From burning rubber to street racing, residents are ‘furious’ about movie series’ impact on safety in LA neighborhoods

In the Fast and Furious movie franchise, it became Toretto’s, a shop owned by the family of the character played by Vin Diesel. Throughout the day, fans from all over the world stop and take pictures. In addition to the usual snacks and drinks, I’m taking pictures in front of a store that sells Fast and Furious paraphernalia.

For the residents who live here, it is more than a nuisance. They say dangerous and illegal car pranks occur day and night, putting lives at risk.

“They drift and make donuts, mufflers explode and spin like crazy,” said Bella, a longtime Angeleno Heights resident. Tires remain in the air and permeate your home.

It’s not just noise and noise pollution. Residents say reckless drivers endanger their communities.

“The risk they run into someone…that’s our problem. You’re putting our lives at risk. You’re putting our neighborhood in danger. They’re no longer at stop signs.” It never stops,” Bella said.

Judy Reines has lived in Angeleno Heights for over 20 years and remembers a time when no one wanted to go there. It happens,” she said.

Police investigate street occupancies across the country

Dangerous “street hijacks” as they are known are happening across the country. In the last week alone, entire blocks of Des Moines have been damaged by runaway cars. Salt Lake City police arrested six of him for illegal drag racing. In Chandler, Arizona, one driver has died at his race for illegal drugs, police said. Near Chicago, a pedestrian was hit and killed at a crosswalk in what police believed was a street race. Another incident led to the destruction of a police vehicle.

Chicago City Councilman Byron Sigcho-Lopez said the increased fines and vehicle seizures had little effect on deterring street racing. CNN affiliate WBBM“These incidents haven’t stopped. They haven’t stopped. If anything, they’re getting worse.”

In Compton, California, having a rumble strip in the middle of an intersection did little to slow down a takeover. In the video, a car can be seen rolling right above.

Southern California has a joint street racing task force Between the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol. It boasts targeted enforcement, including vehicle seizures, subpoenas, and gun seizures. It also promotes weekly events that allow racers to “burn rubber in his box” by driving his strip in drag, but nothing could slow the takeover of public roads.

“We get a lot of violent crime in these takeover groups. It develops a mob mentality,” said LAPD Sergeant Jesse Garcia, task force chief. “There have been lootings and shootings at stores…all directly related to these takeovers.”

The problem exploded during the pandemic, according to Garcia, with 3,000 police calls in 2019 skyrocketing to nearly 12,000 in 2021, with people traveling far from Texas just to participate in the acquisition. Some have come, he added.

In Angeleno Heights, near the filming location of the movie “Fast and Furious,” Garcia said he sees a different problem. Garcia said burnout, in which drivers hit the brakes and spin tires to create smoke, tends to come from individual cars rather than the large-scale takeovers that plague other parts of the city. It says.

“We have direct patrols and are increasing their frequency,” he said. ” [Los Angeles] Engineering is examining the area to see what more can be done to reconfigure the intersection.

“It’s called vehicular manslaughter, but it’s murder.”

Some Los Angeles residents took to the streets last week in protest as filming for the franchise’s next film was set to begin. She lost her husband, Larry Brooks, in May 2020 while away for exercise and never returned home.

“The driver spun out the car by turning it 90 degrees and lost control. After that, my husband had 10 minutes to live,” Piersimoni said. The speed limit there is 35 mph. “It’s called vehicular manslaughter, but it’s murder.”

Anna-Marie Piersimoni's husband of more than 30 years was killed in 2020 by a man who lost control of his car while accelerating to 90 mph.

Because it was classified as vehicular manslaughter, Piersimoni said the punishment for the driver would be less than if he were charged with murder. The driver, who was convicted in April of this year, is said to have already been released from prison.

“He was there from early May to mid-July,” Piersimoni explained. “I think people would cut this down if they knew it had more serious consequences.”

Reflecting on her husband, Piasimoni said psychotherapist Brooks was a “wonderful father” to their two children, who were now adults and had a “sweet and really kind temperament”. . She now wears his wedding ring on her necklace.

“I’ve had a few medical adventures. He’s been there for me every step of the way. Same when it happened to him. We took care of each other.” There’s the old stuff – little pictures, certain foods we might have enjoyed that make me choke and cry – but it’s also the new stuff.”

Piersimoni gets mad when he sees footage of street racing.

“I’m furious. That word in the movie has another meaning: Fast and Furious,” she said. “There is no reason for that.”

Since losing her husband, she’s moved across town, but Piesimoni says she still hears street racing where she now lives. has asked to add a disclaimer to the film, believing it glorifies street racing.

Universal Pictures did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

“Rush, I liked the adrenaline”

Hector Elisaolo said peer pressure, not film, drove him to street takeover. His brother drove him to the thrill of burning rubber and wild rides.

“I loved the rush, the adrenaline,” the 28-year-old told CNN. “The experience was amazing.”

It didn’t last long. When Eliza Oro was making donuts on the streets of Covina, California, he had an audience. it’s the police. Elisaolo was ticketed and his car confiscated.

“I lost interest that day when the police stopped me,” he said. “I had to pay to get my car out, I had to do community service, all of which was a huge waste of time.”

As part of the court order, Elizaolo takes classes and has a meeting with Lili Trujillo Puckett. He will know he is one of the lucky ones. In his case, no one has died, but Puckett tells him about his daughter, who he lost in a street race in 2013.

family expresses anger

Puckett is convinced that the reckless driver cannot understand what he has taken from the victim’s family.

“When you lose a child, time never heals because it’s something you’ll carry on forever. You actually miss that person more. I miss her voice. I miss her voice. 25 year old I wonder what she looks like now,” Puckett said, remembering her daughter Valentina.

Lili Trujillo Paquette kissing her daughter Valentina was 16 years old.

Puckett launched Street Racing Kills, a nonprofit, after a 16-year-old girl died in 2013 when her teen driver crashed during a street race. rice field.

“Valentina hit her head and flew out the window,” explained Puckett, who coaches the court-punished street racer, adding, “All your dreams and your life will be gone…and your life will be gone. We will have them tell us what they have stolen from us.”

looking for a solution

Bella, an Angeleno Heights resident, wants the city of Los Angeles to do more to stop the street takeover, and believes the production company has some responsibility.

“I’m not outright blaming them because they can’t control the behavior of their fans, but perhaps they’re doing some sort of explanation to make a PSA that stresses and says this is unsafe. “When the movie comes out and things go a little crazy, we pay the price.”

Her young daughter is constantly afraid that someone will get hurt based on what she sees and hears happening in the neighborhood.

“Can you imagine a small child being suddenly awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of an explosion right outside your window?” Bella said, describing a common occurrence in her home. “She is crying, screaming and literally out of control.

After so many Fast and Furious movies, Bella hopes the production will consider moving elsewhere.

“This is very dangerous for the residents who live here and they are left behind to salvage those parts when production ends,” she said.


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