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APD charges 17 more people in street takeover investigation

A video shows cars swerving in circles at an intersection.
Courtesy of Aaron Crews
Cars speed in circles in the intersection of South Lamar Boulevard and Barton Springs Road on Feb. 18.

Austin police say 17 more people are facing charges in connection with the high-profile street takeovers that happened last month. Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said Thursday most of the suspects came in from outside the Austin city limits to participate in the viral street "sideshows."

Chacon said the work of a statewide task force of law enforcement led to the charges, ranging from misdemeanors for reckless driving to felonies for organized crime. All told, Chacon said 24 people are facing charges — six are still at large.

"They came from Houston, from Dallas, from San Antonio and other cities," Chacon said. "And as a matter of fact, most of the arrests that we have already made were not here in the city of Austin. They were actually in other cities across the state."

Chacon said seven intersections in Austin were shut down overnight on Feb. 18. This led to a crush of 911 calls as police scrambled to respond. The statewide investigation is ongoing.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said his department has been working closely with the Austin Police Department and Travis County District Attorney José Garza, who's expected to formally bring charges against defendants next week.

McCraw said the issue of street takeovers isn't isolated to Austin, and the investigation, dubbed "Operation Burnout," is a statewide endeavor.

"If you're involved in a street takeover, we're certainly going after you," he said. "We're going after your vehicle. You'll ... be arrested, prosecuted, your vehicle seized, and [we're] also going after your driver's license, as well."

Correction: This story has been corrected to show 17 new people face charges; not all have been arrested yet.

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Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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