14 Apr 2020

Over 250 Spectators Gathered Around A Street Race Despite COVID-19 Concerns

Despite calls by officials for everyone to stay at home and practice social distancing during the current Coronavirus pandemic, Phoenix Police were called to a street racing incident in West Phoenix, where more than 250 spectators had gathered.

The Daily Independent’s Chris Caraveo reported that the incident happened on the night of Sunday, April 5th, at approximately 10:00 p.m. near the intersection of 99th Avenue and Camelback Road. Participants met at the parking lot of the Home Depot store located in the area. 

Court documents indicate that the group of more than 250 participants took over the store parking lot, established a pit, and either watched or participated in a series of stunts, including high-speed drifts, rotational burnouts, and excessive tire squealing.

Phoenix Police Department officers at the scene report that one of the vehicles, a GMC Sierra pickup truck, had been spotted at an earlier takeover of the Roosevelt Street and 59th Avenue intersection on March 30th.  During this most recent event, the driver of the pickup truck and Corvette were seen performing stunts.

When the police approached, the driver of the pickup truck attempted to flee the scene. Police cruisers and an air unit followed the pickup truck. It was later stopped near Osborn Road and 84th Lane.  The driver has been identified as 35-year-old Michael Valles, Jr.   

Police arrested Valles at the scene on several charges, including suspicion of reckless driving, unlawful flight from police, drug possession, and weapons misconduct.  Valles was later released from custody. He is due to appear in court on April 23rd.

Recently, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety awarded more than $30,000 to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) and local law enforcement agencies to help address the ongoing issue of street racing in the state.

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