DETROIT (WXYZ) — Some call them stunt drivers and others call them reckless. And Tommie "Tee" Mahone is one of the more prominent faces in the drifting movement and he's one of a number of drivers in Detroit who is working to forge an agreement with the city for a lot where drivers can drift and pedestrians can stay safe.
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Over the weekend, Detroit Police Chief James Craig publicly referred to Mahone as one of the best drivers out here when discussing how a lot for donut drivers would operate.
"The way it'll be set up, Tee and his crew, they're going to be the street bosses," said Chief Craig. "And they may say we don't want you here.. you're not a driver. I've been very public about those who can and cannot drive."
The endorsement came as a surprise to some people because Mahone has a pending criminal case in Detroit in which he's charged with reckless driving causing serious impairment and failure to stop at the scene of an injury accident.
A spokesperson for Chief Craig tells 7 Action News that by no means does the chief support Mahone's involvement in the alleged incident and that reckless behavior will not be tolerated by his department. They went on to say that the department will work with individuals who are willing to "explore ways to bring about positive changes in the community."
A spokesperson for Chief Craig added that it's important to point out that the charges against Mahone are just allegations.
Organizers who have met with the chief and other city officials have said that a pit where drivers can do donuts and drift would include a safety barrier for the protection of spectators.
Chief Craig has not yet disclosed the location of the prospective area other than to say it is on the city's east side and it's privately owned.
But there are still critics of any plan that involves the city helping drivers secure any property.
"We all know what's going to happen. Somebody's going to get killed," said retired Detroit Police Lt. T. Berry, who added that critical questions will follow including why did the city allow it.
It's expected that waivers will be required and personal injury attorney Mike Morse said all the risks will have to be carefully laid out in it.
"Waivers are generally valid unless there is wilful and wanton misconduct or gross negligence," Morse said.
A designated lot will allow police to focus on rapists, murderers and drug dealers, said Mahone.
"I hope it's going to give DPD the reason to leave us alone and actually focus on real crimes that are being committed instead of petty traffic crimes, you know what I'm saying," Mahone said. "Because it's a lot of other stuff going on in the city that they can divert their attention to than just focusing on us every Sunday."