Phoenix street racer sentenced to 2.5 years in prison after pleading guilty
PHOENIX – A man known for organizing illicit street racing activities in Phoenix was sentenced to 2½ years in prison this week, authorities said Thursday.
Jessie Ray Luna-Espinoza pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to one count each of misconduct involving weapons and illegal racing, both felonies, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
The charges were related to separate street racing incidents from June and November of last year, according to court records.
In an incident from Nov. 7, 2021, he was originally charged with prohibited possession of a weapon, two counts of racing, unlawful flight from law enforcement and resisting arrest. All counts except the weapons charge were dismissed as part of his plea deal.
Luna-Espinoza had prior street racing convictions, according to the release. He allegedly used social media to organize the illegal racing activities.
The Phoenix Police Department created a street racing task force in 2019 to address a rise in incidents, including fatal crashes. The task force has submitted 8,108 charges, issued 648 speeding tickets and impounded 844 vehicles, since being formed, according to the release.
“To those who take over our streets, who defy law enforcement, and who put innocent lives in danger, we will hold you accountable,” Interim Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in the release.