NewsPinellas County


Neighbors say drag racers on Gandy Boulevard are 'getting out of control'

Posted at 2:06 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 19:14:42-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — People living near Gandy Boulevard on both the Tampa and St. Petersburg sides of the bridge say drag racing is a growing issue.

Over the weekend, a handful of people in St. Petersburg complained to St. Pete Police about drag racers "taking the Gandy Boulevard bridge by storm."

They worry the racing drivers will end up hitting an innocent driver or pedestrian if nothing is done to stop the problem.

They also wonder if an ongoing crackdown by Clearwater Police Department on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is encouraging more drag racers to move the dangerous game to the Gandy Bridge.

On Wednesday alone, Clearwater Police and FHP troopers pulled over 80 drivers for speeding, 24 drivers for failing to obey the Move Over Law, five drivers for other moving violations and 26 for non-moving violations.

In all, they issued 64 warnings and made seven arrests.

The enforcement is ongoing and is focused on both U.S. 19 and the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

One problem with drag racing along the major bridges like the Howard Frankland, Courtney Campbell and the Gandy Bridge, are the changing jurisdictions.

Officers also have to catch the violation in order to write a ticket or make an arrest.

Back in June, Tampa Police told ABC Action News "it gets to be a sort of cat and mouse game, as they race on one bridge, then another."

FHP says they are currently working with local jurisdictions to plan crack downs along Gandy Boulevard as well.

Michael Campo and his wife Deborah Steen desperately hope something is done soon. “It seems like law enforcement can’t get their act together to see who is going to take care of the problem,” Campo explained. He called authorities this past weekend after yet another instance of drag racing.

The married couple lives 5 stories up above Gandy Boulevard in the Grande Verandahs On The Bay Condos. Over the weekend, Campo was awoken by backfiring engines. "It sounded just like gunshots!" he exclaimed.

“It happens night after night after night,” Steen added.

From their balcony, the couple has watched speeding cars race by on.

“It’s crazy that the drag racers have so little regard for life,” Campo said with a sigh.

Both Campo and Steen are desperate for the dangerous game to end.

“God forbid you’re on the bridge and these guys are speeding behind you,” Campo added with frustration.