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.”

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2011/09/09/dnt-canada-street-racing.ctv-network"%5D

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. Yo

    They should keep the cars. There is no excuse for street racing period.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Phil

    That's why when the red lights flash – you hit the gas and haul some ass!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bill

    It's a Province not a state.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Burbank

    It's Obama's fault!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Burbank

    Actually that's a great idea and we should do something like that in our own country. That would put an end to sideshows in a hurry!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Burbank

    One more comment, you can't compare street racing to jay walking. Jay walking ususally doesn't endanger other people's lives.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dutspup

    They will lose this fight, not to mention, people dont buy a lambo to drive 55 so just outlaw the vehicle like you do guns liberal conads

    September 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TAK

    This is government sponsored theft.

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

    You don't think these kids would just got out and buy new cars. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. Quit wasting tax payers money and go out and try to catch people doing this for real.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      They DID catch the people "doing it for real". Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, summary execution is called for with these street racing idiots.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HarryD

    The 'state' of BC doesnt want to seize the cars, the 'province' of BC does.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cool Chick

    It must be nice to be under 21 and drive a Maserati. Taking daddy's car for a spin were we now...

    September 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. YouIdiot!

    Just wondering...How about deporting them IF they were NOT born in Canada?

    September 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Poseidons Son

    No one is going to admit they were there to watch a street race so the eyewitnesses are questionable ....Why aren't there cameras on the highways like there are here in California...then the cops can review the tapes and proceed from there...I think taking their licenses and making them pay a fine is more reasonable than taking their cars (especially when they don't have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges)

    September 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim in Houston

    I don't agree with any of this forfeiture BS unless and until they are convicted of a crime. Innocent until proven guilty, not guilty because the cops don’t like you and can frame you for something.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Recollections of beating bad cops down

    1.) Native Coloradan moves to Texas, 1979. 2.) Takes two-week trip back to Colroado to compete in Mountain Man Downhill, Aspen,C0 (first one to the bottom wins/ free-for-all race. Don't try telemark. It hurts. Old friend Will Hayes wins. 3.)Oh, and don't fill your wineskin with Cuervo 1800 either. 4.) Mountain Man goes to Saloon to frick, fight, or hold the light. 5.) Bouncer at the door is off-duty cop. 6.) Cop ID's Mountain Man, who present valid Texas D/L. 7.) Cop says "Texas eh". Mountain Man replies "Yeah...you gotta problem with Texas?" Cop say's "Texas suxx". 8.) Mountain Man beats the living sh/t out of smart ass cop, and gets the heck out of Aspen:) 9.) Foolishness is tied -up in the heart of every youngster, not just the heart of every young man. (shrug)

    September 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
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