ST. LOUIS — An estimated 400 to 500 cruising cars stopped up traffic in St. Louis neighborhoods Saturday night, city officials said Monday, resulting in police being diverted from other calls to do traffic control.
Public Safety Director Dan Isom said the cruising and “burnouts” — when typically stationary vehicles loudly spin their wheels — were part of an event coordinated on social media that “drew cruisers across the region,” though it’s still being investigated as to exactly how the event came together.
Police first broke up a large gathering of people cruising in north St. Louis at Grand Boulevard and Natural Bridge Avenue, but from there, the revelers spread and clogged traffic across the city, with groups of cars cruising in Midtown, Lafayette Square, Soulard, Downtown West and other areas.
Social media sites were buzzing with comments and complaints from residents who had witnessed the action, heard the noise and, in many cases, called 911 to report it.
“I want to be clear — the behavior this group was engaged in was dangerous and greatly taxed responding officers all night,” Isom said during a Monday news conference. “We have serious crimes to deal with in the city of St. Louis, where people are really in crisis, and when this happens, it diverts our resources from people having real-life crises to deal with traffic control.”
Police issued around 20 court summonses, Isom said, and there were “a couple” of arrests tied to the event.
“We will continue to investigate the means through which this came together on social media, including all different platforms, and we will be vigilant to deal with these events as they come up in the future,” Isom said.