A Myrtle Beach man, who was among nine men arrested on street racing charges during the weekend, said Tuesday morning he paid attention to the safety of other motorist during their races.
Cameron Michael Rex, 23, of Myrtle Beach along with eight other men were charged late Friday with racing on a public road after an undercover Horry County police officer was tipped off about a race on S.C. 31 near S.C. 544.
On Tuesday, Rex said seven of the men who were charged weren’t racing, but were charged along with the two who were racing.
“I know we’re wrong and I know we shouldn’t be on the street, but I want people to know we’re not putting people’s lives in danger. We’re not doing it anymore,” Rex said. “We’re good people. None of us have a criminal background. When we were doing it, we made sure we didn’t put anybody’s life in danger. We’re normal people. We’re not criminals and we just like to go fast. We really need a place around here to go do that.”
Rex said the lack of place for residents like him to race meant they would gather on S.C. 31 to test their vehicles, like his 450-horsepower Dodge Challenger, to the limits
“There’s no where for us to do it. It’s hard to explain unless you are into cars,” said Rex, who noted he had grown up around racing such as go-carts and stock cars. “As much revenue as Myrtle Beach brings in, we should have something like that to do around here.”
Vehicles can be raced at the North Myrtle Beach Drag Strip, but the track is an eighth of a mile, which Rex said means it’s too short and a race will last “eight seconds.”
And Rex said going to Darlington Raceway, which is opened at certain times for public racing, can mean waiting all day for one or two opportunities to race after paying a fee and driving there, he said.
“I got [my car] by working hard. I’m a very nice person. I just like to go fast and I’m not trying to put anybody’s life in danger,” said Rex, who had participated in races with his brother.
The officer, who was working undercover in an unmarked Horry County police vehicle, received the tip and went to a local car wash where the racers were said to be meeting Friday night, according to a police report. The officer saw several vehicles in the parking lot.
After about 10 minutes later, the officers noted that a man yelled “Are y’all ready?” The men went to their vehicles and the officer followed them to S.C. 31 near S.C. 544, where they headed north at 10:20 p.m. Friday.
The officer saw a lead vehicle pull away from the group, which split into different lanes, the first vehicle tapped his brakes and the vehicles began to race, according to the report. At that time another officer in a marked vehicle stopped the nine vehicles.
No other details were listed in the report.
The men were each charged with racing on a public road and each were given $500 bail, according to records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center. They each posted bond and were released by midday Sunday.
According to the report the men charged were: Jeffrey Kyle Berlin, 23, of North Myrtle Beach driving a Hyundai Genesis; Justin William Delaet, 25, of Murrells Inlet driving Subaru Legacy; Landrum Alex Gentry, 31, of Myrtle Beach driving a Cadillac STS; Lonnie Dale Jordan, 25, Conway driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer; Zohar Molina, 26, of Myrtle Beach driving a Honda Civic; Kevin Manuel Mourato, 27, of Murrells Inlet driving an Acura; Cameron Michael Rex, 23, of Myrtle Beach driving a Dodge Challenger; Trey David Rex, 21, of Socastee driving a Ford Mustang; and Ross Edward Thomas, 22, of Myrtle Beach driving a Subaru.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or on Twitter @tonyaroot.