Supervisor Ahsha Safai joined Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott Wednesday in announcing legislation allowing The City to impound vehicles used in sideshows for no less than two weeks. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

City could impose harsher towing penalties for reckless sideshow drivers

San Francisco could soon impose harsher towing penalties for reckless drivers who engage in illegal sideshows like the one that recently ended with the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man, officials announced Wednesday.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai has introduced legislation that would allow The City to impound vehicles used in sideshows for no less than two weeks or nearly a month for repeat offenders. The dangerous stunt-driving trend has plagued neighborhoods like the Outer Mission and Excelsior throughout the pandemic, Safai said.

“These are dangerous events,” Safai said. “These are events that cannot be tolerated in San Francisco. These are not professionals, these are not individuals that have professional training to do these types of stunts and tricks with their cars.”

Safai was speaking at a press conference alongside Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott. The District 11 supervisor issued a warning to drivers who are found responsible for the sideshows.

“We will take your vehicle, we will impound your vehicle and there will be consequences for your actions,” he said.

Breed said she witnessed sideshows growing up in San Francisco.

“I know people think they are fun and exciting, and especially during COVID people feel like there is nothing to do,” Breed said. “But sadly we are putting lives at risk when we are participating in these events.”

Extensive tire tracks are visible at Mission and Ruth streets following a sideshow in the area on Sept. 7 that ended in a fatal shooting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Breed said she has been left with no choice but to resort to the “heavy-hand of law enforcement” because of the danger.

Shortly after midnight Sept. 7, a sideshow at Paris Street and Russia Avenue resulted in a triple shooting that killed 21-year-old Cesar Corza of Sacramento, a construction worker, aspiring boxer and expecting father.

The other two victims were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries but survived.

Police have not made an arrest in connection with the homicide but have confirmed that the shooting and the sideshow are related, a police spokesperson said Wednesday.

No description of the shooter has been released.

Scott said sideshows are a regional problem that has been captured on video time-and-time again.

“It is outright dangerous,” Scott said. “If we can prove that you are behind the wheel, you will be arrested.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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