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Riverside County (Opens in New Window)
Press Release: Street Racing Arrests
Agency: Coachella Police
Station Area: Thermal
Written Date: May 22, 2019 Time: 9:30 AM
Incident Date: May 2019 Time:  
Incident Location: City of Coachella
Reporting Officer: Lieutenant Jessica Vanderhoof
File Number(s): Y191250072, Y191250069, Y191370048, Y191390046, Y191410050


The Coachella Police Department would like to remind the public of the dangers of illegal street racing and our commitment to enforcement action.  During the month of May 2019, the Coachella Police Department has experienced several illegal street racing incidents, resulting in arrests. 

On Sunday, May 5, 2019, 9:00 PM, Coachella Police Officers issued seven traffic citations and made two arrests for street racing. Juvena Morales, 21 of Mecca and Juan Ceferino, 24 of Coachella were arrested for street racing and booked into the county jail in Indio.

On Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 10:05 PM, Coachella Police Officers observed two vehicles street racing northbound Grapefruit from Park Lane. A traffic enforcement stop was attempted on both vehicles near Avenue 49. Neither vehicle yielded, and one vehicle accelerated and attempted to flee. Officers conducted a stop on that vehicle, which continued to Indio Blvd north of Avenue 48 before yielding. The driver, Edgar Cervantes, 26 of Indio, was determined to be driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, and on DUI probation. Cervantes was arrested and booked at the Indio Jail.

On Friday, May 17, 2019, about 6:54 PM, Coachella Police Officers responded to the area of Grapefruit Blvd and Mitchel Drive, reference a major traffic collision.  Jose Prieto, 75 of Coachella was pronounced deceased at the scene and Sofia Prieto, 74 of Coachella was pronounced deceased at a local hospital.  Another male was transported to a local hospital and remains in critical condition.

The preliminary investigation suggests that street racing was a factor in the collision.  On May 18, 2019, Estavan Jesus Donato, 27 of Coachella was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and booked at Indio Jail.   

On Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 8:27 PM, Coachella Police Officers witnessed two vehicles traveling at a high rate speed (80 to 100 MPH) S/B on Grapefruit Blvd. Officers managed to stop one of the vehicles in the Cardenas Market parking lot. The driver, Alberto Morales, 31 of Coachella was arrested and booked into the county jail on street racing charges and his vehicle was impounded for 30 days.


  Edgar Cervantes Estavan Jesus Donato
Alberto Morales Juvena Morales

Those participating in illegal street racing activities can expect future direct enforcement action. Illegal street racing, street takeovers, and sideshows are a dangerous, destructive, and far too often a deadly event in Riverside County. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, in partnership with local allied agencies, are taking a zero-tolerance approach to this illegal activity in an effort to reduce the cost to taxpayers having to repair the damages caused by these events, but most importantly to reduce the danger to the public caused by the participants of these events who often drive their vehicles with wanton disregard for public safety. Participants, aiders and abettors, and retailers supplying and installing the illegal equipment often found on the vehicles at these events will be identified through collaborative law enforcement efforts and prosecuted for the multitude of crimes resulting from these illegal acts.              

Anyone with information pertaining to locations in your area where this type of illegal activity is taking place, or with any information pertaining to illegal street racing, sideshows, or planned street take overs is encouraged to contact Sergeant Steven Davis at the Thermal Sheriff’s Station (760) 863-8990, Riverside Sheriff’s Dispatch (760) 836-3215, or Crime Stoppers at 760-341-STOP (7867).

Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff's CrimeTips online form.

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