Street racing proved again to be a problem for Central Florida law enforcement early Wednesday, when police say an Orlando man drove into an officer who responded to a call about the illegal activity.
The Orlando police officer, in turn, fired shots at the car, shattering the rear window.
The suspected driver, 24-year-old Michael P. Lee, was arrested on one count of aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer with a motor vehicle. He was not injured and was released from the Orange County Jail on $10,000 bail.
Orlando police were dispatched to the area of Lee Vista Boulevard and State Road 417 about 12:20 a.m. after receiving a call about illegal street racing.
When the officers arrived, about 75 cars were in the area, said Orlando Police Sgt. Barbara Jones.
Most of the drivers fled, but the officers were able to stop two vehicles. Lee, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, was driving a white Acura Integra and stopped, but he did not turn the engine off.
When one of the officers, Rodney Vance, approached the driver’s side of Lee’s vehicle, Lee accelerated and intentionally struck Vance with the car’s left front fender, according to the arrest report.
Illegal street racing continues to be a problem throughout Orange County. As many as 100 cars have been spotted at certain hot spots, said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes.
The racing groups are organized, will move to various locations to avoid law-enforcement, and draw people from all over the state.
Some of the racing groups are so large that troopers have reported seeing food and drink vendors on site.
Montes said parents need to talk to their children about the perils of street racing—just as they would talking about drunk driving. Many of the racers are in their teens and early 20s—an age where they feel invincible, Montes said.
For them, “it’s the rush of the thrill.”
But they don’t realize that a car, Montes said, “is a 5,000-pound bullet.”
(Source: The Orlando Sentinel)By Amy L. Edwards and Anika Myers
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