Tags: street outlaws | discovery channel | street racing

'Street Outlaws': Discovery Show Blasted for Shutting Down OK Highway

By    |   Friday, 11 Jul 2014 09:20 AM

"Street Outlaws," the hit Discovery Channel show about illegal street racing in Oklahoma, is the center of a controversy after producers shut down a local highway for filming.

News 9 Oklahoma visited the closed State Highway 81 on Saturday night near Union City to report on the excitement, only to discover a number of potential issues involving show producers, the police, and the highway patrol.

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"If you don't want to leave I will put you under arrest," photojournalist Cody McDonell was told by a police officer when he tried to approach.

Locals reported that racing on the highway has been a common occurrence.

"There for a while it was every week for a couple weeks," resident Jenny Shieber told the local station.

After some research, the news team discovered that filming was permitted for a fee of $25, which allowed the show's producers to shut the highway down completely starting at 6 p.m. According to Fox 23, the City Council had voted to grant the permit the previous Thursday.

In a Wednesday follow-up with Union City Police Chief Robert Ague, he told reporters that his department hadn't notified the Oklahoma Department of Transportation or Highway Patrol.

Lt. Betsy Randolph with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said this was concerning. She said there didn’t seem to be notices put up to properly shut down the stretch of road and re-route traffic. She also said the lack of communication means that there was no verification on a proper cleanup after the shoot.

"Anytime you would shut down a U.S. highway that was designated a commercial motor vehicle oversized road route without prior approval, we really frown on that . . . The burden on cleaning up the highway on this sort of event goes back to the taxpayers," she said. "If the roadway is going to be shut down we really would rather it not be for illegal purposes as in illegal street racing."

Retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper John Harris, who is involved with a nonprofit organization called Beat the Heat which encourages track racing over street racing, also took issue with the event.

He said the show was irresponsible for portraying staged, permitted racing overseen by EMTs as off-the-cuff illegal street racing.

"This show is immensely popular coast to coast but it's the image they are sending out to our youth," he said. "This has the appearance that this street racing is taking place on any given street."



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"Street Outlaws," the hit Discovery Channel show about illegal street racing in Oklahoma, is the center of a controversy after producers shut down a local highway for filming.
street outlaws, discovery channel, street racing
434
2014-20-11
Friday, 11 Jul 2014 09:20 AM
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