A large sideshow demonstration involving as many as 200 vehicles led California Highway Patrol and sheriff’s deputies to pursue participants in at least three different parts of North Highlands and North Sacramento on Saturday.
Two suspects were ultimately arrested following at least three individual pursuits, CHP North Sacramento spokesman Officer Mike Zerfas said. Five vehicles were impounded and about a dozen citations were issued, he said.
The large sideshow was first reported near Watt Avenue and Larchmont Drive in North Highlands with about 100 vehicles involved at that point, Zerfas said. Authorities started receiving multiple phone calls around 9:20 p.m.
“Spinning donuts and burnouts, that kind of stuff,” Zerfas said.
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As authorities arrived on scene, one of the drivers fled northbound on Larchmont and ended up colliding with a parked vehicle and a fence, Zerfas said. That driver was taken into custody, according to Zerfas.
CHP squad cars and helicopters, along with Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies, responded to the initial sideshow, but when the North Highlands show was broken up, participants relocated to Del Paso Heights near Grant High School, Zerfas said.
They were chased out of that spot “fairly quickly,” Zerfas said, but relocated a second time to North Market Drive near the Promenade shopping center. By this point, the sideshow had grown to about 200 vehicles, the CHP spokesman said.
At one point, three dirtbikes were driving the wrong way down Interstate 80 before they exited at Arena Boulevard and split up. Zerfas said one of the bikes was chased by car, but the officer gave up when it became too dangerous to pursue.
Another dirtbiker was tracked by helicopter as he pulled up to a residence – apparently a friend’s house, possibly believing that he had lost the police tail, Zerfas said. That suspect was located and arrested.
The entire incident lasted at least two hours. The sideshow became so large that every unit of CHP’s North Sacramento office was responding to it, and CHP had to pull in backup from the South Sacramento office, Zerfas said.
“It’s a huge demand on resources,” he said.
Zerfas said sideshows happen almost every weekend in Sacramento, but they are usually much smaller than Saturday’s demonstration. The intersection at Watt Avenue and Larchmont Drive is not a common spot for them, Zerfas said, but the Natomas marketplace area is a very frequent location.
CHP officers patrol known sideshow hotspots when possible, Zerfas said. Sideshows are most common on the weekends.
“They’re putting themselves at risk, other people, passengers, spectators. It’s extremely dangerous, and CHP – we don’t tolerate that.”
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