‘We will come for you’: JSO makes 5 arrests, writes 70+ tickets during operation targeting illegal street racers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters had strong words for illegal street racers following a joint operation that ended with five arrests and more than 70 citations on Saturday.

“We know where you are, and we know what you’re doing. Your dangerous games will not be tolerated in this city,” Waters said during a Wednesday news conference where he laid out the details of “Operation Decelerate.”

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Waters said JSO caught wind of the planned street racer meet-ups at multiple locations around the city on social media and teamed up with the Florida Highway Patrol to crack down.

“Apparently, they think we were born yesterday and they don’t think we can read social media,” he said.

People from the Jacksonville area, along with others traveling from several surrounding states, were reportedly meeting to conduct illegal activities, including the closing of roadways and various dangerous stunt maneuvers, JSO said.

“These racers and spectators filled the streets of Jacksonville, blatantly ignored traffic laws and put our community in danger,” Waters said.

The sheriff then played videos of the meet-ups, which showed dozens of people looking on as cars did burnouts at high speeds. At one point, the video showed one of the cars losing control and slamming into the crowd. A spectator was pinned to a wall and his leg was crushed. Waters said he was lucky to be alive.

(Watch the blurred but still graphic video below)

“These people have no regard for their own lives and safety much less that of others. Even before they took to the streets, one of their own spectators suffered a grievous injury. Despite the maiming of one of their own, these criminals immediately returned to their dangerous activity,” he said.

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Waters said complaints stemming from street racing are one of the most common he hears as sheriff and said his agency is taking a no-tolerance approach.

“I want to speak directly to those illegal street racers. If you think you can come to Jacksonville and cause havoc on our streets with impunity, you’re dead wrong. Go someplace else. If you live here and you think that you can drive recklessly for your own personal amusement, think again. Jacksonville is a city of law and order. We will keep our streets safe,” Waters said.

Waters said 114 JSO officers were assigned to the operation and one of the arrests made was the organizer of the event. Vehicles were also impounded and seized.

The sheriff said JSO will continue operations like this one, and warned that penalties for street racers will only get stiffer.

A new law that goes into effect on July 1 increases penalties for those convicted on street-racing charges.

PAST COVERAGE: Proposed Florida law would penalize anyone who posts video of street racing online | 11 arrests made, over 200 traffic citations written as part of effort to curb ‘destructive activities’ of some car clubs

“There will be no grace period. Usually, we like to inform the public but they already know that what they’re doing is illegal,” Waters said. “You’ll be arrested for this criminal offense and for anything that we can get you for if you’re doing it. You may think that your antics are just a game, but they’re not.”

About the Authors

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

John anchors at 9 a.m. on The Morning Show with Melanie Lawson and then jumps back into reporter mode after the show with the rest of the incredibly talented journalists at News4JAX.

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