Five men have been arrested on street racing charges, including a YouTuber named Paul Powell.
The Chicago Tribune reports that a video posted online by Powell, through the YouTube channel FamilyCruisin, triggered a four-month investigation by police into street racing. Authorities discovered at least a dozen videos showing Powell driving recklessly on streets throughout Plainfield, Illinois.
Powell was arrested last Friday alongside 47-year-old Timothy Hagan. On Saturday, 36-year-old Joseph Lukas turned himself in and on Monday, 41-year-old Steven Fredenhagen did the same. Police arrested a fifth man yesterday, 26-year-old Ian Whelton. All five have been charged with various counts of street racing.
More specifically, Powell, 35, has been charged with 15 misdemeanour counts of street racing and one count of child endangerment. Police say that Powell used minors to shoot video of him street racing.
Police initially caught on to Powell’s antics after a video of his purple Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat engulfed in flames surfaced online in early August. Shortly after the fire, Powell asserted on his YouTube channel that the vehicle’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine encountered a number of issues, including surging and stumbling.
Court records reveal that Powell has received at least 13 speeding tickets and one street racing ticket since 1999. A GoFundMe page established by his parents to help with legal fees claims that he “has never even been arrested, does not drink, smoke or do drugs.”
Powell’s father, Paul S. Powell, says that his son never put anyone’s health at risk while filming his videos.
“It would be a stretch to say that he’s a menace to the highways. It’s not like he was doing 100 mph on Route 59.
“He didn’t speed in subdivisions, side roads or in populated areas. He just didn’t,” Powell said.