KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 13, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Illegal street racers add another dangerous element to the highways that run through Katy. They have also been known to race on secondary roads near residential areas. Local authorities warn Katy street racers that they will face serious consequences when caught.
A Katy family car was flipped last year during a street race.
Street Racing is Illegal
Street racing, or drag racing, is illegal, and because the drivers typically race on public roads, they put other drivers at risk.
The Texas Department of Public Safety says, “Due to the high speeds, drivers are unable to react to common road hazards or other driving situations, which often results in crashes.”
“These street racers believe they’re talented and invincible,” says Major Chad Norvell with Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re not.”
Driver Dies After High-Speed Crash
Around 4:20 a.m. on Sunday, August 9, Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a crash on the W. Grand Parkway near Morton Ranch Road. While street racing hasn’t been confirmed in the case, investigators said the driver was traveling northbound at a high speed when the car jumped the center median and crashed on the southbound side of the highway. The driver was pronounced dead on the scene.
Although the FBCSO’s cannot address any efforts taken, Major Norvell says, “We are aware of complaints on 99, Westpark Tollway and area surface streets. We have worked to address it.”
Katy Families Can Get Hurt
Sometimes, innocent drivers get caught up in such events. In February of 2019, a Katy mom and her 7-year-old-son had their vehicle clipped and flipped during a high-speed police chase involving a street racer.
Fortunately, they walked away from the accident. The chase that reached speeds of 100 mph, starting at Merchants Way between Mason and Grand Parkway when State Troopers responded to street racing. One of the vehicles fled the scene, adding to an already dangerous situation.
Constable Wayne Thompson of Fort Bend County Constable’s Office says his office also receives complaints about street racing on Westpark Tollway and Grand Parkway.
“We seem to have more on the side roads like Katy-Gaston and Westheimer Parkway,” says Constable Thompson. “Those roads are usually not heavily traveled at night and tend to bring those crowds. They also have more escape options if police show up.”
A resident of Lake Pointe Estates in Katy said she frequently hears cars rev up on the street behind her home.
“There’s a long straightaway on Westheimer Parkway, with lots of side streets and multiple neighborhoods,” says the resident. “But I consistently hear cars speed up and tires screech. I just wait for the crash.”
“Street racers should understand that when we catch them, they don’t receive tickets,” says Major Norvell. “They go to jail and their vehicles are towed. We’ve warned them on our social media in the past and posted pictures to prove we’re not joking.”
FBCSO tows a car after a street racing arrest.
Reporting Street Racing
Katy families need to watch out for such dangerous activities that occur late at night.
“If you witness street racing call 911,” says Constable Thompson. “Try to get license plate numbers and even record it if you can, safely.”
In Texas, street racing is a Class B misdemeanor with a punishment of up to $2,000 and/or 180 days in jail.