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Fast & Furious: Six Drivers Busted For Illegal Drag Racing In Westchester, Police Say

A police officer in Harrison helped break up an illegal drag racing ring.
A police officer in Harrison helped break up an illegal drag racing ring. Photo Credit: Daily Voice file photo

A group of six people lost their rides after they were a little too fast and a little too furious on a busy Westchester roadway.

Officers from the Harrison Police Department broke up an illegal drag racing ring along Westchester Avenue early on Friday, April 5, arresting six drivers and seizing their cars.

Harrison Police Chief Joseph Yasinski said that at approximately 1 a.m. on April 5, an officer on patrol spotted between 60 and 80 vehicles and dozens of spectators who were gathered in the vicinity of Westchester Avenue near the Butcher Bridge.

While investigating the scene, the officer saw two cars racing eastbound on Westchester Avenue, with other vehicles in line to stage more races.

Yasinski said that the officer called for backup before intervening and attempted to stop several vehicles. The drivers fled, taking the officer on a short pursuit from the eastbound side of Westchester Avenue to the westbound side. The officer was able to box in the fleeing vehicles and brought them to a stop near the southbound entrance ramp to the Hutchinson River Parkway.

The drivers - five men and a woman - are facing multiple criminal and traffic-related charges, Yasinski said. Those charged and the vehicles impounded include:

  • Pomona resident Justin Rhodes, 22, who was driving a 2015 Ford Mustang;
  • Bronx resident Justin Gonzalez, 22, who was driving a 2020 Mercedes Benz;
  • Norwalk resident Christian Contreras, 22, who was driving a 2002 Lexus;
  • Riverside resident Joseph Bartlett, 20, who was driving a 2007 Audi;
  • Greenwich resident Jerrymyah Alexis, 20, who was driving a 1998 BMW, and;
  • Stamford resident Despina Tsartsabalidis, 28, who was driving a 2000 Pontiac Trans Am.
“These events are fueled by social media as well as the movies and reality shows like ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Street Outlaws,” Yasinski said. “They threaten the safety of not only those behind the wheel, but the public as a whole. I commend officer (Rocky) Consigliere for his diligence while on patrol and for ending this dangerous activity without accident or injury to anyone.”

Each of the drivers was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving and unlawful speed conduct, all misdemeanors. They were also cited for unreasonable speeding and failure to comply, both violations. Each of the vehicles was towed from the scene and impounded and the six suspects have been released on $500 bail and are scheduled to appear in Harrison Justice Court on Tuesday, April 30.

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