Downtown San Diego

Caught on Video: Car ‘Intersection Takeover' Endangers Drivers, Pedestrians

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Anne Christensen lives on the 32nd floor of a downtown San Diego high-rise, but that didn’t keep her from hearing the loud squeal of spinning tires on Saturday night.

“I thought somebody was just being an idiot driver,” Christensen told NBC7 on Tuesday. 

Christensen went out to her balcony, which overlooks the intersection of Broadway and Pacific Highway, and couldn’t believe what she saw. Cars were spinning wildly, doing doughnuts, and a crowd was forming to cheer them on.

“I couldn’t believe it," Christensen said. "I thought somebody was gonna get killed down there."

That was when Christensen decided to start recording the wild scene, subsequently sharing the video with NBC 7. It shows people rushing to the center of the intersection as the cars did trick moves around them. At times, it appeared the cars might strike the spectators.

This went on for almost 10 minutes. 

“Not a single police officer in sight,” Christensen said. “No one responded, not on foot, nothing. I couldn’t believe it."

Christensen told NBC 7 she repeatedly dialed 911, constantly getting a busy signal. Finally, a police helicopter flew overhead and the crowd dispersed.

San Diego police said street and intersection takeovers are a growing problem, not just here but across the country as well. Because it happens so frequently, Lt. Adam Sharki told NBC 7, law enforcement has been getting special training on how to safely stop it and arrest the people who put their own lives and the lives of others at risk.

“We take this very, very seriously,” Sharki said.

People caught doing any form of illegal street racing face arrest, having their vehicle impounded and worse if they crash their car or injure or kill someone.

Sharki said he doesn’t know why Christensen’s 911 calls went unanswered but said he’s looking into it.

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