Last Friday, California Highway Patrol in Templeton seized four vehicles suspected of being involved in an illegal street race in northern San Luis Obispo County.
The CHP says the vehicles will be seized for 30 days. The drivers are said to have been questioned and the officers will submit their reports to the court.
Templeton CHP says there has been an increase in illegal street racing activity on rural roads in northern San Luis Obispo County during the pandemic.
Jim Kelley, a rural Paso Robles resident, says he was nearly hit head-on by two other cars while driving on Estrella Road.
“As I came around the corner, two cars were coming straight at me,” he described. “They stopped. They were going quite fast and there were a lot more cars.”
On Shell Creek Road in Santa Margarita, resident Steve Sinton says he witnessed more and more street racing on Saturday nights with between two and 60 cars involved.
“There was at least one instance where they lost control and ran through a fence,” he said.
Sinton, who raises cattle there, says that in addition to security concerns, the land is being destroyed.
“I took trash bags full of rubbish. People are getting out and going to the fields, spinning brodies and turning the soil,” he added.
The Templeton CHP says it is stepping up efforts to catch those involved.
“When we respond to these calls, they often scatter and we don’t arrive in time,” said officer Jose Meza.
Officials say the CHP responds to more than 25,000 calls involving illegal street racing across the state each year.
“This behavior is unacceptable because there are cyclists, there are pedestrians, there are community members trying to get home safely,” Meza said.
According to the CHP, street racing and side shows have resulted in at least 264 crashes statewide in the past five years, including 30 fatalities.
“Participants and spectators are frequently killed or seriously injured as a result of street racing,” the CHP said in a press release issued Thursday. “This reckless behavior endangers our community, and the CHP will take aggressive action to deter it.”
As of July 1, 2025, a court can suspend a person’s driver’s license for up to six months for participating in illegal street racing.
The CHP asks anyone who witnesses illegal street racing to report it by calling 911.