Illegal street racing has become a chronic problem in Dallas in recent years, driven by its growing popularity online and an understaffed Dallas Police Department that often lacks available units to send to break up the fast moving gatherings.
On Saturday night, the latest such gathering formed at the intersection of Columbia and Munger, not far from the home of Zahra Darwish.
“There’s people that I saw sitting on top of the cars filming,” said Darwish, who recorded the gathering from her front porch. “I’m just waiting for someone to crash into my home, I just think it is a matter of time.”
Darwish said she and others called 911 but the racing continued for nearly 30 minutes, with the intersection completely shut down.
According to Dallas Police, the first 911 call came in at 11:31 p.m. and the first officers were dispatched at 11:45 p.m., arriving on the scene at 11:47 p.m. Police said no one was at the location when they arrived.
A Dallas Police Department spokesperson said the 14-minute difference between the 911 call and the dispatch of an officer was because “racing/speeding calls are priority 2 calls and it was assigned to the next available unit.”
Darwish said she was increasingly concerned and frustrated by the city and police departments’ inability to control the street racing problem.
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“I think we should be given safety and be able to walk outside no matter which neighborhood we live in,” she said.
The Saturday incident came a day after a woman was killed and a man critically injured in a crash involving a driver who had been racing, police said.
The woman, who had been a passenger, was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, where she died. She was identified as Maria Escobedo, 68, by the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office. The man, who had been driving, is in critical condition at Baylor.
Police said Lee Darion Lucas had been racing his charger against Reginald Bernard Manning's Ford Crown Victoria down Lake June at a high speed when he hit the van.
Lucas, 29, had minor injuries and was briefly hospitalized. He and Manning, 27, have been booked into the Dallas County jail.
Both men have been charged with two counts of racing on a highway causing serious bodily injury, according to jail records. Bail has been set at a total of $125,000 for each man.