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MPD: Working to combat increasing drag racing and reckless driving in the city

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:21 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Drag racing and reckless driving are on the rise in Memphis.

Tuesday, MPD said officers made more drag racing and reckless driving arrests in the first six months of the year than all of 2019 and 2020.

A young mother of a three-month-old infant, who was critically injured earlier this month by drag racers, wants more done.

Michael Jones has been in the hospital since May 28. He had to have surgery to relieve bleeding on the brain, but his mother tells Action News 5 that he gets to go home Wednesday.

“Michael’s doing great. He is eating on his own and everything,” said Michael’s mother Chandra Johnson.

For the last four weeks, Chandra Johnson has been sitting by her baby’s bedside.

She has been watching her little one recover after a drag racer hit the family’s car while they made a quick trip to the grocery store.

“Doctors were telling me when we first made it in that they didn’t think he will live with his condition,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the problem that’s been terrorizing the streets of Memphis has now affected her home, and she wants to see more done to stop it.

“I’m just praying that it stops and I would love to see more police out,” said Johnson.

During the Memphis City Council’s Public Safety committee meeting Tuesday, Memphis Police officials said combating street racing and reckless driving is part of their tactical plan.

So far, MPD has worked with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and “Operation Slow Down Memphis” to manage drag racing and reckless driving.

“We’ve also increased our traffic enforcement details, that’s a pretty much an open door for our commander throughout our precincts whenever they can put special details together working with our scorpion teams to address these issues that we’re having,” said MPD Deputy Chief Paul Wright.

The top 5 precincts to make the most drag racing arrests in the past three years are:

  • North Main-- 80 arrests
  • Mount Moriah-- 69 arrests
  • Ridgeway and Tillman tied at 59 arrests
  • Crump-- 53 arrests.

Since January of this year, MPD has arrested more than 300 drivers for drag racing and reckless driving.

However, according to MPD Deputy Chief Paul Wright, drag racing events are being fueled by social media.

“There are hundreds of cars coming into certain areas and there’s several areas that they like in our city and a lot of these individuals that are coming into town they’re out of towners,” said Wright.

MPD recommends if you see the type of behavior being promoted on social media contact 545-COPS or your local precincts.

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