WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. – The Wheat Ridge Police Department, along with four other law enforcement agencies, broke up a massive street racing event that police said got out of hand Friday evening.
Police started getting reports of the gathering after the street racers began causing several traffic issues and accidents in the area of 44th Avenue and Kipling Street. They were also trying to close 44th Avenue to through traffic, according to the Wheat Ridge Police Department.
The crowd, estimated at over 500 vehicles and more than 1,200 people, was becoming hostile toward police and were refusing to leave. At one point, police said, beer bottles were thrown toward a marked patrol car.
Lakewood and Arvada Police Departments, along with the Colorado State Patrol and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, were all called to support Wheat Ridge PD in breaking up the crowds.
Police made an arrest for hit-and-run, but there were no injuries in that crash. The organizer of the event was contacted by the police department.
Denver7 spoke with the business owner of the car shop where the event was held.
"It's weekly car meets that's been going on for ten years now," said Nicholas 'Qlutch' Baracz, who was at the event Friday night. "It's my business that we held it at, but honestly I think this whole situation was blown out of proportion."
"There was no street racing at all," said Brandon 'Uncle' Nguyen. "We don't allow that at all. This was just car meet up where we all come together and show off their [sic] cars."
Nguyen and Baracz said the group never tried to close off the streets or attempt to street race.
"There was no street racing, there was no sanctions and nobody had any intentions of doing shifting down the street," Baracz said.
The group gave Denver7 video of the event that happened Friday night, and Nguyen acknowledged that traffic was a little backed up.
"There was so much traffic moving around and people trying to turn into lots and find parking," Nguyen said. "That most certainly slowed down traffic. It made it look like people were trying to line up and race, but that wasn't the case at all."
Both Nguyen and Baracz said both sides could learn from this, even though no injuries were reported.
"I think a sanction spot that people can hang out for free is fine," Baracz said. "I know RTD doesn't like it but those are tax payer funded facilities and people have the right to peacefully assemble under common interest."
Nguyen and Baracz said they didn't see any accidents or people being hostile toward police but did acknowledge there could have been some bad people not following their rules of a car meet up.
According to Nguyen, the group does not allow racing, alcohol, donuts or burn-outs.