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. Steve Hoffman

    Hey dutsup knumbnuts, guns aren't outlawed in Canada.

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

    Must be embarassing for the parents. I hope they cut their brats off and make them get real jobs.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. munchie

    Here those cars would be crushed while the ownes watched.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris Thompson


    September 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darryn Cooke

      Alaskans don't live in igloos nor is the state covered in snow. It's a part of America silly!

      September 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Thompson

      I also may add in They were not caught racing this is why they only got a $196 fine each in Canadian law you must be caught in the act to have your car taken from you... so might want to get your story and facts straight before trying to take CNN for their money you are a very very poor Editor

      September 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Thompson

      Darryn it is me proving a point 85% of American's believe Canada is all snow and we live in igloos yet Alaska is farther north and colder then most Canadian citys and they believe Alaska is not

      September 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • HarryD

      Chris, your numbers are off (please cite your 85% reference) and your use of language makes you an easy target for people pointing out stupidity. In accosting those who judge, you make the same 'collective' judgements you proclaim to hate. Clean it up, and point out things like: Windsor ONT is more south than northern California, or perhaps the possibility of some intelligently Canadianized Americans that live in border towns like Buffao, Detroit, Seattle and know plenty about their neighbours to the north.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tye

    Oh well, if their cars get taken away, I'm sure their grow-ops will more than cover the loss.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tye

    Which U.S. state is trying to confiscate the cars, and how did the U.S. get involved with a bunch of Canadian street racers when they were racing on Canadian roads? That's what I really want to know...

    September 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • conradshull

      No mention of any US anything in the article.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pragmaclast

      I hope you're joking. I really do. Otherwise, I weep for the future.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Province of British Columbia in Canada. When did we become a state?

      September 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You thought they only wanted our oil?

      September 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • G

      Not A state, but THE state, meaning the government of jurisdiction (Government of British Columbia).

      On another note, driving is an earned privilege, not an inalienable human right. If you need a licence to drive, then the litmus test for when a license is taken away can legitimately be less stringent than for the removal of other rights (like free speech or peaceful assembly, for instance).

      September 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fast and Furious

      Unless there was a law allowing seizure BEFORE the incident took place (Like US drug related seizure laws) it would be a gross abuse of power and essentially a government sanctioned theft. There may not be a right to drive, but there is a right to private property and freedom from unreasonable seizure, at least in the US. Sucks to be Canadian for these drivers, I guess.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. drkelly

    Those cars should be returned to the rightful owners. They government has no right to take possesion of them.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bonnie R

    Brilliant idea. Provided they are using public streets; the public should have the ability to confiscate them for recklessly endangering the public.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fast and Furious

      Maybe the public should also the right to confiscate your conputer for recklessly endangering the internet with your absurd statements.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      I don't have an issue with these cars being confiscated, but my issue is where do you draw the line? For example is this is allowed then it's likely the same thing could happen for drunk driving, and then how long before it happens for regular speeding? How about texting while driving and/or talking on a cellphone? How about a rolling stop at a stop sign?

      They all potentially endanger the public, so where do we stop? Hell the article mentions jaywalking, that endangers drivers, should people be locked up, or fined heavily for it (sing there isn't a car to take?)

      September 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frodo1008

    If you are driving at the kinds of speeds that these cars are capable of on a public highway where everybody else is driving at 70 mph or less, then you are a danger to the public.

    I would admit that the death penalty is a little harsh, but the confiscation of your car certainly is not. Further, if you are one of the posters here that stated that the government just wants to make money by selling these vehicles, then perhaps the only way for that same government to make sure these cars are NEVER used in such a manner again is to run them through the auto crushing and scrap machine. To make sure that the lesson is driven home, the individual doing such dangerous driving should be present to watch as their precious racing machine is reduced to a 1 foot cube!!!!

    There was just such an instance of such racing here in Southern California recently where a man came home to find out that his wife and kids were all killed by such a racer (who unfortunately survived)! Two small and precious children were literally burned to death in this incident!!

    Society has both the obligation and the right to protect itself from such terrorists!!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      The issue for this is where do you draw the line?

      Let's assume this is okayed by the court, how long before they do the same for drunk driving? Regular speeding? Texting while driving? Rolling stop at a stop sign? Parking to far from the curb?

      September 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Recollections of beating bad cops down

    1.) c. 1988-Mountain Man, still residing in Texas, come home one day to find Wife and kid missing. 2.) Wife takes Mountain.Man's new Dodge P/U to DFW, flies home to Manhattan Beach, CA. 3.) Mountain Man takes two employees with him after work, and heads to dallas in his frame-off resto '67 Firebird BB Chevy L-88 454/TurboHydro400 conversion. 4.) Mountain Man notices red lights in rear view mirror, punches it. 170mph is all she had. 5.) Mountain Man changes mind, pulls over, and waits a few min. for cop to arrive. Cop questions M.M. "My my my, what ya'll got a goin' on. Little 'salt and peppa' action?(two employees are black men) We on a drug-run iz we?"...cont.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. astroboi

    Actually, jaywalking IS supposedly a life threatening offence, both to the jaywalker and to drivers that might cause accidents avoiding the walker. That's the alleged reason it is forbidden. But one wonders what the government would do with the cars they would legally steal; smash them up to prove a point? Sell them so others could race and be caught? Or use them in some silly "drug sting" that would accomplish nothing? It seems like one more reason to distrust government in general and the police in particular. As though another reason was needed.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RobC

    HarryD – the article never said "The state of BC", the headline simply said "state trying to seize...". State, as in the govenment. nice try though

    September 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. conradshull

    Deportation would work.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tony V

    Since when did British Columbia became the 51st state ? Is CNN now the point man for Manifest Destiny ?

    September 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. coder

    sounds like a bunch of rich kids without regard for others
    what's new right.....

    September 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
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