Seven charged with street racing (video)
By BY ERIN PRADIA - EPRADIA@VICAD.COM
May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.
Updated May 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.
Victoria police have arrested seven people in connection with an investigation into street racing.
Additional arrests may occur.
Racers using both motorcycles and vehicles often race during daylight hours on the major roadways within the city, said Victoria Police Chief JJ Craig on Wednesday.
"I think it's brazen. They take great pride that they can do it in public and not get caught," Craig said. "They are not only taking risks, but choosing to endanger the public around them."
The Victoria Police Department has received complaints of about street racers from residents along Airline Road, John Stockbauer Drive, Navarro Street and Lone Tree Road.
A video taken from a racer's helmet video camera posted on YouTube aided in the arrest of three men at about 6:45 p.m. May 10. The speed of the racers exceeded 150 mph, Craig said.
Victoria Police officers, aided by Victoria County Sheriff's Office deputies, arrested Tannon Miller, 39, of Victoria, in the 2000 block of Southwest Ben Jordan Street and charged him with illegal street racing.
A yellow and black Honda CBR 929 motorcycle was taken as evidence.
Manuel Villareal, 25, of Victoria, was arrested on charges of illegal street racing in the 500 block of East Brazos Street.
Villareal was also charged with possession of a prohibited weapon when officers found knuckles on him during the arrest. A black Honda CBR 929 motorcycle was confiscated.
Brett Williams, 31, of Victoria, was arrested in the 200 block of Ridgewood for racing on the highway. A gray Suzuki GSXR600 motorcycle was seized.
Officers conducting surveillance saw several motorcyclists racing down city streets about 12:30 a.m. March 31, Craig said.
"Officers actually watched these individuals engage in illegal, reckless street racing down Navarro, onto Rio Grande, onto Houston Highway before they were arrested," Craig said. "Officers also seized all of the individuals' motorcycles."
Nicholas Michael Ruiz, 23, Joshua Zarbach, 24, Corey Justo Banda, 20, and Neal Tyler Soester, 19, were charged with street racing and their motorcycles were confiscated.
While men were initially charged with street racing, a a class B misdemeanor, if they are charged with additional racing incidents, the charges would increase to Class A misdemeanors.
When the cases go to court, the judge will determine what will happen to the motorcycles. One of the options is demolition, the chief said.
"Although this phase of the investigation is over, we are very well aware that there are other individuals in the city who are typically engaged in these activities," Craig said. "Not only motorcycles, but cars as well."
Some of the people involved have been identified, Craig said. He anticipated additional arrests.
"Our message is that this type of reckless behavior is not going to be tolerated in Victoria," Craig said. "We will take every means necessary to respond to these individuals who are endangering public safety."