By DONNA BETH WEILENMAN
Martinez has been getting its share of “sideshow” drivers, but nothing that compares to the Oct. 24-25 impoundment of 17 vehicles and the citing of their drivers for engaging in speed contests in a parking lot near Franklin Golf Course off California State Highway 4, Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal said.
That incident was spotted by a CHP officer who was driving on Highway 4 about 11:55 p.m. Oct. 24, Officer John Fransen said. Backup units arrived, and the patrol cars blocked the vehicle demonstrators’ exit.
Fransen said the young men, most of whom lived in nearby communities, had been burning their tires and spinning their vehicles in the driveway, but unlike some “sideshows,” they didn’t interfere with other traffic.
“We have not had any reports even close (to) the level of what CHP found the other day,” Sappal said.
“We have gotten some complaints about sideshow activity at the marina, and we have been providing patrols to the area,” he said.
“Often, we get clusters of young adults that hang out in the marina area that seem to have a proclivity for burning rubber when they leave,” he said. “We have been providing patrols during the night to address the behavior.”
Sappal said he and his officers need the public’s help if the sideshow incidents are to be reduced in Martinez.
“It always helps when people can call us when the activity, or suspected activity, is taking place, as we can be in a position to respond. When we get complaints after the fact, it is difficult to pinpoint, as the activity does not always take place when the officers are patrolling the area.”
He said those who see or hear any reckless driving may call Martinez Police dispatch, 925-372-3440. “It would be a huge help to us,” Sappal said.