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Police blame street racing for local mother's death

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Updated: 5/03/2013 9:19 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fast cars, open roads, and young drivers add up to what many are calling a nationwide epidemic of illegal street racing.

Florida Highway Patrol Capt. Keith Gaston calls it a dangerous crime.

Action News did some digging and found 49 out of every 1,000 racers is seriously injured, according to the NHTSA. Florida ranks in the top five states for illegal street racing, and thousands of citations are issued every year, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

"We know that we have a problem with racing, but of the street racers usually find some road that's deserted where they don't involve other traffic."

But that wasn't the case in the death of Marsha Bair.

The mother was on her way home from work late Sunday, when police say a Volkswagen Beetle was racing another vehicle on J. Turner Butler Boulevard. Witnesses say the Volkswagen clipped the back of Bair's truck, causing it to roll multiple times. The alleged racing drivers never stopped to help her.

"They've ruined our family," says Dawn Arisman, Bair's partner.

Arisman says Bair suffered a severe brain injury and was taken off life support Wednesday night. She feels her best friend's death was an unfair, heartbreaking casualty of a dangerous game.

"There are tracks for that. You don't have to race on a highway. There are too many people, and too many lives that can be lost."

Arisman calls the alleged racers cowards for not coming forward.

"They need to be held responsible for what they've done. They're just making it harder on themselves if we have to hunt them down and find them, because we will find them."

She's now hoping someone will help bring them closure.

"She was our everything and I loved her so much."

Pieces of the suspect's vehicle were left at the crash site. Police have determined it's a blue, 2000-2010 Volkswagen Beetle with front end damage.

If you see it, police say you should not approach the driver, but take down the tag and location and immediately call the Florida Highway Patrol at (904) 695-4000.

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