A crazy scene unfolded in South Philadelphia in the early morning hours of July 20, 2019. According to one of the alleged victims, she was robbed and beaten after filming a street race that ended with a crash that damaged her car and hurt her friend.
Alleged Street Racing and Robbery in Philadelphia
Initial reports say that a handful of people were racing cars on South 3rd Street from Friday night into Saturday morning. One woman said that she and her friend stopped to watch the races around 3 am near the corner of 3rd Street and Pattison Avenue.
They say they were filming one of the races on their cell phones when one of the drivers lost control and hit their own car. The crash caused a chain reaction that implicated a tractor-trailer and hurt the woman's friend.
People at the scene brought the injured woman to the hospital. But then when the other woman began taking pictures and videos of the car that caused the crash, the driver sped away and the other people at the scene beat her and took her cell phone.
Pennsylvania's Street Racing Law
Like many other states, Pennsylvania has a law that forbids street racing – 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3367.
This statute is broad and encompasses a wide range of driving techniques that would surprise many people. For example, while the law forbids at least two vehicles starting side by side and then competing to get to a set destination first, it also prohibits so-called “endurance racing,” where drivers try to drive for as long as possible without the excessive speeds one would expect.
Perhaps more surprising, though, is the fact that 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3367 outlaws racing another driver who does not even know it is a race. Racing includes “the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain… or prevent another vehicle from passing [or] to arrive at a given destination ahead” of the racing driver.
The way the statute is written, this could include some fairly minor infractions and even some perfectly legal driving techniques. For example, racing could theoretically include passing someone on a two-way road where the yellow line is dotted. In those situations, you would be attempting to outgain another vehicle in order to reach a certain destination – the point in the road where the yellow line goes from dotted to solid, again.
The ramifications are real: Racing comes with a $200 fine – far higher than some other traffic offenses.
Traffic Defense Attorney in Philadelphia: Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia who frequently helps people fight traffic tickets in court. Challenging a traffic ticket can be worth the effort, especially if it is a severe offense like racing or you are concerned about the number of points you have accumulated on your driving record.
You can reach out to attorney Lento by contacting him online or by calling his Philadelphia law office at (215) 535-5353.