Three men were arrested Wednesday after a stunt that shut down a major highway near downtown Fort Worth and backed up traffic while others did donuts and burned rubber in the middle of the interstate, police said.
It happened about 10:15 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35W and created a backup of 500 cars or more, police said.
Drivers called 911 to report what was going on.
“We almost couldn’t believe what we were hearing,” said Fort Worth police officer Buddy Calzada. “But then we started getting multiple calls.”
Police classified it as a high-priority call.
Officers quickly arrived and saw several vehicles at the front of the gridlock with their hazard lights flashing, deliberately blockading traffic while dozens of others in front treated the public highway like a private race track, Calzada said.
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"The freeway belongs to the public. It doesn't belong to racers,” he said.
Police dashcam video shows two men hanging out of pickups apparently recording video of the stunt, police said.
"There was tons of smoke everywhere from all the rubber that was burning,” Calzada said. “We couldn't believe it because of how dangerous it was."
Officers drove through the smoke as they pursued the pranksters.
One driver sped away and refused to pull over. Officers called off the chase when it got too dangerous but have his license plate number and plan to file charges, Calzada said.
Two others did stop.
Jakob Bunyard, 17, of Fort Worth, and Shody Porter, 23, of Crowley were arrested for not wearing seat belts. Police said they were hanging out windows.
Paul Brewer, 21, of Crowley, was arrested for reckless driving.
Police towed their vehicles and seized their cell phones as evidence.
Investigators plan to review the videos on the suspects’ cell phones and file more charges against those involved – even as spectators, Calzada said.
"It’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “It just can't happen. And as you can tell, it won't happen in our city."