MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Suburban police said Tuesday they are tracking a band of illegal street racers who gathered in Manhattan this past weekend, and headed up to Westchester County.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, at least one person in the group is wanted in an assault on two police officers.
Pressure on street races in the five boroughs has sent the sound of roaring engines and squealing tires deeper into the suburbs.
The latest makeshift drag strip is a stretch of Route 117 just above Sleepy Hollow, in the town of Mount Pleasant. The sound lights, and smoke pierce the quiet of the nearby Rockefeller Nature Preserve as drivers use the overhead walkway bridges to mark the start and finish of a quarter-mile run.
“I live in the preserve, and sometimes I hear them in the middle of the night,” said preserve manager Susan Antenen.
They are not only loud, but dangerous for police officers to try to discourage the illegal gatherings. Two officers were injured at a roadblock early Saturday as racers tried to leave the scene.
“This was an intentional act,” said Mount Pleasant police Chief Paul Oliva.
Orange paint on the pavement three days later marked the spot where the officers were struck. The car pealed out in reverse, knocking one officer to the ground and catching the other officer behind the open passenger door. He was dragged on his back fifty feet.
Either officer could have been killed, officials said.
“One officer had his bulletproof vest on, and his gun belt was actually torn in two and it was able to release him from under the door of the vehicle,” Oliva said.
Both officers were out of the hospital Tuesday and were recovering at home.
The suspect was described as a man in his late 20s or early 30s, heavy set, with a shaved head and black-rimmed glasses. Police said they believe he is known in the street-racing community, and when he is located he will be charged with attempted murder.
Multiple departments are helping with the search.