9.25.12 Park City Car Meet

25 September 2012 by LCPD Auto Theft Unit

     During the week of Sept 17, 2012 the Lancaster City Police received information about a group of automobile enthusiasts that were meeting on Sunday nights in the parking lot of Boscov’s at the Park City Mall. Information received was that certain members of the group were leaving the meeting to conduct street races on US 30 and SR 283 in Lancaster City, East Hempfield Township, and Manheim Twp.  The Lancaster City Police Auto Theft Unit was notified as there is a documented link to street racing and vehicle thefts. Often vehicles are stolen and stripped of their parts to replace or repair parts damaged while street racing.

     On Sept 23, 2012 Detectives and Officers of the Lancaster City Police, East Hempfield Township Police, Manheim Township Police, and Pennsylvania State Police coordinated a surveillance detail with the intent to identify those persons that were street racing and prosecute them accordingly. A large number of vehicles, estimated at over 300, was observed by the surveillance team and they began to note increasingly reckless behavior. The surveillance team also noticed that there were several families with small kids at the meet, including children in strollers. The surveillance teams observed vehicles doing burnouts in the parking lot and racing on the roads surrounding Park City. Due to a concern about the safety of others attending the meet and the public at large, the surveillance teams made a decision to intervene and disperse the crowds.

     The Pennsylvania State Police Aviation Unit was asked to provide assistance. A helicopter from the Aviation Unit responded to the area at the request of the surveillance teams to assist in dispersing the crowd. Marked police units from the Lancaster City Police, East Hempfield Township Police, and Manheim Township Police staged in the area to insure that everyone left in an orderly manner. When the helicopter arrived on scene they illuminated the area and made announcements to the participants to leave the area. All vehicles left the area and no injuries or arrests occurred. Several traffic citations were issued for violations related to driving and equipment violations.

     Street racing is a dangerous practice that places not just the drivers but the public at large at risk of serious injury or death. There are several race tracks in the area that allow people to bring their cars to the track to race. We encourage drivers to race there, not on the public highways. As a reminder, a person does not need to be operating a vehicle to be cited with racing on highways, they need to merely participate in any manner.

From the PA Vehicle Code:

Section 3367. Racing on highways 

(a) Definitions.--As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

“Drag race.” The operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.

“Race.” The use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain, outdistance or prevent another vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long distance driving routes.

(b) General rule.--No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration, or for the purpose of making a speed record, and no person shall in any manner participate in any such race, competition, contest, test or exhibition.

(c) Permits for special activities.--The department or local authorities within their jurisdiction may issue permits for special activities which would otherwise be prohibited by this section.

(d) Penalty.--Any person violating this section is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $200.