Cracking down on illegal street racing in Lee County

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Cracking down on illegal racing on the streets of Southwest Florida. On Wednesday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office announced a policy change after the Lehigh Acres shooting that sent a couple to the hospital.

Effective Wednesday, deputies would be able to more easily utilize helicopters, drones, stop sticks, and barricades when in a pursuit. Also, he’s tripling the number of deputies from 12 to 36, on the task force to combat the car clubs.

All of this comes just days after a shooting at a street race, violence the sheriff called unacceptable and vowed to stop.

Lili Trujillo Puckett has lived with the pain of losing her daughter in a street racing crash for the last nine years.

“As you can see, in the back of me, that’s my daughter, and she was killed in a street racing crash at 16 years old,” Puckett said.

Puckett also wants to ensure no parent feels the way she does.

“I saw the problem that kept growing and growing and growing and growing,” Puckett said.

In 2014 Puckett started Street Racing Kills, a nonprofit that pushes for education, legislation, and mentoring to combat reckless driving.

“I think that eventually it is gonna go down. But that’s because it’s going to take a lot of components,” Puckett said.

One component is law enforcement. On Wednesday, LCSO sheriff Carmine Marceno, announced a change to LCSO’s pursuit policy. This comes after a teenager shot two people in a truck who just happened to drive up to a street racing scene their boat in tow.

“We are going to pursue bad people in this county and make certain they go behind bars where they belong. Zero Tolerance is zero tolerance,” Marceno’s Facebook page says.

The second component is infrastructure. Puckett said where she lives in California, the Department of Transportation added rumble strips on the side of the road. They make a loud noise when you drive over them, making it less fun to speed on.

One of the pursuit policy changes LCSO made, Pucket said, is spot on too.

“Barricades. All hands on deck, everything we have to make certain that we win,” Marceno’s Facebook page says.

Because the sheriff says he’s ready to go to war when it comes to people like 17-year-old Armando Cruz.

Puckett’s suggestion is that states, counties, and cities give people a place to go to race around. Something like race tracks or speedways, but those are expensive long-term options.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.