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Drivers caught doing donuts at downtown Denver intersections, aquarium parking lot

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 22:33:37-04

DENVER — The sound of screeching tires was heard across parts of downtown Denver Sunday night as drivers were caught on camera doing donuts and blocking traffic.

The so-called sideshows were spotted at the corner of 20th Street and Market Street, 16th Street Mall and Arapahoe Street and the parking lot of Downtown Aquarium on Water Street, Denver police confirmed.

Monday's daylight showed the aftermath of the donuts and burnouts, including multiple tire marks and empty beer cans.

At first, Matthew Steadman, who lives near the 16th Street Mall, thought he heard a possible shooting.

"It was like a pop, pop, pop," he said. "Your brain goes, 'Is that what I think it is?' Because it's a mall."

Then, Steadman realized people were doing donuts and blocking traffic. Their engines were loud enough for everyone to hear.

"It was loud. I mean, it was kind of almost rattling our windows, and this is a, you know, 45-year-old building made of brick," he said.

Denver police investigated whether the sound Steadman heard was gunshots or a vehicle backfiring, but findings were inconclusive.

At 20th Street and Market Street, the tire marks are just as visible. A woman who took video at that intersection told Denver7 she was stuck there for 10 minutes because of the sideshow.

It's not the first time this has happened, according to Seth Young, who lives nearby.

"To me, it's honestly annoying. I'm just trying to get home," Young said. "A lot of the times I'm trying to get to sleep. I work early, so having cars honking, tires squealing, it's not the best."

Denver police says this behavior is illegal and "extremely dangerous." Drivers can lose control and injure or kill themselves or others. If caught, they could lose their license, pay a hefty fine and have their car impounded, according to police.

"It's clearly dangerous, and these cars can slide out of control. And oftentimes, people will stand there on the corner watching it," said Bill, who lives near the 16th Street Mall.

The videos Denver7 obtained show Denver police arriving and crowds dispersing, but a police spokesperson confirmed no citations were issued.

"The Denver Police Department monitors for street racing and/or gatherings of drivers doing 'donuts,' and for about a year has dedicated resources — including its helicopter — to disrupting the gatherings, while enforcing traffic and criminal offenses. One enforcement challenge is that these types of gatherings and activities can happen very quickly and then drivers immediately leave the area," a spokesperson said.

Still, you're urged to call 911 if you spot drivers doing donuts or street racing. You can also report those incidents to ReportStreetRacing.com.