Street racers take over city streets blocking traffic, ambulances

Street racers take over city streets blocking traffic and ambulances
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 11:23 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:54 AM EST

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Hundreds of street racers took over city streets Saturday night.

They took police on a chase throughout the Metro area, with it ending in at least one arrest.

It’s not the first time Louisville roads have been shut down by street racers. Last summer, a crowd took over the Watterson to race.

That incident led Metro Council to send a message by creating a new ordinance to try and crack down on street racing.

According to LMPD, about 300 street racers took over multiple intersections across the Metro, and at one point traveling to Shelby County before heading back.

Every time officers tried to catch up to them to break it up, the racers would move to another intersection.

Police first started to take notice of the street racers sometime around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night.

“In the area of Broadway and 5th, we got 50 to 60 cars racing, running red lights, and blocking the intersection,” a dispatcher said over the scanner.

Then they made their way north near the KFC Yum! Center, where they did more than block the road.

“They’re also climbing the light poles,” dispatch said.

Next stop, Portland. Specifically the intersection of Northwestern and 33rd, right in front of Jared Miller’s business.

“There are street racers in the area doing donuts,” dispatch said.

Miller said it’s not unusual to see people in the intersection on a Saturday night, but most of the time it’s just people from Portland having some quick fun and then moving on.

“If a lot of people come from outside the neighborhood, it can be a little much,” Miller said.. “One donut is enough donuts for 30 minutes right here in the intersection can maybe cross a line if there’s a line to be crossed.”

After Portland, the racers go south back onto Broadway. That’s when they ended up in a familiar spot.

“The street racers are now at 18th and Broadway,” dispatch said.

18th and Broadway were also shut down last summer when the street racers infamously took over the Watterson. That’s where the ambulances were blocked.

“One of the ambulances is stuck at 18th and Broadway, and the other one is in front of the YMCA,” dispatch said.

According to LMPD, the ambulances were intentionally blocked. Dispatch said there were no patients in the ambulances when they were blocked.

Police said Justin Wagner’s yellow Charger was one of the cars blocking the roadway. He ran from officers but was caught.

He’s being charged with evading police, racing motor vehicles on a public highway, improper parking and obstructing emergency responders.

“They’re moving a little bit, it looks like they’re going west on Broadway,” dispatch said.

From beginning to end, the whole situation lasted around two hours.

The cars moved to 12th and Broadway to what one officer called “their usual hangout spot,” which police continued to monitor.

Metro Police said in a statement that it’s hard to predict when and where the racing will occur.

The statement says:

“Street racing, to include doughnuts, burnouts, wheelies and other forms of reckless driving has no place in this city. We’ve had people killed in our community from street racing. LMPD has a zero-tolerance policy towards this reckless behavior.”

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