Heather Crichton heard the screeching tires. She heard the fireworks. She heard the roar of a crowd.
Unfortunately, so did her scared dog Leo. Crichton said Leo jumped out a screened second-story window in her apartment to escape the noise coming from the intersection of 30th Street and Madison Sunday night.
Video taken by a North Park resident showed hundreds of people standing around the intersection as cars screeched donuts in the middle of it. Some people stood inside the circling cars. Someone was setting off fireworks.
“I didn’t know, honestly, at first, what was going on,” said Crichton.
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The San Diego Police Department calls them “intersection takeovers."
“I don’t think any of these people understand the ripple effects of what their actions cause,” sighed Crichton. “But in the meantime, my world’s devastated.”
Crichton said Leo was frightened by the loud noises and bolted out the window. She said the 7-year-old found his way onto Interstate-805 and was hit by a car and died.
“He wanted away from it as best and as fast as he could,” Crichton said, as tears welled up behind her sunglasses. “He was a really special dog ... Leo was so regal. He was so mild-mannered.”
SDPD has said these intersection takeovers are growing across the country. Cars block off entire intersections and hundreds of people circle around as cars tear around in circles. It happened last week in Mission Valley. Another one was caught on camera roughly a year ago along the Embarcadero.
San Diego Takeovers
“I’m angry when I think about what caused this because it’s senseless,” said Crichton. “What’s the need? What do you get from it? What are you gaining?”
SDPD said people caught doing any form of illegal street racing can be arrested and have their vehicles impounded. The punishment is worse if someone is injured or killed.