Photo: Photos Courtesy Of Local 55 – Oakland Firefighters
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A rowdy sideshow in East Oakland Sunday night ended in a looted big-rig truck and an AC Transit bus on fire.
Videos of the illegal automotive stunt show at the intersection of International Boulevard and 42nd Avenue started appearing on social media around 8:45 p.m. The videos show people raiding a truck stocked with paper products and throwing rolls of toilet paper into the air.
Other footage and photos show the truck and a public bus engulfed in flames.
Oakland Police responded to the incident and say the crowd began to break up by about 10 p.m. There were no reports of injuries and no arrests, police said.
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The California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division blocked freeway onramps to prevent the activity from moving onto the interstate.
“We had air operations overhead,” John Fransen, an officer with CHP Golden Gate Division, said. “We deterred them from coming up on the freeway.”
Sideshows are illegal gatherings where drivers take over parking lots, streets, entire intersections and even stretches of busy highways to perform stunts with their cars. Crowds often gather along the sidelines to watch. They can result in general lawlessness and have been a reoccurring problem in Oakland since the 1980s.
The site of Sunday night’s sideshow saw a similar incident as recently as April 7. Two officers were also injured in a late-night sideshow in September that shut down multiple roadways across East Oakland.
“I think this has unfortunately been an ongoing issue for the Bay Area for many years,” Fransen said. “It’s this counterculture thing that goes on where you have these underground car clubs who want to use the public streets to do stunt driving. We have pedestrians getting hurt. Drivers getting hurt. It’s a dangerous situation. There are better places to do this, such as Sonoma Raceway.”
Fransen says the public can help by calling 911 anytime they see sideshow activity.
In January, California Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian introduced a bill to toughen penalties for illegal sideshows.
Bay City News contributed to this story.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-sideshow-social-media-video-bus-fire-13768721.php.