LPD: 'drastic increase' in drag racing reports, press conference - FOX34 Lubbock

UPDATE: Police report 'drastic increase' in drag racing reports

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Update (2:15 p.m.)

Police are asking for the public's help to stop street racing, encouraging drivers or witnesses to call in when they see or suspect it.

In a joint appearance with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Public Safety Monday afternoon, police Chief Floyd Mitchell said that's one of the best ways to protect our roadways.

"When we work together, we have strength in numbers," Chief Mitchell said. He urged the public to report, emphasizing "it may help save lives."

DPS Captain Ricky White said the law enforcement agencies have a "shared vision for safer streets."

"Our citizens of Lubbock are wonderful people," Captain White said, "and the senseless loss of life due to others' carelessness will not be tolerated."

Captain White said the agencies have been focusing on reducing crashes in high-volume areas since last month.

Captain Joe Gilliam with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office cited a chase in February that started with drag racing, saying it exceeded 100 miles per hour. 

"A quick Google search will list a litany of the places in our surrounding community, as well as multiple inside Lubbock County, for you to do this operation or race in a safe business," Captain Gilliam said, "and we would ask that you use those rather than our roadways to help keep our people safe, your neighbors and our friends and families."

The charges for street racing can range from a Class B misdemeanor to a second-degree felony, based on whether anyone was hurt or killed. Chief Mitchell reported 155 calls in 2018 for drag racing and 171 in 2019; so far in 2020, police report 48 calls for vehicle racing, or more than a quarter of the calls received last year after only three months.

Chief Mitchell specifically cited the Feb. 24 crash that killed Howard Wright near 75th and Slide, listing the second-degree felonies against Xavier Montalvo, 19, Luis Salinas, 24, and Anthony Martin, 28; all three are charged with racing on a highway causing death, with Montalvo charged with manslaughter for Wright's death. Second-degree felonies carry penalties up to 20 years in prison.

"Racing has serious and permanent consequences for everyone involved," Chief Mitchell said.

Attorney Ted Liggett is representing Wright's family in a lawsuit filed against the three men jailed for the crash. They are also suing the "Muscle Mayhem" car club, claiming it encourages and facilitates street racing, and the three men were members.

"The thought of an entity, a club out here that's promoting and glamorizing street racing, my goodness, we weren't aware of the extent of this until we got involved with this family and this horrible event," Liggett said.

Through this tragedy, however, Liggett said it is important Howard Wright's memory is not forgotten.

"Howard was a beloved father, brother, friend, grandfather, and he was loved also within the community of, he was a respiratory therapist, and he worked with AeroCare," Liggett said.

Original story (11:48 a.m.)

Lubbock Police report a 28% increase in drag racing reports over the last year. 

The department will host a press conference Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the uptick in drag racing.

This comes after the family of 69-year-old Howard Wright filed a lawsuit against 3 men, and a car club, Muscle Mayhem, that they belong to. 

Wright was killed in a car wreck in central Lubbock last month when 19-year-old Xavier Montalvo's car collided with his, near 75th and Slide Rd.

Montalvo was reportedly going 50 miles over the speed limit at the time. 

See original press release below:

(LUBBOCK, TX) – The Lubbock Police Department will host a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today in the LPD Media Room over the drastic increase of vehicles racing in the community. Representatives from the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety and the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office will be in attendance.

In 2020, LPD has responded to 48 calls for service, a 28% increase since last year. Due to the increased occurrences of racing, local law enforcement agencies are partnering together to help make our streets safer for the citizens of Lubbock.

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