JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's a group of people in Jacksonville who are doing something illegal but say they can't stop because it is so exhilarating.
"It's a rush. It actually is really exciting. Just the thrill of doing something that's technically not legal."
That's what "John" told us about his illegal street racing in Jacksonville. He asked First Coast News to conceal his identity.
He explained the thrill of the race.
"You want to have that perfect moment, where it's just like, launch it, you're just all out."
John has been racing for about five years.
"We'll all travel out there to that one spot and see what is going on."
He wouldn't tell us where these secret areas are, but he told us they are often on public streets or in large parking lots around town. He said there are a number of different spots.
"Maybe a handful, maybe like five different," he said.
Racers often refer to these strips as the "secret spot." We get a rare glimpse into what happens in these secret spots from some You Tube videos.
These races usually draw a large crowd, and sometimes take a turn for the worse.
"We've actually seen a girl get hit, crossing the road," John said.
He said the girl was watching races on a public road, when a driver not connected to the race passed through and hit her. That type of danger is why he said one of the most important things about racing is to keep an eye out for the cops.
"Yeah, usually the first sign of a cop everyone gets in their cars and they just book it and get out of there."
"It's hard to catch them because we have to see them doing it," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda said.
Bujeda said because of that, and racers constantly changing locations, catching them in the act is a challenge. Finding the deadly results of street racing is not.
"A couple of years ago on the Southside, a mother died picking up her kids. She wasn't part of the racing, the racers hit her and she was the one who died," she said.
But if police do catch racers in action, Bujeda said they will arrest them on the spot. Possible penalties that racer John said adds to the adrenaline rush of an already exhilarating ride.
"There's no track that I know of here in Jacksonville where everybody can safely take their cars so for it being exciting, for it being illegal, it's just the excitement and the thrill of it, just breaking the rules."
Cops said they are using technology to try and catch racers. They are checking out social networking sites, trying to figure out where the next race might be.
First Coast News