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.”

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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. ProperVillain

    Common sense in this country has gone the way of the dinosaur...

    September 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trust Fund Kid

    I love my Ferrari about as much as I love not working. 😛

    September 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stif

    And if I were to sue someone civilly, I would have to have some sort of damages. So....what are the state's damages?

    September 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. novajosh

    Just maybe they should increase the fines for speeding slightly instead of this civil bs.
    Forfeiture of cars = big brother government

    September 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nofngway

    Blame Canada!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    The police are just jealous that they don't have cars like that. If its really a serious problem they can do it properly and change the laws

    September 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • TK11

      This has nothing to do with the police – their mandate is to enforce it. This is about the loop holes in the Canadian legal system. The police could care less what they drive.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jay in florida

    The cars being seized were no more dangerous than the cars returned. This is a case of class warfare that the Police is waging.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Try reading the article.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |

    @jeff... police are punks with slow cars that got picked on at school..
    they are just haters..

    September 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Til it's your family that gets killed when one of these fools crashes.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • PhaReal

      Cmon GT66 is it really the street racers or drunk drivers who kill more people in auto accidents. Are you awake today?

      September 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • SlowDriver

      Hey PhaReal, they all kill innocent people, what's your point! My point is take all of their cars away...

      September 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Oh okay. Because road racers kill fewer people than drunks, road racing should be alright until the numbers of dead people are even. Put your bong down kid you obviously can't afford to kill any more brain cells.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Street Racing kills 15 people a year in most countries. Drunk Driving kills thousands. This is bs.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike Mazzla

    As bad as this is and teh danger involved, th epunishment does have to fit the crime. There can be a middle ground though. What about forfeiture of the car for a period of time, plus a fine, plus whatever the cost of storing the vehicle for said time.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Actually, the punishment fits precisely. Recklessly use your car as a dangerous weapon, lose your weapon. Let these spoiled fools use their feet to get around.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • CC

      Well from what i read they could be charged with anything but fine, and police determined there was not enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges, so why are they even trying going to this route if they could not prove they were racing in the first place If you can't charge them with racing how you going to try and fine and give punishment as if they where charge with racing. , this sounds like double dipping to me. I'm sure there Lawyers will have a field day with this and costing the government more money than they get for keeping and selling the cars in the long run.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gray

    They are just looking for an easy way to put a few dollars in the coffers. They will auction those cars and make a tidy sum. Doesn't sound too legal to me.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      They crush them in California.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Doug O

    It would seem to me that, lately, govts in numerous countries are finding new ways to "get into people's pockets". Heck, you smoked pot in your house so your house was used in the comission of this crime should not your house be confiscated. Afterall once high you might cause an accidental fire in which a fireman's life may be out at risk when he is trying to put the fire out. If you are going to smoke pot in your house and endanger the life of a fireman then yea, your house should be confiscated. This is the mentality of govts in these days of austerity. How can it take more and more from the people. But people don't care so long as it is happening to "someone else". Well remember we are all "someone else" to other people.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Eh... weak comparison. BTW – California has been confiscating cars and crushing them for a few years now IIRC.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sasha

    in ontario we have had the law for years if you are caught going 50 over the posted speed limit the police take your wheels and your liicence right away.. But I wish there wer emore details. Because theories and word of mouth is not considered enough evidence. You have to have something like eye witnesses or video recording or something tangible to be taking someones ride if they where not there and present to catch them

    September 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      I don't think there's any reason that an ordinary person driving lawfully should have to risk his or her life just to afford some idiots a benefit of doubt on a legal technicality. They were racing. It wasn't one car just speeding along. They had witnesses say that the cars would buddy up and block the traffic so two cars could race. There really isn't ANY excuse for this ESPECIALLY since there are tracks for this sort of thing. Many people in the US have been killed by road racers. You wanna run your ride? Take it to a track otherwise, you deserve what you get. Why does it always take an innocent person getting killed by people like this before people wise up and realize the benefit of the doubt should go to the LAWFUL person NOT the law breaker.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul

    I understand the police's point of view, but unless the cars were used in a convicted felony, I don't imagine it will fly.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GT66

    Or you know, they could just follow the speed limit on the roadways and race their cars on the many tracks available for racing.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. James

    Those cars should be burned or crushed in public. That will serve as a deterrent against street racers. The kids (yes, kids) who drove those cars clearly are not responsible enough to continue driving. Perhaps losing their expensive toys will teach them a lesson about responsibility.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
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