HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Illegal drag racing and dirt bike riding has been a growing problem in western Massachusetts. Over the weekend, Western Mass News caught on video dozens of cars speeding through an intersection in Holyoke and three in the morning.
“Running a red light is dangerous for many different reasons, for many different reasons,” said Alphonso Cintron, who works in Holyoke.
At 3:20 a.m. on Sunday, Western Mass News captured cell phone video of dozens and dozens of cars drag racing and running red lights through the intersection of Whiting Farms Road, near the Holyoke Mall. We showed the video to Cintron and he was shocked.
“You have people coming off the highway, it’s a very dangerous intersection,” Cintron added.
Western Mass News wanted to know what is being done on the city level to stop this. We sent the video to Holyoke Mayor Terence Murphy.
“I did get a chance to see the video and that was about 15 or 20 cars and they certainly seem to be planning some mischievous activity,” Murphy said.
Right now, in the Bay State, the punishment for drag racing for those 18 and older is up to two-and-a-half years behind bars, a minimum fine of $1,000, and license suspension.
After seeing the video, Murphy hopes to work with city leaders to increase the penalties.
“If it were up to me, I would try to figure out a way to stop them right there, we ticket them, we take their bike or in this case vehicle. Certainly, the fines should be as maximum that they can be. We shouldn’t be kind, there should be no warning. It should be you've done it and you should pay the fine,” Murphy explained.
Communities across western Massachusetts are working together to combat this issue
“I know our police department has been working with Springfield Police and the State Police and I'm sure other departments. I’m sure Chicopee's involved in on this,” Murphy added.
Murphy wants residents to know he is working on a way to stop illegal drag racing and dirt bike riding, but major public safety concerns do arise.
“We’re trying to find what the answer is. How do we defend people’s safety and still not jeopardize their safety while conducting a chase? So that’s the balancing act,” Murphy said.