Combating Illegal Racing In Flu. Meadows
Large groups of ‘drifting’ drivers racing in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are a problem in the 110th Precinct, the commanding officer stated during the 110th Precinct Community Council meeting in Corona last Thursday, Oct. 9.
Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson said groups of the raucous racers are meeting near Meadow Lake, the World’s Fair Marina and Willets Point to careen around curves-and are a nuissance to the community.
They collect a hundred at a time and keep residents up with window-shaking sound systems built into trucks, and create screeching noises from the souped-up cars that can be heard in other precinct’s at the drag race atmosphere, according to the deputy inspector.
Drifting is a style of driving originally popularized in Japan and has been featured in several blockbuster movies. It’s a technique where drivers heading into curves oversteer intentionally, causing a loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires. Going fast, inches from other cars, drivers turn sharply into curves by downshifting gears or lifting the emergency brake as the car approaches a bend.
The local scofflaws use social media sites to coordinate meeting locations and they are being monitored, but the problem is difficult to curtail because the drivers don’t meet in the same places on specific nights or times, Leyson said.
“Because of the unpredictability it’s difficult,” he stated.
Enforcement efforts require a lot of resources in officers, time and coordination.
“It’s not one specific night that they do it,” he said.
“One of the main problems I’m having is some real thorns in my side, mostly at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park,” Leyson said.
The deputy inspector said he wants to close an entrance that the drivers use to enter Meadow Lake after hours.
Leyson has suggested installing a barrier there, which is also an on-ramp to the Van Wyck Expressway, but the idea has been resisted by Parks Department officials.
“I’m trying my best, I’m working with the Parks Department,” he said. “For the amount of cars at night using that entrance, I don’t think it warrants keeping it open.”
The measure to cut them off from the area has been advanced at several meetings with officials from the Parks Department, he said.
The noise from speaker trucks blasts into several communities that neighbor the park upsetting residents as well, he added.
Through coordinated enforcement efforts, the precinct has “written hundreds of summons, literally hundreds,” he said.
In one recent weekend enforcement detail, officers wrote over 150 summons to drivers at Flushing Meadows, Leyson said.
Police have taken racers cars too, but he noted these get returned because the Queens District Attorney’s office can’t hold them indefinitely as evidence.
“They can’t justify keeping it,” he said. “We’ll take it as evidence, but then it gets released back to them … There are times that I disagree vehemently with the district attorney.”
Additionally, because they are mobile, the racers are hard to trap, use any and all exits and can be gone very quickly, Leyson stated.
The deputy inspector said the precinct doesn’t have enough officers available to do the enforcement he would like.
“It’s a very difficult thing to do enforcement wise,” he said. “It’s very time consuming and takes a lot of officers.”
“It’s a very difficult task. It’s very difficult to address,” he added.
Leyson said that calls to 311 help, but asked, if possible, residents leave their contact information so officers can call back and follow up.
“It can take a couple of hours to get to a 311 complaint,” Leyson said.
He advised that the precinct will follow up on all the calls and assured, “if you leave your information, you are going to hear from us personally.”
“I’d rather you call anonymously than not call at all,” he added.
A cafe by Meadow Lake has been broken into twice in the last week, but it is unclear whether any Drifters, or racing spectators were responsible, Leyson said. He told residents candy and sodas were stolen.
Cops of the Month
Police Officers Carlos Pacheco, Geoffrey Bosworth and Jonas Schwizer earned the recognition of their commanding officer for saving the life of coworker Thea Sevastos on Monday, Sept. 15.
While working in the early morning hours that day, she collapsed after suffering a heart attack, Leyson said. Through the efforts of the three officers, she was defibrillated and rushed to the hospital where she was listed in stable condition, he said.
Attending to receive the award with the officers were wives and children of the officers, Sevastos’ daughters and her husband.
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The 110th Precinct Community Council generally meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Flanders Field VFW Post 150, located at 51-11 108th St. in Corona. For more info, call 1-718-476-9310.