ANGELINO HEIGHTS, Calif. – Chanting “street racing kills,” “studio movie” and “racing on a track,” Angelino Heights residents were upset by the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise filming in their neighborhood and inspiring copycat street racer. took to the streets on Friday in protest.
“These clowns would come from the ‘Fast and Furious’ house and run up and down the street 20 or 30 times before they finally got bored, sometimes crashing into parked cars,” said Tad Yenuwine, who lives on the same street as the little blue master where the fictional “Fast and Furious” character Dom Toretto lives in the movies.
“I don’t think anyone was actually killed on my way, but that’s beside the point,” he said. “To be woken up at 3am by some idiot with a nine inch tailpipe burning up and down the road all night and then crashing because they can’t hold a slightly curved line is really quite pathetic. “
Yenuwine was part of a group of about 30 people marching with signs along the tarmac that was marked with rubber bands from street stunts. While some were residents of the neighborhood, others were family members of street racing victims in other parts of Los Angeles who held signs with their photos that read, “I was killed by street racing” and “Fast & Injurious”.
“I’ve had to deal with waking up in the middle of the night every day, maybe three to four to five times,” the Angelino Heights resident of 17 years told the crowd.
She lives on Bellevue Avenue near the Bob’s Market that appears in the movies and where amateur runners often do burnouts.
A few steps away from the entrance of the market and the doorstep of the resident, the asphalt is covered with rubber rings.
“People who come in here and do this are not thinking, ‘Geez. Let me see. Does this affect the elderly in the middle of the night or small children?'”, said the resident, adding that her daughter is afraid to leave the house, for fear of being hit by an out-of-control car. “What about parents who have to get up in the morning or go to work and go to school? For them, what’s important is the thrill of what they’re doing.”
The protest is taking place in two parts Friday during a day of filming for “Fast 10” — the franchise’s tenth installment. Moments before protesters took to the streets in the morning, a flatbed carrying what appeared to be Vin Diesel’s 1970 Dodge Charger character was wheeled along Bellevue as dozens of police vehicles patrolled the area and crew members filming were working in the corner at the Toretto house in Kensington.
A second, larger protest is planned for Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. in Marion Park, a patch of grass across from Bob’s Market.
“The community has been asking for help and nothing has been done,” said protest organizer and Streets for All executive director Damian Kevitt.
SAFE is one of several groups that responded to calls for help from Angelino Heights residents, who have long complained to city officials that their streets are a playground for “Fast and Furious” copycats, endangering their safety speeding through residential streets and keeping people awake with loud exhausts.
The first “Fast and Furious” film was released in 2001, followed by eight more films in the successful franchise involving a group of friends who race in packed cars on the road.
“Fast 10” is currently filming in Angelino Heights and is slated for release next year.
Two years ago, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation installed plastic bollards at the intersection between the two Angelino Heights “Fast and Furious” filming meccas – the Toretto House in Kensington and Bob’s Market in Bellevue.
However, the road bears the marks of automobile scams.
“We are here to raise the health of the community and bring attention to the fact that NBCUniversal is making billions on these movies, yet has no social responsibility for the results of those movies, not only in Angelino Heights but in all of Southern California.” , Kevitt said.
Fellow “Fast and Furious” protester and Street Racing Kills founder Lillian Trujillo Puckett would like NBCUniversal to use some of the profits from the wildly successful movies to fund street racing education and prevention programs, and maybe even to sponsor racetracks as an alternative for car enthusiasts who feel the need for speed.
The protest comes as the city tries to reign in illegal street invasions, sideshows and street races. Last year, street racing increased by 27%, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The city also saw a 21% increase in serious injuries and a 30% increase in traffic fatalities. Excessive speed is often a contributing factor in road deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.