DPD Task Force Cracking Down on Speeding, Drag Racing in Oak Cliff

Speeding and drag racing on Oak Cliff streets is putting some residents in harms way.

Resident Louis Vela considers himself lucky to be alive.

"I got up to go to the bathroom and that's when I heard them hit the fence," he said.

Just a few seconds later a pickup truck slammed into the side of Vela's home in the 400 block of S. Montreal.

Vela has only lived in his home for about year, yet he knew a wreck was going to happen eventually. He said not an hour goes by that he doesn't hear someone speeding in his neighborhood.

Vela said it makes him, and his neighbors, feel helpless.

"You can hear them coming. The sound gets louder and louder and louder. Your heart races and you're just like, 'Hurry up and get it over with,' because you can't do anything," he said. "Something is going to happen and it's not going to be good - and it did."

The wreck at Vela's house on April 9 led to the creation of a new Dallas police task force. Since Tuesday officers from the Southwest Division have stepped up enforcement.

In just two days the task force has written 29 tickets.

"It's a big issue down here in Oak Cliff right now. We've got too many people speeding, in particular drag racing, racing each other, ignoring laws, and putting people's lives in jeopardy," said Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs.

The task force is made up of officers on regular patrol duty and some on overtime. In the coming days officers will fan out across southwest Dallas looking for speeding drivers and people drag racing down the myriad straight line streets in Oak Cliff.

"We see (speeding and drag racing) on Jefferson. We see it to the west on Westmoreland and Hampton," Griggs said.

Griggs applauded the task force's effort despite DPD's limited resources. He hopes the group can work until they get a firm handle on the problem.

"They're going to be on it in the daytime, on it in the evening, they're going to be on it at night," Griggs said, as a motorcyclist sped by. "Just like that that gentleman. He may be in for a surprise in a couple blocks."

Vela said he has noticed a difference the last 48 hours and things have been a little quieter. He hopes it stays that way.

"Maybe the message is getting across early," he said. "Hopefully it'll last."

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