Illegal street drifting at Birmingham City Walk

Illegal street racing near City Walk
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham’s newest attraction, City Walk, had been open less than a month when the newly painted road was marred with skid marks from an illegal car exhibition.

A bystander gave WBRC video of cars drifting on 23rd Street North over the weekend. The witness said officials with BJCC and the Birmingham Police Department were there and did not stop it.

Our attempts to reach BPD for comment were not returned before this story was published.

WBRC spoke to Chief Scott Thurmond earlier Monday about another case involving street racing that ended in the death of a teenage pedestrian and he said illegal street exhibits are a tough crime to police.

“A traffic offense officer has to witness it take place. It just takes a few seconds and we miss it then we’ve missed our opportunity to take enforcement action against those individuals,” Chief Thurmond explained.

WBRC is working to find out if any citations were given for the imports event at City Walk. Birmingham council member and head of the transportation committee, Darrell O’Quinn, said seeing this was disappointing.

“I know what that law enforcement is allowed a certain degree of discretion with how they carry out their tasks but I don’t think this was a circumstance where it was appropriate for them to allow that to happen, if indeed that is the case as has been alleged,” O’Quinn said.

City Walk is managed by the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

WBRC sent the BJCC a picture of their security personnel watching the illegal event.

Executive Director, Tad Snider, sent this statement:

“This activity appears to be individuals operating their vehicles in City of Birmingham streets and violating numerous traffic laws and ordinances by operating their vehicle in a very unsafe manner, especially given the area and pedestrians on the sidewalks.

Security personnel from the BJCC are not police officers. They have no authority or jurisdiction in city streets, and this activity is clearly talking place in a city street by individuals that know they are violating traffic ordinances.

Our security team unfortunately is limited in this case to utilizing their radio or phone to communicate with our dispatch and then calling the Birmingham Police Department for assistance.

It is clear this illegal and unsafe operation of a motor vehicle on any city street, including streets in and around the City Walk and BJCC area is unsafe, unacceptable and must be dealt with appropriately.

We will be following up this matter in further conversations with the City and Birmingham Police Department.”

O’Quinn said not only are illegal car exhibits dangerous, they are also a nuisance due to noise complaints and unsightly damage left behind.

“It cost money to paint the streets,” O’Quinn said. “But even more than those issues, from a government standpoint, it is about public safety.”

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