Street racing kills 2; Milwaukee mayor says "These are criminal acts'

Two innocent people are dead after a street race near 76th and Silver Spring in Milwaukee on Sunday night, Aug. 15.

Police say the incident happened just after 7 p.m. Sunday – and echoes another double fatal street race that happened near 60th and Hampton last week. Community groups and the mayor say enough is enough.

A 66-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, both from Milwaukee, died at the scene near 76th and Silver Spring. According to police, two vehicles were racing – and ignored a red light. One of the drivers struck the victim's vehicle – killing both persons.

The 24-year-old driver behind the wheel of the striking vehicle and the 26-year-old driver of the other racing vehicle were both arrested. 

"Another weekend.  Two more innocent victims killed in basically street racing," said Steve O'Connell, a Coalition for Safe Driving MKE member. "It’s a public health issue. You walk around here and our neighbors aren’t going out after 10 a.m. They’re not going out on Capitol Drive. They aren’t going near Fond du Lac."

Some are using the tragedy to try and force change. Community activist Tracy Dent is starting a petition to promote increased penalties for reckless drivers.

"Is there a need to raise the fines? Are they paying the fines? Are they being held accountable?" O'Connell asks.

Fatal crash near 76th and Silver Spring, Milwaukee

Fatal crash near 76th and Silver Spring, Milwaukee

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson is calling on the Department of Transportation and Public Works to physically make changes to state highways that would cut down on reckless driving. 

These people murdered people. They murdered people! And they have to be treated like that," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. 

Last month, Barrett announced $6 million in American Rescue Act funds would be devoted to curbing reckless driving – with more than $1 million to Milwaukee police to increase enforcement.

"That file is sitting in City Hall.  I want to see it enacted," Barrett said.

Fatal crash near 76th and Silver Spring, Milwaukee

Fatal crash near 76th and Silver Spring, Milwaukee

O'Connell said it is getting harder and harder to comprehend the enormity of this problem – too many lives cut short in the streets. 

"These are innocent victims. That’s what drives me nuts about the whole thing. They didn’t see it coming," O'Connell said.

Investigators say there have been 37 traffic fatalities year-to-date – compared to 42 during the same time period in 2020.

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"I would not even call them accidents. These are criminal acts – horrific criminal acts involving very, very reckless criminal behavior," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

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