Drag Racing and Resulting Injuries, Deaths on the Rise in Central Florida
Florida State Troopers have increased their efforts to reduce speeding after a dramatic increase in drag racing and related injuries and deaths over the past month. Drag racing and speeding in excess of 100 mph increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily due to the opportunity presented by emptier streets. Now, this increase is continuing to climb, and the results are proving catastrophic for both pedestrians and drivers.
Recent Cases of Street-Racing in Florida: The Problem is Growing
Although the street-racing problem is not new, the pace and severity of it is unprecedented, and police are scrambling to try and control the problem. Last weekend a drag-racing accident killed an 11-year-old girl, who was traveling in an SUV, which was struck broad-side and flipped over when one of the cars that was racing failed to stop or avoid it.
The same weekend, in an unrelated incident, three drivers were arrested for drag racing.
Around the same time, a racing car appeared to lose control, veering off of SR 551 and striking a pedestrian on the sidewalk of Goldenrod Road. The pedestrian suffered a broken leg. The accident left dark and “significant” tire tracks from the left lane of SR 551 up onto the sidewalk, where the vehicle struck the pedestrian. There were two individuals in the vehicle, a 22-year-old named Jose Garcia Santos, and his girlfriend, whose identity has not been released. When police first arrived at the scene, Santos told them that his girlfriend had been driving the car at the time, and that he was the passenger. However, police noticed that Santos had broken glass all over his left side, which would only make sense if he had been in the driver’s side of the car. Police quickly determined that he had lied about his girlfriend driving, likely to try and make her take the fall. Eye-witnesses also confirmed that Santos had been racing the vehicle at the time of the crash. Santos is now charged with a slew of crimes — reckless driving resulting in serious injury, resisting arrest, and giving false information to law enforcement. The arrest report disclosed that Santos has a previous conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is likely to affect his sentencing for the current charges if convicted.