SALT LAKE CITY — As the weather gets warmer, the change in season indicates that illegal street racing activity is likely to return in Salt Lake City.
“They like to go out to the industrial areas that have there — big, wide roads, you know. Usually semis are out there, but during these late hours, I think they get it in their minds that it’s quiet and there’s nobody out there, so who’s it going to hurt?” Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks said after a deadly crash this weekend was attributed to illegal street racing on the west side of the city. “We’ve seen over and over again the serious crimes related to street racing and it’s a dangerous activity as we found out unfortunately this weekend.”
Police say 25-year-old Dakota Enman was killed after making a U-turn in front of two cars that were racing early Sunday morning. The driver who struck Enman’s vehicle stayed on scene and cooperated with police. As of Monday, no charges have been filed.
Officers say illegal street racing has increased in Salt Lake City, and they’re increasingly concerned with criminal activity that can come along with the races.
“We’ve had shootings out at these races, we’ve had rape investigations that we’ve had to do, we’ve had drug busts, we’ve got gun charges, you know, drug distribution, things like that,” Horrocks said.
Horrocks also noted that the department has tried time and time again to "bust" races or expand patrols to try and combat the illegal races, but it proves extremely difficult.
“You may have 50 to 100 cars out there, and as soon as officers roll in the area, they disappear," he said. "One officer can’t chase down a hundred cars.”
Those who work in the industrial area on the west side of Salt Lake City have seen the races and large crowds firsthand.
“This has been going on since 2015. It used to go on on 5600 West with the new development that’s out there. I’m surprised it's in this area,” said a local truck driver named David. “It’s crazy. It’s insane that it’s been allowed to continue and the city of Salt Lake has known about it.”
David told FOX 13 that he calls police on a weekly basis and rarely sees any enforcement.
“It’s always an annoyance. I hoped it wouldn’t end up in a fatality, but it has. And it's sad that it had to come to this because of a lack of willingness by law enforcement and our politicians to do anything about it,” David said. “[The racing] is no secret — everyone knows. Everyone knows, and they did nothing, and the end result that any rational person would have predicted happened.”
Enman’s family told FOX 13 that they aren’t "mad at the street racers" but just want them to "find a safer way to do it."
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Enman's funeral costs.
Previous local deaths or injuries from street racing:
- For the second time in just over a week, teen shot at illegal street race (August 2020)
- West High students killed in Salt Lake crash, others injured (February 2017)
- Man arrested, teen injured in Salt Lake City street racing crash (December 2014)
- 6 treated for injuries after crash possibly caused by street racing (November 2014)
- Police respond as illegal street racing leads to car fire (July 2014)
- Suspects in auto crash questioned for street racing (July 2012)