HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) —Car meets in the Rio Grande Valley have been around for years, but recently some car clubs say the police have been shutting their gatherings down.
Rio Grande City Assistant Chief of Police Jose Solis said that teens notoriously gather in front of the AMC movie theater on Fridays and drive dangerously.
“You’re not only hurting somebody but you’re possibly killing them,” said Solis. “You’re ruining two different families.”
However, Solis is aware that there are groups of car enthusiasts who are not the problem, but the reckless behavior of others is ruining it for everyone.
Car clubs in Harlingen told KVEO that they see the same things ruining their events, too.
Solis said that police might approach the city commission and request an ordinance to completely end car meets from gathering.
“It ruins it for everybody,” said Elijah Medrano, president of the Hell Racing Underground car club. “It makes me look bad, and what I am trying to do looks bad.”
Medrano started his car club last year during the pandemic as an outlet for the community. He started ‘Taco Tuesdays’ in Harlingen, but said that last week was the first time they were ever shut down.
Other car clubs say they don’t take part in racing or reckless driving.
“Mainly us all we do is a park and just hang out,” said Alma Perez, vice president of the Rolling Big car club. “It’s a way of life and once you get that bug you know it’s fun!”
Harlingen police said that they want to work with the community and are not against the culture.
“We have no issues with people hanging out in the parking lots or cruising up and down the streets,” said Sargent Larry Moore of the Harlingen Police Department. “We just ask that people stay safe. We want them to follow the law.”
Sgt. Moore said they encourage communication between PD and car clubs to prevent more accidents from happening, and they can continue having their events.
“What we would like to hear is let the business contact us that they’re allowing people to be on their property.”Sargent Larry Moore of the Harlingen Police Department.
Another option to hang out is at the Harlingen city hall, which Moore says is public property.
Another option is Harlingen’s city hall that Moore says is public property and can be used if car clubs obey the law.
Car Enthusiast Kathy Gonzalez said that the car meets are an important pass-time that they want to save.
“Especially with everything going on with COVID, it gives us the chance to relax and be here with these people that we call family,” said Gonzalez.
If you are looking to communicate with Harlingen PD about setting up a car meet, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org