Teen arrested for allegedly organizing street races in Pierce, King counties

There has been a big break in the region’s effort to crack down on street racing.

An 18-year-old man was arrested in Puyallup on Friday for allegedly organizing the illegal races from Tacoma to Kent.

Kent is going to get the first crack at this suspect. That’s why he’s being held at the Kent City jail for an investigation into 17 charges both in Kent and Federal Way.

And he is a suspect in street racing in Pierce County, too.

It has become the bane of those who live anywhere near certain intersections in Pierce and King Counties — the fumes, the noise, the danger of street racing.

“There were cars that were in front of me that were parked and no one was in them,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “And in front of me street racing was happening on South Tacoma Way.”

Mayor Woodards revealed at a late March City Council meeting that she and many others were trapped under the Union Street overpass by street racing.

“This is not the first time it’s happened,” said the mayor. “But there’s a difference when you watch a video and there’s a difference when you are in the video. And I experienced being in the video this weekend.”

Now, just three weeks later, Tacoma police have helped arrest an 18-year-old man they believe may be responsible for several illegal street races.

“A joint investigation, involving Kent Police Department and Tacoma Police Department, was able to identify a suspect who’s believed to be responsible for organizing, facilitating numerous street racing events that were held throughout King County and Pierce County, to include the city of Tacoma,” said Tacoma police officer Wendy Haddow.

She says that since January, a Pierce County task force comprising 18 different governmental agencies, including the Washington State Patrol, has made 28 arrests for street racing — 23 of them being misdemeanor cases and five involving felonies.

But Haddow says they are not done yet.

“We will continue to focus on these illegal street racing events because they are so very dangerous,” she said.

Bail for the man held here is set at $13,500. While no one is saying his arrest means an immediate stop to all street racing, they believe this does make a dent.

And the city of Tacoma just made it illegal to even be a spectator at these races. That ordinance goes into effect in May.