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BRPD cracks down on car stunts, charges can lead to heavy penalties | New

Baton Rouge has had several reckless driving incidents in recent months.

The biggest event happened after the Garth Brooks concert on April 30. A group of reckless drivers drew a large crowd that blocked College Drive at Interstate-10.

Since that incident, there have been several instances of reckless driving in Baton Rouge, leading the Baton Rouge Police Department to begin cracking down on the issue. BRPD Lt. Don Coppola said there have been arrests in connection with these cases.

During these events, individuals typically do stunts like burnouts, donuts, and drag races.

He said not only are these stunts dangerous for drivers, but they also endanger spectators who gather to watch them.

While he couldn’t speak to the type of penalties that could stem from those arrests, he said people could be charged with obstructing a highway and additional charges depending on the situation.

According to Louisiana statutes, aggravated obstruction of a trade route is “the intentional or criminally negligent placing of anything or the performance of any act upon any railroad, railroad, way waterway, road, highway, thoroughfare or airport runway, in which it is foreseeable that human life could be endangered.

Aggravated obstruction of a thoroughfare is a felony punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment, with or without hard labour, of 15 years.

The people allegedly involved in the College Drive incident were repeat offenders who had received citations for reckless driving in the past. Reckless driving can result in a maximum fine of $200 or 90 days in jail on first conviction. The second and subsequent convictions are punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and six months imprisonment.

Last year, the East Baton Rouge Metro Board passed an ordinance imposing a fine of $500 to $1,000 for drag racing. The order also allows police to seize any vehicle used in illegal drag racing for at least 15 days.

Coppola said the BRPD is focused on increasing investigations into these issues. He said they were focusing on locating areas where reckless driving and car stunts occur the most to deter such actions.

Coppola said reckless driving and car stunts were popular near Choctaw Drive and at the intersection of Tom and Airway drives. Top Golf on Siegen Lane is another popular spot for these stunts.

Baton Rouge isn’t the only city facing this problem recently. New Orleans and Lafayette also had these issues. In New Orleans, two individuals were filmed jumping on a New Orleans Police Department vehicle during an automotive event.

Coppola recommended anyone with information about potential reckless driving acts or car stunts that are going to take place to contact Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.