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OAKLAND (KCBS) — California Highway Patrol investigators say a motorcyclist who died after crashing into an SUV off of Interstate 580 Sunday night was coming from one of three rolling sideshows that began at the Port of Oakland, with stops at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza and the middle of Interstate 580.
The CHP said the motorcyclist was trying to get away from officers at the time of the wreck.
Around 7:30 p.m. CHP said about 100 cars could be seen spinning donuts as four to five motorcycles, a pickup truck, and an SUV drove with their hazard lights on and opened their doors on the freeway to clear the way for the stunt driving.
CHP in several cities were tracking multiple displays of recklessness Sunday night, from the Port of Oakland to the toll plaza.
“We’re not sure if it’s all the same group or if it was separate groups, but they were almost at the exact same time,” said CHP Officer Sean Wilkenfeld.
Police called CHP to help close down on-ramps, but an entourage found one that remained open and took off towards the toll plaza. Instead of going through, they turned around in the parking lot and then headed onto 580.
“They shut down 580, correct, so they used their vehicles to run a traffic break on 580 to do a sideshow on the freeway. So they close down the freeway and then they have a few cars and motorcycles go ahead of where they are and those are the vehicles that are spinning donuts, popping wheelies or whatever,” said Wilkenfeld.
CHP said it initiated two pursuits, which were then canceled because there was so much traffic and so many sideshow participants.
The CHP said the motorcyclist that crashed and died was wanted for being in one of the sideshows. CHP Officer Eric Thomas said a CHP helicopter pilot had been observing the motorcyclist, who was reportedly going about 100 mph without lights on.
The unnamed motorcyclist was killed after exiting off the Redwood Road off ramp and crashing into the SUV at the intersection of Castro Valley Boulevard.
Police said the participants in the mass sideshow won’t necessarily get away with their actions because of traffic cameras.
“We have a lot of them on the MacArthur Maze; obviously the toll plaza is a big spot where we have cameras,” CHP Officer Eric Thomas said.
Police will be investigating and reviewing the footage to try and identify any drivers.
The CHP is in a tricky spot as they want to alert drivers about these dangerous traffic tie-ups and ask for help in reporting these crimes in progress, but acknowledge these sideshow drivers are trying to one-up each other and get attention.
“They are getting a lot more attention, which is encouraging the bad behavior,” said Wilkenfeld.