LAS VEGAS -- Street racing is increasing on Las Vegas valley roads and police said it can be dangerous to other drivers.
Enforcement agencies from all across the valley say this is a county-wide problem. While there are places to legally race -- such as the Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- officers say they are constantly fighting the allure of illegal street racing.
Police say drugs, alcohol and speed were factors in the car crash that killed 18-year-old Jessie Hill. He and his 16-year-old girlfriend were struck by a car as they walked on a sidewalk on New Year's Day. North Las Vegas Police won't say the crash was caused by speed racing but Nevada Highway Patrol troopers say the reckless driving by 19-year-old Cristian Ivan Diaz is consistent with what they fight on valley roads every day.
"They are driving way above the speed limit, generally they're making multiple lane changes," said NHP Trooper Loy Hixson.
Police say Diaz was driving so fast he lost control of his car. The car had been specifically modified to race.
"Everyone seems to be in a hurry, you know," Hixson said. He often sees younger drivers who have modified their cars for street racing.
Street racing was involved in roughly 400 of the crashes Nevada Highway Patrol investigated. The number has grown in recent years.
"Drivers aren't understanding the true responsibility of being behind the wheel," Hixson said.
Metro Police say they've had at least two deaths related to street racing last year.
"Many of our drivers are not experienced enough to handle turns and those unforeseen circumstances that arise at high speeds," Metro Police Sgt. Todd Raybuck said.
Shannon Simmons, a mother, sees reckless drivers every day. She fears for her family's safety on the roads.
"They need to slow down because there are other people out here, not just them," she said.
Authorities encourage people to report illegal street racing.
For drivers who want to race legally, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts 14 races a year. Drivers pay $15 to participate. The next race is in March.
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