Modesto-area sideshows lead to dozens being cited or arrested over Cinco de Mayo weekend

The California Highway Patrol arrested or cited dozens of people for allegedly participating in illegal sideshows in the Modesto area over the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

The agency increased enforcement efforts May 4-6, responding to five illegal sideshows on Crows Landing Road.

The enforcement team arrested 14 people: eight for reckless driving, five for driving under the influence and one for auto theft, according to a press release.

Additionally, officers issued 61 citations for traffic violations and impounded eight vehicles.

Sideshows involve drivers, usually in illegally altered vehicles, doing stunts including burnouts, donuts and street racing. They have been a problem throughout the state and other parts of the nation for decades.

Participants who are convicted in California face jail time and fines and also could soon lose their license for up to six months.

Some cities, including Turlock, have gone a step further by also targeting spectators, who aid in blocking off intersections, highways and parking lots.

The Turlock ordinance adopted last month gives police officers the discretion to issue a $1,000 citation or arrest a spectator on a misdemeanor charge.

Sgt. Mike Parmley, a spokesman for the department, said Friday that he does not believe anyone has been cited yet under the new law. Turlock police got word of a potential sideshow last weekend and thwarted it by saturating the area with officers before people had time to gather.

The CHP asks people who witness street racing to call 911 and provide license plate numbers and descriptions of the vehicles and subjects involved.

“Remain seated in your vehicle,” a statement from the agency says. “Do not risk your life or put your life in the hands of others by placing yourself in the vicinity of a reckless vehicle.”