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No arrests in flagrant sideshows on San Francisco streets

Circular black marks left on roadway tarmac litter an intersection seen from above in daylight after nighttime stunt driving
Sideshows like those seen Sunday in San Francisco and Oakland litter intersections with damage, like this one near the USS Hornet museum in Alameda in June 2023. | Source: Jane Tyska/East Bay Times/Getty Images

“Sideshow” stunt driving gatherings shattered San Francisco residents’ sleep early Sunday near several intersections, with multiple vehicles performing dangerous maneuvers as spectators looked on.

At 2:10 a.m., the San Francisco Police Department responded to Embarcadero and Washington streets and found several hundred people watching stunt driving vehicles in the middle of the intersection, not far from the Ferry Building. 

On Reddit and in Citizen posts, videos of the incident showed lasers that followed the cars’ maneuvers, as well as the use of illegal fireworks set off from a street corner that burst in the air overhead. 

As more officers arrived, vehicles and spectators left the area.

Firefighters also responded at 2:17 a.m. to douse an abandoned car that caught fire at the same intersection. No one was hurt, a San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson told The Standard.

Shortly after 3 a.m., officers responded to a similar display at Valencia and Cesar Chavez streets and found a large crowd of spectators watching stunt-driving cars, as well as vandalism to a nearby building.

Crowds and cars dispersed soon after, and no arrests were made, police said.

According to other Citizen posts, similar displays happened in San Francisco along Geneva Avenue between Alemany Boulevard and Mission Street shortly before 3 a.m.

Across the bay, sideshows were reported in Oakland at Grand Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard shortly after midnight and along Maritime Street and West Grand Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. Oakland police did not immediately respond to a request for response details Sunday morning.

Anyone with information about sideshow gatherings may anonymously call San Francisco police at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411, beginning the message with “SFPD.”