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December 24, 2019

Police Struggle to Curb Street Racers

In a pair of incidents, street racers’ reckless activities resulted in police intervention. 3 individuals had their cars impounded this past Saturday. In November, street racing led to the death of an uninvolved motorist.

The fatal crash last November began when a Mustang challenged a Dodge Ram to a race. Ronald Pierce Jr., 50, sat behind the wheel of the Mustang. Israel Maldonado, 34, stands accused of driving the Ram. The pair took off down Old River Rd. Their estimated speed reached a peak of 133 mph before the race ended in tragedy.

Pierce’s Mustang collided with a minivan at Ming Ave. As a result, the minivan slid across the median divider into oncoming traffic. That’s when a truck slammed against the side of the minivan.

Maria Blaney Navarro, 58, the driver of the minivan, died in the accident. The collision also seriously injured two of her grandchildren. A helicopter transported one of the children to the hospital, where doctors uncovered facial fractures and a bruised abdomen.

When police arrived on the scene, they found Pierce obstinate and uncooperative. They restrained him in order to withdraw his blood for a blood alcohol content test. His BAC was .24, three times the legal limit of .08.

Pierce pled not guilty to murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, and DUI, reports The Bakersfield Californian. Maldonado also pled not guilty to his charges of murder, vehicular manslaughter, and three misdemeanors. Pierce remains in jail on $1mil bail, while Maldonado is out on $250,000 bail.

Street Racers Subject of Police Operation

This past Saturday, police targeted street racers gathered in a parking lot on the 2300 block of White Lane. There, they cited Andrew Arista, 21, with reckless driving and impounded his vehicle.

While dealing with Arista, a second driver, Richard Demetrio, 27, attracted their attention as he drove recklessly away from the parking lot. He, too, was cited and his vehicle impounded.

Then, police tracked a crowd from the parking lot to a second location, Wible Rd. There, they observed yet another driver, Guillermo Soto, 21, driving recklessly. Once more, they cited then impounded his vehicle.

These incidents follow community outcry against the rampant street racing in Bakersfield. Chief Lyle Martin of the BPD pledged to do more to curb street racing in Bakersfield. More operations are planned in the following weeks.

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