Street racing a concern in Nashville, councilman says after deadly crash

Several city roads are emerging as street racing hot spots, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.
“We’ve got a huge drag racing problem," Councilman Robert Swope said during a committee meeting on Tuesday.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 11:06 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2023 at 9:06 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Street racing is a concern for some Nashville city leaders.

The topic came up during Tuesday’s Metro Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Meeting.

“We’ve got a huge drag racing problem,” Metro Councilmember Robert Swope said as he addressed Metro Police’s Traffic commander during Tuesday’s committee meeting.

Street racing was one of the issues Swope brought up as a concern during the committee meeting. Swope talked about how before the drag racing begins, groups discuss their meetups on social media where up to 1,000 drivers get together to shut down intersections and do donuts.

Lt. Michael Gilliland, Metro’s Traffic Commander, said street racing stopped after they implemented some initiatives, but they can be costly. He said the racing recently picked up where hundreds to a thousand people gather at various intersections throughout the county.

“I’d say over the last two years we probably have had close to eight fatal crashes that we can attribute to drag racing or street-racer type activity,” Gilliland said.

On Monday, Metro Police charged Patrick Ewin, 31, for driving over 100 miles per hour in a Dodge Charger Hellcat. They said he lost control and crashed into the driver of a Honda on Clarksville Pike, killing the driver. Ewin is now facing vehicular homicide charges.

“What a lot of these folks don’t understand is when you’re flying down the interstate at 100 miles an hour and you’re zipping in and out of traffic, what you can never take into consideration is how other cars around you are going to react,” Gilliland said.

Metro Police said Murfreesboro Pike and Bell Road is another popular intersection where street racing occurred. WSMV4 spotted tire tracks on the road there.

“I see a lot of it at nighttime,” Daniel Ayanlowl, who worked in the area, said.

“So far to me it looks pretty fun and pretty cool, but at the same time people need to be responsible,” Ayanlowl said. “I feel like when there’s a lot of traffic you shouldn’t do that stuff or at big intersections because there’s people trying to get places, especially in this area.”

Several city roads are emerging as drag racing hot spots, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Gilliland said Metro’s Traffic unit follows up on tips of street racing and responds to the scene, often deploying MNPD’s helicopter to establish aerial surveillance.

“We utilize aviation assets in order to spot cars and see which one is the one doing donuts, which one are the ones driving recklessly and then we’ll try to cull those out of the herd,” Gilliland said.

There are two bills in the state house that focus on street racing. One requires someone convicted of it to spend two days in jail and lose their driver’s license for a year. The other would let police seize a car used in street racing.

Both bills are still going through committees.