Clearwater police crackdown on dangerous driving nets two street racers

Officers issued a total of 33 speeding tickets during the traffic operation, according to Clearwater police.
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Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published May 28, 2021|Updated May 28, 2021

CLEARWATER — Two drivers were caught street racing, police say, as part of a traffic operation that resulted in a total of six arrests and 33 speeding citations.

The operation was aimed at cracking down on dangerous driving across the city, according to Clearwater police, and focused on these busy corridors: the Courtney Campbell Causeway, McMullen Booth Road, Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and Drew Street.

The first street racing arrest was made about 7:40 p.m. at Drew Street and Hillcrest Avenue, police say. Officers said they found Eric Howard, a 43-year-old Clearwater resident, doing 71 mph in a 40 mph speed zone while racing another vehicle. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of racing on a highway and driving under the influence. He was booked into the Pinellas County jail but released early Friday after posting $650 bail.

The second racing arrest was made about 9:09 p.m. on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard just west of Belcher Road. Landon Braciulis, 18, was caught racing another vehicle and driving at 86 mph in a 40 mph zone, police say. The Clearwater man was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of racing on a highway. He was freed from the county jail early Friday after posting $150 bail.

Officers made 42 traffic stops and cited 33 of the drivers for speeding, police say. A total of five drivers were arrested on DUI charges.

”We are seeing an increase in serious vehicle crashes, so you can expect tosee more focused traffic enforcement in the future,” said Clearwater police Chief Dan Slaughter in a statement. “The racing certainly reflects the most egregious violations, but all people need to be mindful of driving the speed limit, staying alert andnot allowing themselves to become distracted.”