The highway serves the American motorist in two ways - it more or less follows the path of the old "National Road" - US 40 - from west to east across the nation, and it serves as a place for people to use as a dragstrip in western Baltimore County, MD.
Time and again, the Maryland State Police are busy breaking up crowds of spectators and participants in illegal street races on the highway.
That's right. Too bad for that family that might be on their way home from a weekend at Grandma's, or the cheerleading competition, because if you're on the road back to Baltimore late one night, you might just feel like you're in Daytona, racing in the 500.
Last weekend, people whose houses adjoin the highway in the Woodlawn area (out-of-state residents: that's where they keep track of your $ocial $ecurity!) called MSP at 2 in the yawning to report the loud cars racing around. The highway patrol responded and told the racers to go home, or at least go somewhere. The speed-lovin' crowd was actually blocking all the lanes of the highway with other cars to create a racing space.
And away they went.
And the trooper came back an hour later, and guess what? They were back, preparing for Round 2. The trooper pulled his car up to the starting line and stepped out, causing the racers to scatter like roaches when you come in and turn on the kitchen light at 2 in the morning.
One guy didn't get away fast enough. He's 42-year-old Keith Parker of Pasadena, MD, who, police say, stood at the starting line urging others to vamoose. He was arrested and faces several charges.
"This has been an ongoing occurrence for quite a while. And that is why we have our troopers regularly do patrol checks in the area," Elena Russo, an MSP spokesperson, told WJZ-TV
This is the same spot where 2 spectators were killed and 2 others severely injured in 2009 by a drunk driver.
|The aftermath of a drag race on MD 301 South|
I understand it's a thrill to hop up your car and make it go really fast and loud, and part of the pleasure is finding out that your machine is louder and faster than Jerry from around the corner. This is why there are drag strips, where people can do this legally.
The highway - and this seems to take many people by surprise - is not a drag strip.
But this is America 2017, where we all do what we want, where and when we want, and tough beans for anyone else.