BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It started Saturday night at about 8:30 p.m. More than 300 vehicles converged at the corner of Brundage Lane and A Street. How do police deal with 300 vehicles at one time? Answer: Not very well.
It’s called a street takeover, and it can completely shut down an intersection – which is what is did at five different busy street corners: in central Bakersfield, east Bakersfield, northwest Bakersfield, south Bakersfield and again in central Bakersfield – takeovers roughly an hour apart that had Bakersfield Police and California Highway Patrol scrambling to contain it all.
“The initial report is 300 –over 300–vehicles involved,” said Sgt. Robert Pair, a Bakersfield Police department spokesman. “During every enforcement act that occurred throughout that night, officers were assaulted, public members, bystanders, were assaulted, vehicles were vandalized.”
There were so many people in the riot of cars on Brundage you couldn’t see any police at all in the video shot by Keith Lawless, who was standing up through his sun roof as he was stranded in traffic. It wasn’t until backup arrived at 9:09 p.m. that police were able to disperse the horde, with many cars speeding off recklessly and some blocking patrol cars from making traffic stops.
The cars then went east. It was here at Mount Vernon and Columbus that things really got serious. The first officers on the scene were far outnumbered, and they were belted with bottles. More reinforcements came, and off the convoy went again. From Mount Vernon and Columbus avenues, 45 minutes later, over to Rosedale Highway.
At 10:16 p.m. it was the CHP calling for help. People were kicking and assaulting their patrol cars. They called for Bakersfield police to come out for backup. It was here that BPD spotted the person they suspect was the organizer of the event, 23-year-old Oliver Perry of Bakersfield. They grabbed him after a foot chase and he was arrested. Police say he had concealed loaded handgun.
The group dispersed again only to reassemble at Wible Road and Pacheco Road, near the Auto Mall.
Then, at about 11:40, things got even more violent. Officers were pelted with debris and one officer on foot was struck by a car. He went over the hood of that car. The officer’s injuries were minor but the suspect vehicle sped away. And again the convoy broke up and left the area. But the takeover throng had one more stop.
It all ended just after midnight Saturday night when the convoy of cars came to 17th and M streets.
One car led BPD on a high speed chase on Union Avenue that exceeded 100 mph. When the suspect driver turned off his headlights and started driving on the wrong side of the road against traffic, BPD backed off in the interest of safety. But the Sheriff’s helicopter stayed on their tail until they got stuck on a raised median near East Planz Road.
The pursuit continues today. Not on the streets but on social media, on the phone, knocking on doors.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call BPD at 327-7111.