Street-racing has long held a presence in the Houston area. The Tomball Parkway is known for its share of car wrecks due to vehicle drag racing up and down the roadway. This past weekend two separate Houston street-racing incidents made local and national news—news Houston really does not need to be known for.
Las Vegas Raider’s Player Arrested
In the early hours of Saturday Morning, February 20th, 2021, a Las Vegas Raiders professional football player, Kimah Siverand, was arrested and charged with evading arrest following a street race. Two local teenagers in separate vehicles were also apprehended and charged with racing on a highway. Mr. Siverand is 24 years old and should have definitely known better. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the incident. Two other suspected vehicles got away.
Three Killed in Second Houston Street Race
A second Houston street race occurred over the weekend. This one involved a pedestrian accident and had a much more tragic ending. Three people died after 22-year-old Andrew Mock’s Yellow Camero collided with the left-rear of a Black Chevy Malibu during a street race, and sent the Malibu onto the sidewalk into a crowd of onlookers where one adult and two teenagers were struck and killed. Mock has been charged with two counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless driving.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Street Racing in Texas?
Racing on a Highway is a progressive offense that can carry steep penalties when certain factors are met. Texas Transportation Code Section 545.420 making participating in a street race a Class B misdemeanor. However, that penalty bumps up to a Class A misdemeanor if the person has been convicted of the same offense once before, is driving while intoxicated, or has an open container at the time of the offense. If the person has been convicted twice before, the crime becomes a felony. The crime becomes a third-degree felony if someone suffers bodily injury as a result of the offense. If anyone suffers serious bodily or death as a result of the street race, the crime becomes a second-degree felony. The above charges are in addition to any other related charges such as driving while intoxicated.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Evading Arrest in a Car?
Intentionally fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle or watercraft is a felony in the 4th degree per the Texas Penal Code Section 3.034. It carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $10,000.00 fine. If it is a repeat offense then it becomes a third-degree felony carrying a penalty of 2-10 years in jail and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
What Are the Penalties for Manslaughter and Reckless Driving?
The Texas Penal Code makes manslaughter a second-degree felony with a fine of up to $10,000.00 and jail time of 2-20 years. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor with a fine of $200.00 and up to 30 days in jail.
Regardless of what, if any, crimes the above drivers may be found guilty of, there are other repercussions of their actions. Sone of the other repercussions include:
- Having to live with the psychological trauma of causing another’s death
- Embarrassment from having to miss work/school while in jail
- Civil liability for personal injury and property damage caused by the driver
- Loss of their driver’s license
- Loss of a job and/or team membership due to a criminal record.
In short, the Houston street racing epidemic has the potential to ruin many lives.