Social media and community websites were lit up this weekend as street racers were once again zooming through metro Atlanta and Buckhead, including gathering in the back parking lot of Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church to do doughnuts and burnouts in the early morning hours of Sept. 6.
Video provided by a reader of our sister publications, Reporter Newspapers, showed dozens of cars careening through the church’s parking lot before they spilled out onto East Wesley Road and West Boiling Way around 1:30 a.m. Even from the high floor where the video was taken, there is the unmistakable sound of engines revving and screeching tires.
“They were making a huge racket revving engines, burning rubber, doing doughnuts and waking up the entire neighborhood,” the reader said. “In discussions with neighbors from our building and from the neighborhood that we met while walking this morning, there was a lot of concern about the disturbance, and talk by several of wanting to move out of Buckhead if this activity can’t be stopped.”
According to Officer Anthony Grant with the Atlanta Police Department, units responded to complaints about vehicles driving recklessly in the area of 78 West Wesley Road around 1:22 a.m.
“Upon arrival, the vehicles were no longer on scene. The call was cleared and no report was filed. We will continue to monitor the area for reckless drivers and issue traffic citations/arrest accordingly,” Grant said in a statement.
Metro Atlanta has been plagued by incidents of illegal street and stunt racing, which have increased during the pandemic. The Atlanta City Council has responded by increasing fines and threatening jail time for those caught street racing, while also having temporary barriers installed – most recently along Highland Avenue in Old Fourth Ward – to prevent stunts and spectators from gathering.
Local police have made arrests and impounded cars, including the Sept. 5 arrest of three men who blocked part of I-85 near I-285 in DeKalb County to do stunts.
Last weekend, Midtown residents reported loud street racing and gunshots in the early morning hours.
APD has encouraged residents to call 911 and keep reporting incidents of street racing and stunts.