‘FamilyCruisin’ YouTube leads to 2 more charged in Plainfield street racing
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Police charged two men this week with street racing in southwest suburban Plainfield, bringing total arrests from an investigation into online videos allegedly documenting the activities to four.
Romeoville man Joseph N. Lukas, 36, turned himself in Saturday, with Plainfield man Steven J. Fredenhagen, 41, following suit two days later, according to Plainfield police. The first man faces two charges of street racing; the latter faces four.
Both Lukas and Fredenhagen posted their $250 bails and were released from custody, police said. Arrest warrants were issued for three additional suspects who have yet to be brought in.
Two more men were arrested last month after police in August began perusing social media videos, including the YouTube channel “FamilyCruisin,” for evidence of drivers partaking in street racing within Plainfield city limits.
The channel’s stated owner, 35-year-old Paul Powell of Plainfield, was charged with 15 counts of street racing and one count of child endangerment, as police said some videos had children involved in their production. Another man, 47-year-old Darien resident Timothy Hagan, who is also a registered sex offender, faces one charge of street racing. Police said their bails were $40,000 and $5,000, respectively.
According to the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, Hagan was convicted ten years ago of aggravated criminal sex abuse of someone between 13 and 18 years old.
The “FamilyCruisin” YouTube channel has amassed almost 10 million views and, according to its account description, contains “car videos for YouTube that I hope people find interesting.” The most recent video was posted Nov. 28.
A person identifying as Powell’s mother created a GoFundMe Sunday titled “Rescue Family Cruisin.” The page description says he was arrested while taking his child to school and an update states that he lost his job as a result.
“This man has never even been arrested, does not drink, smoke or do drugs,” the GoFundMe said. “He needs the help of everyone who can help to survive this.”
Plainfield police said the investigation remains ongoing and asked anyone with information to call (815) 267-7238.