DALLAS (CBS11) – Dallas Police are still searching for the drivers behind a reckless display at a crowded South Dallas intersection last week. What appeared to be teen drivers stopped traffic at the corner of Malcolm X and Elsie Faye Heggins to burn their tires and cut doughnuts in the street.
“My shop smelled like burnt rubber,” said Wen West, owner of Indie Connections, an independent cell phone accessory shop and local multi-media resource. “What really got me, one of the kids hit a car and I had just said, ‘they’re gonna hit somebody car’. So once they hit the car and burnt off, I was like, come on man, that’s a hit and run, it’s time to stop now.”
West was one of several people who called police.
Wednesday, police department leaders defended the roughly 20 minutes it took to get officers to the area and put a stop to it.
“We have not historically had issues in the area during the week and this was a Tuesday night,” said Deputy Chief Vernon Hale at a morning briefing. “Therefore, congestion was not expected. We will continue to have supervisors monitor the area on a nightly basis while we provide those extra patrols.”
West says he is a proud product of South Dallas. He graduated from Lincoln High School and said the corner is a popular spot for teens and young adults from all over the city to gather.
He said he takes a “big picture” approach to the tire-squealing display intended as sort of a moving vigil for a friend who had been killed by a stray bullet nearby; but said it simply went too far.
“They were celebrating and it just went on too long,” said West, who admitted to having burnt a few tires in his youth. “A couple of doughnuts here and there, go on and park your cars and continue celebrating, but holding up traffic for so long… that’s not acceptable.”
Police are asking business owners in the area to help find creative solutions to the loitering.
West believes a start would be for officers to get out of their cars and make an effort to connect with the community. Still, he is not critical of the police response in this incident– saying, “It’s just doughnuts in the street. How are you going to rush to that if you’ve got somebody getting shot in Pleasant Grove?”
He added, “When they responded, they responded with authority. and they can only do so much… We are short right now on the police.”