State trying to seize five high-end cars involved in Canadian street race
High-end sports cars sit in an impound lot in Surrey, British Columbia, on Thursday.
September 9th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

State trying to seize five high-end cars involved in Canadian street race

Would losing your Maserati for speeding be akin to paying a million-dollar fine for jaywalking?

That may be a question five drivers in British Columbia will soon ask themselves.

The five are among 13 owners of high-end sports cars who had their vehicles impounded last week after what Royal Canadian Mounted Police allege was a street race on a provincial highway in suburban Vancouver that reached speeds of 120 mph (200 kph). Police put the total value of the vehicles at $2 million.

Police fined each of the drivers, 12 men and one woman all under age 21, $196, but lacked evidence to pursue more severe sanctions, they said. They looked for other avenues to get their message across that street racing would not be tolerated.

“After speaking to witnesses and gathering information, police determined there was not enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges,” Superintendent Norm Gaumont, head of Traffic Services for the RCMP in the Lower Mainland, said in a press release. “With the criminal avenue closed to us, we decided to see if there was enough evidence to proceed civilly.”

So while some of the vehicles were returned to their owners Thursday, five others won't be back on the street any time soon.

"We are going to pursue forfeiture of five of the vehicles," British Columbia Solicitor General Shirley Bond said.

Police said the forfeiture action was warranted because it was clear the vehicles were used in a manner that posed a danger to the public.

“Based on the fact that they had been involved in street racing, that there was the potential for catastrophic injury or death, that their driving showed a complete disregard for the other motorists on the road,” police Cpl. Holly Marks told CNN affiliate CBC-TV.

Bond said only five cases are being pursued because official believe they have enough evidence to gain forfeiture in only those five cases, according to CNN affiliate CTV.

"In British Columbia, we expect people to behave responsibly on our highways," said Bond, whose office oversees the BC Civil Forfeiture Office, which brings forfeiture cases before the province's Supreme Court.

But Micheal Vonn, policy director for the BC Civil Liberties Association, says forfeiture of the pricey vehicles isn't warranted when there are no criminal charges involved, according to CTV.

"This is just an end run around the criminal process," she's quoted as saying. "There's a reason why we don't charge people $1 million for jaywalking. We expect a court to make a fair assessment of what is due in terms of violation or offence."

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Filed under: Automobiles • Canada • Crime
soundoff (570 Responses)
  1. James

    I'm all for punishing idiots who endanger the rest of us by engaging in these activities. I can never support state sanctioned theft though. Give them a fine, put them in jail for a bit, but confiscating the cars is theft, plain and simple.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      I agree 100%. Forfeiture is the most ridiculous thing in government, besides the corruption.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Speed Racer Lives

    Street racers are much better drivers than the age group over 70 who cause a majority of the accidents around the world. If no crime was comitted, how can you take their cars? If someone hurts/kills someone, then take everything they own. You can't charge someone guilty unless they really did the crime.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mad Max

      I agree, if you can't charge them with a crime how can you take their cars. You might as well take everyones car that is talking or texting on a cell phone while driving because it has been proven by test that while talking on a cell phone & driving you drive worse that somebody that is driving while legally intoxicated.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. T3chsupport

    Ooooh pooooo! So they lost their cars. Laws aren't just for those driving Mazdas, guys. The more dangerous the crime is, the more someone should pay for committing it. Someone speeding over 100MPH is rather dangerous. Several people doing it at the same time, on the same road, is much more dangerous. If you want to be treated like an adult, and not have your toys taken away when you get in trouble, then act like an adult and not some stupid teenager.

    Not like it matters. Their mommies and daddies will probably buy them a new one.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. T Dog

    SAElarry1987 – Typical response from a "know it all" wanna be. How do you know what the author means, you tool?
    The only reason it says State, is because there is a better chance that someone will read the story. If it said Province non of you red necks would give a crap! ....... and yes I meant to use a small l for larry.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jayman419

    I'm not against forfeiting the cars, but they shouldn't do it without criminal charges.

    Canadian lawmakers, if they feel this sort of action is appropriate, should ask the cops to let these vehicles go and create a law requiring forfeiture if any speeding offense occurs with the involvement of another speeding vehicle. In other words, they should say these guys were the last people who will ever get away with it. From now on, if you race on our highways you lose your cars, period.

    But if they do that, they'd better be prepared for a lot more people refusing to stop for cops.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. chris

    More stupid US news reports....get your head out of your ass and learn some geography.
    Canada is made up of PROVINCES ... NOT STATES you stupid retard, Brad Lendon.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Andy Lau

    lol! canadian police should just admit they just want to keep those awesome cars

    September 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. John

    Last time I checked, jaywalking doesn't pose a "potential for catastrophic injury or death." Is that civil liberty bleeding heart really equating crossing a street outside the crosswalk with people with less than 5 years' experience driving in excess of 120 mph? I feel like I'm in that Troy Polamalu commercial... "really? really?"

    October 2, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. BaiShan

    It's not a state. CNN ought to be ashamed of itself.
    And yeah, who wouldn't want one or two of those cars?
    btw, the rich kids do that around this neighbourhood a lot also (Vancouver BC) and they have, in the last couple of years, killed a couple-three people.

    October 7, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Dictionary

      State is a term used to also mean the government, but I guess that did not occur to you. Most Americans know that Canada has provinces and territories.

      October 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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