LPD chief on future of Americruise in Lincoln: ‘Things will change’
After a fatal weekend crash on O Street, Lincoln police chief Teresa Ewins says the city will "take action" to combat dangerous driving behavior brought about by "Americruise."
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins says the city will be making changes to ‘Americruise,’ a yearly unsanctioned classic car show that takes place on O Street every Memorial Day weekend.
“We will be changing a lot of things in regards to people that are coming to Lincoln to cause havoc like that,” Ewins said.
This year’s event was the site of a fatal car crash. Just before 11 p.m. on Sunday evening, a black Ford Taurus traveling westbound on O Street struck a white Toyota Corolla turning north on 52nd street.
“The Ford initially rolled onto its top pinning two victims underneath,” Ewins said.
According to Lincoln Police, bystanders, who had been sitting on the sidewalk watching the car show, helped flip the Ford back over.
The two victims, the 20-year-old female driver of the Corolla and a 22-year-old female passenger were pronounced dead on the scene.
Lincoln Fire and Rescue Chief Dave Engler said the scope of the scene made it challenging for first responders to respond to the crash.
“It’s almost like you have two separate scenes,” Engler said. “It’s difficult to identify who the patients are because there were people all over the place. So that was a challenge for our crews.”
The 18-year-old driver of the Ford Taurus was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 20 bystanders also received medical attention, with one victim in critical, but stable condition.
Ewins confirmed the two vehicles involved in the crash were not Americruise participants, but said the future of the unsanctioned event in Lincoln is in question.
“When it comes to people that are coming to Lincoln to do donuts, or speeding…we’re going to take action and hopefully implement some new policies,” Ewins said.
When asked about how the city could regulate unsanctioned car shows, Ewins referenced her time working with the San Francisco Police Department.
“We started taking people’s cars when they’re identified as being part of these sideshows and endangering the public,” Ewins said. “To the degree that it was in the Bay Area, we don’t have that here, but we need to be strong about people are not going to come to Lincoln and have this behavior.”
Former police chief Tom Casady took to Twitter to say that the Americruise event is “overwhelming” for police and encourages “recklessness and stupidity.”
Ewins vowed that the city will take action.
“It’s not acceptable and yes, things will change,” Ewins said.