'Sideshow' spectators in San Jose could face jail time

Image 1 of 2

Spectators could now face jail time for showing up to a sideshow in San Jose. 

A vote Tuesday by San Jose City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that prohibits people from even being spectators at the illegal street racing and stunt shows. 

Councilmembers were in favor of this ordinance highlighting the sheer number of deaths that have occurred during sideshow events, where large crowds often serve as human guardrails. 

The vote could mean the city would start punishing people, with fines or even jail time, who watch and witness these dangerous sideshow events.

"I'm very supportive of it because it takes away the motivation of people who want to be reckless with their vehicles. I think if you take away the motivation, these things will subside and hopefully no one will get killed anymore," said Councilman Johnny Khamis. 

Two men accused of street racing were arrested last October when their truck slammed into a yellow cab in San Jose. The 49-year-old female passenger inside the taxi was ejected and died.  

"The last four years we've lost six young people as a result of street racing in the city," said Mayor Sam Liccardo. 

The new ordinance is said to be another tool for police to prevent sideshows by targeting the people who potentially perpetuate, exploit and participate in the illegal activity. 

Cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Ontario and Sacramento have already adopted similar spectator ordinances. 

Other Bay Area police departments, like Oakland, continue to crack down on sideshow activity to prevent these types of out of control scenes.