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Proposed city ordinance would create stricter penalties for drag racing behind Lake Charles Civic Center

Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - As the sun sets on the lakefront, the Lake Charles Civic Center becomes an arena for what some witnesses call the “car show.”

“Revving up engines, mufflers, screaming, hooting, and hollering, a lot of people obviously getting drunk.” That’s how Henry Gil, a witness to the “show” would describe it.

Gil says the reckless driving isn’t the only problem.

“I’ve actually been to the car show once, and I’ll never go again because it was a very odd experience,” says Gil. “[There was] definitely a lot of drugs, a lot of drinking and no COVID-19 protocols.”

Gil goes on to say he’s witnessed solicitation.

“Just a lot of women trying to do prostitution. They would just say ‘Hey do you wanna go to the back of your truck and have some fun?’ And stuff like that for money,” claims Gil.

“We [LCPD] have not received any reports regarding to any prostitution or anything,” says Deputy Chief Franklin Fondel of the Lake Charles Police Department. “The complaints that we have been receiving is regarding to the volume of speeding vehicles and vehicles in the parking lot drag racing.”

The speed limit behind the Civic Center is posted at 25 miles per hour, but some people are putting the pedal to the metal. Witnesses say some drivers are tripling that speed limit and creating visible marks on the road.

“There’s just tire marks all over the grounds, and it’s just not presentable,” says witness, Chad Moreno.

Civic Center drag racing.
Civic Center drag racing.(chad moreno | kplc)
Civic Center drag racing.
Civic Center drag racing.(chad moreno | kplc)

A new ordinance has been introduced before Lake Charles City Council regarding reckless driving on the grounds and enforcing stricter penalties for violators.

“That will be discussed tonight, regarding having repeat offenders that go out and be cited more than one time for the same event,” says Chief Deputy Fondel.

“I get it, the kids are probably going to do this somewhere,” says Moreno. “But they’ve just picked the most prominent part of our city and our downtown lakefront to do this. And that’s just not the place for it.”

The newly proposed ordinance will be discussed in the upcoming council meeting on April 21.

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