One of the biggest ongoing problems in car culture is street takeovers. If you haven't heard of them by now, the idea is pretty simple: groups of enthusiasts gather together to block off streets and intersections so vehicles can race, do donuts, and have general car-related hijinx à la The Fast and The Furious style. Sounds fun for those involved, in theory, but these unsanctioned events have are a real problem for cities.
Recently, a takeover in Tolland, Connecticut, made news after an unsuspecting couple drove through it in their Toyota MR2 Spyder. And before you ask—no, they didn't partake in the event or get impounded. Instead, their car was destroyed by spectators. This is just horrible to witness.
Last Sunday, Dennis and Stephanie Sargisian were out for dinner with friends. After saying their goodbyes, the Sargisians hopped onto Route 195 to go home. That's where they encountered more than 200 people gathered for a street takeover outside after unexpectedly driving into the middle of it.
It's unclear exactly what happened next, but a video online shows spectators kicking and jumping atop their Toyota MR2 Spyder, damaging body panels, tail lights, mirrors, the roof, and more. Stephanie exits the vehicle and begs spectators to stop, though few actually comply with her request. Instead, many ignore her pleas and continue to damage the vehicle.
The Sargisians told local news that they had no time to react and that the mob began attacking their car "within seconds" of entering the takeover. The group reportedly attacked the car for a few minutes before clearing a path and allowing the couple to exit. They drove a few miles down the road and called police.
Police later arrested a 20-year-old Jefferson Duron who they identified as the "ring leader" of the takeovers. Authorities spotted a gray Ford Mustang GT that was identified as one of the vehicles belonging to one of the organizers of several takeovers in the area. Duron was arrested and charged with inciting to riot, riot, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and failure to display plates. He was released on a $30,000 bond, according to court documents. An investigation into others involved in the takeover is still ongoing.
Additional reports made during the takeover include people being hit with baseball bats and an ambulance being struck and damaged during an emergency call.
Meanwhile, the Sargisians' daughter created a fundraiser to help offset the costs of replacing the damaged MR2, which Stephanie told local news was given to her by her father. At the time of writing, the GoFundMe has raised $15,635, which should be enough to help replace the car but won't cover the sentimental memories it helped to create.
It's important to point out that this type of behavior is exactly why some cities have passed bills that resort to extremes like civil forfeiture, indefinitely closing public roadways, and even impounding spectators' vehicles to combat these takeovers. In an era where vehicle modifications are under attack from regulators, it's important to hold those giving the car scene a bad name through takeovers accountable.
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