Reckless driving is a major problem and it poses a serious threat to everyone’s safety. In the US, according to National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020. The overall number is even more frightening as over 35,000 lives were taken in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
Oakland Park has its share of traffic accidents. Over the last few years, there have been numerous hit-and-run incidents involving both pedestrians and other drivers, cars being hit by trains, and numerous traffic accidents all around the City. As if the regular problems caused by traffic weren’t enough, Broward County has been facing another problem: the drag races, reckless driving and stunting held by intersection takeover crews.
In view of the danger these activities pose to the public at large throughout Broward County, in a press conference held today by BSO, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony updated the community on the results of a recent law enforcement operation aimed at intersection takeovers, drag racing, stunting with cars and reckless driving.
BSO Operation Cracks Down on Crews of Reckless Drivers
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Burglary Apprehension Team (B.A.T.) arrested several members of an intersection takeover crew on Friday night, seized several cars along with two firearms and cited numerous spectators to the activity.
In recent months, crews of reckless drivers have been periodically taking over intersections in Broward County. During these incidents, drivers perform dangerous and illegal stunts like doing doughnuts, burnouts and street racing. These actions endanger the motoring public, pedestrians and the participants and spectators themselves. They also damage roadways and instill fear and anxiety in the surrounding communities.
During Friday’s operation, B.A.T. crackdown operation, detectives gathered information regarding a meeting of drivers in Tamarac. Once gathered, the drivers swiftly moved to a second location. The second location was in the 3500 block of NW 56th Street in Fort Lauderdale. During the course of the operation, deputies witnessed dozens of drivers, including Mark Quallo, Brandon McLean and Tyler Barber, drifting and performing other dangerous maneuvers. Drivers spun out their tires causing large clouds of smoke to form and tire tracks to be left on the road.
Dangerous Driving In Oakland Park
Because of Oakland Park’s central location, these crews pass through the City all the time. The tell-tale sign that they had been in the area are the tire tracks they have left in various intersections on both main thoroughfares and smaller city streets. Once recent incident reported in the Living In Oakland Park Facebook group by concerned resident Denise Smith noted they had gathered in the area of NE 38th Street and Dixie Highway. Smith’s disdain for the reckless drivers is evident but more so is her concern that an innocent bystander that could get hurt as a result of these imprudent activities.
While the crackdowns on the weekend of March 3, 2023 did not specifically apprehend any of these activities in Oakland Park, the countywide initiative aims to stem this behavior throughout the county.
Dangerous Activities Put the Community at Risk
After BSO deputies saturated the area, the group of reckless drivers proceeded to 6415 North Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. This is the location of the Regal Cypress Creek Cinema and LA Fitness. The incautious maneuvering continued in the parking lot and roadway. During the course of their stunting and driving, deputies witnessed members of the public, including young children, exiting the movie theater.
In order to protect the public, deputies arrested Quallo, McLean and Barber. They seized six cars and two firearms from Quallo, including an AK-47 with extended magazines. Deputies also issued non-criminal traffic citations to some of the spectators.
Quallo, McLean and Barber are being charged under a new Florida law, F.S.S. 316.191 that went into effect last October, a law which specifically targets racing on highways, street takeovers and stunt driving. The law affects individuals who indulge in these illegal activities as well as those who coordinate the events through social media, attend as spectators or knowingly ride as a passenger.