Clearwater police crackdown on reckless driving puts two street racers to safety

CLEARWATER – Two drivers were caught street racing, police said, in a traffic operation that resulted in a total of six arrests and 33 speeding citations.

The operation aimed to crack down on dangerous driving through the city, according to Clearwater Police, and focused on those busy lanes: Courtney Campbell Causeway, McMullen Booth Road, Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and St. Drew.

The first street racing arrest was around 7:40 p.m. at Drew Street and Hillcrest Avenue, police said. Officers said they found Eric Howard, a 43-year-old Clearwater resident, doing 71 mph in a 40 mph speed zone while operating another vehicle. He was arrested on charges of racing on a highway and driving under the influence. He was held in the Pinellas County Jail, but released Friday morning after posting $ 650 bail.

The second arrest in the race took place around 9:09 p.m. on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, just west of Belcher Road. Landon Braciulis, 18, was caught piloting another vehicle and driving at 86 mph in a 40 mph zone, police said. The Clearwater man was arrested on a highway racing offense. He was released from the county jail early Friday after posting $ 150 bail.

Officers carried out 42 roadside checks and cited 33 of the drivers for speeding, police said. A total of five drivers have been arrested on DUI charges.

“We are seeing an increase in serious traffic accidents, so you can expect to see more targeted law enforcement in the future,” Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter said in a statement. “The race certainly reflects the most egregious violations, but everyone should be aware of the speed limit, stay alert and not get distracted.”


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