street racing that happens nearby has some residents on edge. 

“It makes me wonder what in the daylights is going on, what people in Tucson are doing?” said Victoria Katnik 

As the N4T Investigators observed the car show, several attendees approached us and defended what was going on. 

“I am here with my friends,” one man who didn’t want to give his name said. "We are not going out street racing, we are just hanging out relaxing and talking and legitimately looking at other cool cars." 

“There’s no harm to it we are just having fun,” Joe Rios said. 

 “We are not damaging their parking lot, at least,” Christian Dominguez said. 

“Everybody here is chill and it’s the only thing here in Tucson everybody looks forward to every Saturday, everybody is here for each other,” another unnamed attendee said.  

As we were leaving a man who proclaimed himself the organizer of the gathering approached us wanting to be interviewed. He would not give us his name. He said people could either park their cars and show them off or do donuts and drive “recklessly fun.” 

It did not take him long to admit street racing. 

“We go pretty fast down I-10 do a couple burnouts, unknown locations I won’t throw out there," he said. "Regardless how good you are at driving anything can happen your {expletive} tire can blow up you [sic] going 120 down the freeway dude, boom. There’s nothing you can do about it, it is what it is."

How about not going 120?" N4T investigator Chorus Nylander asked. 

Alright, well 130 is my number,” he responded.  

“So, you do it unremorsefully?” Chorus asked. 

Oh yeah dude life is all about having fun and having those memories man,” he responded. 

Street racing has proven to be deadly in Tucson and Pima County. The N4T Investigators have shown you cases when things have gone horribly wrong. 

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said it had two confirmed street racing related deaths in 2020 and “several” more suspected related deaths that couldn’t be proven. It also issued 48 citations for street racing. 

After a N4T investigation, TPD began a special street racing enforcement in January, which it said has resulted in dozens of citations and impounded vehicles.  

Even with all the attention, Katnik said she does not feel like things are slowing down. 

“It’s scary driving in this town, it truly is,” Katnik said. 

The property owner of the parking lot where the weekly gathering has been taking place said they do not permit the gathering and want it to stop.

A spokesperson for the property owner said they “have hired security and were able to disburse them without incident Saturday (October 26th) with the help of Pima County Sherriff’s office.” 

PCSD sent the N4T Investigators a statement saying: 

“Our department has been in communication with the property manager and representatives from the store for the last two months. As of the second week of October, our department was informed that no trespassing signs and on sight security had been hired to let anyone that gathered in this parking lot know that they were not welcome to be there for purposes other than patronizing the businesses on property. 

We were called to this parking lot over this last weekend and deputies responded, which resulted in the vehicles leaving the parking lot peacefully. Deputies were also at another nearby grocery and were able to let people know they were not welcome to gather there either, so they did not stop in that parking lot either. 

The Sheriff’s Department does take the issue of street racing seriously, and we do respond to reported disturbances. In order to specifically address issues in this parking lot, it has been necessary for our department to work together with both store management and property management. This coordinated effort is successfully coalescing and we hope this will be resolved, at this location, soon.” 

It remains to be seen if the crowd is permanently staying away from the parking lot and if they will just move somewhere else.  

If you have a story you’d like us to investigate email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.  

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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