Antioch sideshow chaos leads to 3 crashes, car plunging into river

A sideshow in Antioch ended in chaos overnight.

One car spun into the river, another damaged a water main, and a third crashed into a fire hydrant and an unrelated car, seriously injuring a woman.

The sideshow was in the Antioch marina parking lot, right in front of Smith's Landing Seafood Grill and just about a block away from the Antioch Police Department.

Police said they began to receive calls about the sideshow just before 3 a.m.

When officers were on their way to break it up, they saw one of the cars speed off with no lights on. Officers began to chase the car but terminated the pursuit when they realized the car's hood was blocking the windshield, according to a press release.

That car eventually crashed at Ninth and G Streets. It hit a fire hydrant and another car, injuring a female bystander in her 50s. Antioch police said that woman was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

The driver ran off, but police caught up to him, arresting him for felony reckless driving and felony hit-and-run. The 21-year-old already has a warrant out for sideshow activity. 

Back at the marina, the sideshow continued. A car spun into the water and another ran over a concrete trash container and busted a water main. By the time police arrived, those drivers were gone.

Councilman Mike Barbanica said there just aren't enough officers to respond.

"I don’t believe we have enough police staffing, and with events like last night we see that we truly have an issue here," said Barbanica.

He said he's been concerned about the city's response to sideshows for months. Just this past week he had a meeting with city leaders, engineers, the owner of Smith's Landing and community members to try to figure out what can be done to get these sideshows under control.

He said one option is to bring in California Highway Patrol officers to help.

"We have no traffic unit right now. We need to make sure that we have enforcement of traffic laws to keep the residents driving on our roadways safe," said Barbanica.

He said another option is getting help from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to fill in police patrols. 

City engineers are also looking into installing rubber pieces raised about 6 inches in the marina parking lot to prevent drivers from spinning their tires. 

Barbanica said city leaders are also looking into punishing sideshow spectators. 

"There is an ordinance being looked at that will at some point be coming in front of council, but I want that soon, where we can hold people accountable because without a group out there watching these sideshows, you don’t have a sideshow," he said.

Meanwhile, visitors at Smith's Landing Sunday were shocked by the damage and tire marks. Some said they fear the danger will continue. 

"It’s just terrible out here. I don’t feel safe," said Maureen Desmond. "We’re moving eventually next year. To get away from all of this."

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