Reckless drivers caught on tape, South Bend police chief speaks out
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Caught on camera - dangerous drivers speeding away from police in South Bend. They were allegedly part of an illegal street party at a local gas station and then took off when officers broke it up.
Last year South Bend police were having this issue where large groups of people, normally around their cars, would gather at spots like this gas station.
The issue comes when there’s violence, shots fired and other calls that come into 911 and they don’t have enough cops to handle these instances.
Well, it’s happening again, and the chief wants these people to stop before someone really gets hurt.
When the suns up, LaSalle Avenue looks just like any normal South Bend street. But at night? It’s a whole other ballgame.
“6 hours very danger," Ask Rami Roupy, who has worked at this Phillips 66 on LaSalle for over a year. “Because people are high, drunk and they do bad stuff.”
Tana: does this happen a lot?
“Yes, it always happens especially on weekends," he said.
“That’s every weekend this is happening. Every weekend and sometimes in the week," Harvey Mills, the FOP or Fraternal Order of Police President said.
It’s nothing new for Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.
"A year ago I said something bad was going to happen and then we had a fatality at Bendix and Lincolnway we’ve also had one known crash associated with these stunt lines this year," Ruszkowski said.
Stunt lines like what happened in this video recorded just days ago.
"Race 80 mph in a 30 against red lights into oncoming traffic or hanging out the window firing a gun or surfing a car," he said.
You can see cops broke up the crowd but then cars are seen driving well over the 30 mph speed listing, going in and out of lanes and even blowing through red lights.
“No one likes seeing that. No one likes seeing that. At all but it is what it is and it happens always," Roupy said. "So I am pleasing them I’m asking them a cop should be here every weekend Friday through Sunday from 12 to 6 o'clock."
"Officers are doing what they can," Mills said.
But with the police officer shortage that’s easier said than done.
"We’re about 20 down," Ruszkowski said. "There were three officers there. They were the only one’s available to break up, I mean you saw probably 100, 150 people or vehicles.”
"It really shows them that there are not enough police officers to enforce those traffic actions," Mills said.
"More importantly is when officers are trying to deal with this they are not able to respond to calls for help from anybody else that may need help from something," Ruszkowski said. "This can be easily solved when family and friends say please stop doing that. We care for your life and others. It’s simple”
Ruszkowski tells ABC7 they will give tickets and will impound cars, in fact, they already have impounded one reckless driver this week.
“All the officers and all the supervisors know that this is going to happen so I’m letting the public know this is going to happen. If you drive reckless, foolish, and endanger other people including yourself, we’ll find you sooner or later, may not be that moment but it will be and that car’s going to be on the back of a tow truck," he said.