TOLLAND, Conn. (WTNH) — In recent months, street takeovers with large crowds, aggressive driving and excessive drinking have terrorized drivers around the state.
A large street takeover happened in Tolland about three weeks ago, when a main road in town was shut down by hundreds of street racers. Some of the street racers surrounded the driver in Tolland and jumped on the roof of her car, causing damage.
Two weeks ago another street takeover occurred in Meriden when members of a large crowd surrounded a police cruiser and jumped on its hood causing more than $2,000 dollars in damage.
Now Tolland residents are meeting with state police and lawmakers to see what can be done to prevent street takeover events.
“They trapped residents and then they turned violent against those residents, so you were seeing an escalation because there are no consequences, well after last night, there will be consequences,” Tammy Nuccio said.
Lawmakers discussed the new law that has taken street takeover participation from a misdemeanor ticket to a felony. They teamed up with state police to talk to Tolland residents about the plan to stop it and the creation of a new statewide task force.
“And what I’m hoping is this is going to be a start of something statewide because it just didn’t happen in tolland, it’s happened in other towns,” State Rep. Jeff Gordon (R) said.
State police were criticized for their lack of response while the takeover was happening.
But troopers said they had an undercover detective on scene during the takeover, and they have been working with their local and federal partners to make arrests.
“There is a lot of intelligence gathering between the FBI and the state, that has been a huge part of stopping use an actually preventing them from happening,” said state police trooper Kevin Eklund.
Connecticut State Police Troop C also released an entire timeline of their response to the Tolland street takeover that can be seen below.
“One of the ring leaders in the events in Tolland was arrested pretty quickly, and I do give credit to the state police because there is a lot of proactive work going on, undercover and in the public,” Gordon said.
So as state police continue to refine their response plan and undercover operations, residents are concerned about safety.
“We are talking about an extremely strategic area in town and we can’t allow that to be occupied at any time under any circumstance,” Paul Horton said.
State police said they also held troopers on the outskirts of the Tolland takeover and kept troopers late in case it became an emergency.
The video above aired in our 10 p.m. newscast on June 8, 2023.