Police arrest driver seen doing doughnuts on the Lodge Freeway in Detroit

George Hunter
The Detroit News
Drivers on the Lodge Freeway doing stunts.

Detroit — The city's police chief said Monday investigators identified and arrested one of the drivers recorded on video Friday night doing doughnuts on the Lodge Freeway.

Police are investigating six vehicles that were involved in the incident — four of which are registered to people who live outside the city — Detroit police chief James Craig said Monday at a press conference outside Public Safety Headquarters.

"Of the six cars that were involved, four are from outside the city of Detroit," Craig said. "They probably figure they can't do that in Canton; they can't do it in Novi, so they'll come to Detroit ... but we will catch you."

The video, posted on YouTube (editor's note: warning, contains graphic language), shows cars backed up behind parked vehicles, while another spins with its tires screeching. The video gained attention over the weekend on social media.

Craig said he was first alerted to the video Saturday by City Councilman Andre Spivey.

"Within a few hours, we were able to identify one of the drivers and take him into custody," said Craig, adding police had previously warned the driver, a 25-year-old Canton Township man, about the practice known as "showboating" or doing "360s."

Detroit police chief James Craig addresses the media at a press conference outside Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Monday.

Craig said the man was charged with driving without a license, having tinted windows, and an excessive noise violation. More charges likely are forthcoming, pending the ongoing investigation, the chief said.

Because of the driver's previous contacts with police, they were able to identify the car, a "distinctive green Dodge Charger Hellcat with an orange stripe," Craig said. The vehicle was impounded.

The driver was released after he was arrested Saturday in Rouge Park, Craig said.

"Our parks detail had contact with him in May, engaging in similar behavior," he said. "They stopped him and warned him, but I guess he didn't listen."

Craig said his department is working with Michigan State Police to use the state's helicopter to help with enforcement of traffic-related offenses, as part of a recently launched program aimed at curbing drag racing and the illegal use of off-road vehicles.

As part of that initiative, Craig said from March 24-June 23, officers issued 6,773 citations, made 14 arrests and impounded 333 vehicles.

Michigan State Police for years has been primarily responsible for patrolling freeways in Detroit. State police Lt. Michael Shaw said troopers started getting calls about the Lodge incident at 11 p.m. Friday.

"By 11:08, our first unit arrived on the scene, but they were on the other side of the freeway (near the Livernois exit)," he said. By the time troopers got to the other side of the freeway, the violators had driven away, Shaw said.

"We're not going to chase somebody for something like this and endanger the public," Shaw said. "But technology is our friend ... there are helicopters in the sky, and there are cameras."

Shaw made a tongue-in-cheek plea to traffic violators: "Please continue to post yourselves on social media. Please keep putting your faces out there," he said, adding that makes it easier to catch them.

Craig held Monday's press conference in front of a Dodge Challenger that was confiscated from a drug dealer.

"If you keep doing this, then your $70,000 vehicle will be impounded," he said. "And if criminality is involved, that Hellcat will be ours, too."

Associated Press contributed.