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. Northof39

    State? I think they really mean Province. If this were Ontario, those drivers would have been charged, arrested, flung in jail, bail set as high as the clouds, cars impounded immediately. The cars are eventually returned to the owners, but the cost of storing them in impound is crazy exhorbitant (which the owner has to pay). Then there is the possibility of jail time and/or sky high fines, loss of licence. Looks like the pot-smoking, tree-hugging Province of BC is a little hazy on such things as laws. But hey, lets get all in touch with nature & drink lattes.

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

    these cars are amazing pieces of machinery, let me hop in one and ill take it well over 120 mph thats a cake walk for those beasts. Nothing quite like white knuckle driving at break-neck speeds to get ur heart rate up. Who won anyway?? and why is everyone so upset?? did everyone on here watch the whole race start to finish?? for all you know there were a couple people on a deserted stretch of highway and the people who called were coming in the other direction and saw!! also it said they would hold up traffic and take off in a drag race i.e. noone was in front of them and everyone behind them was blocked from getting to close, go cry somewhere else because you all didnt have the money or oppurtunity to have that much fun. Not every street racer is out to kill everyone, how many people are killed every year by street racers vs. stupid people that just dont pay attention because they are too busy talking on the phone or eating or even reading while driving.

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

    Who cares what people in canada do they burn the city down cause they lose a hockey game!

    September 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      Well US sports fans do it win or loose so what's your point?

      September 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Recollections of beating bad cops down (cont)

    6.) Mountain Man replies "That ain't called for. Just gimme my ticket, and we'll be on our way"...also explains bad-hair day. 7.) Rockwall Sherrif Debuty name a Bosworth says 'Oh ain't gunna be thet eezy. You two darkies can get out and take off a walkin'...and they did. 8.) Instructs MM to go-round to back of 'bird and spread-em. MM complies, placing hands on trunk. Bosworth takes out baton and hits MM's right hand, denting trunk.9.) Mountain Man turns around simultaneous right elbow cross cop jaw-crushing overhand left, grab cop head knee to face-etc with Justin roper to the ribs good measure finish. 10.) Back-up arrives and it gets real crazy. 11.) Moral to story: East Texas is ignorant. It's like beating a dead horse.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      For some reason the following quote springs to mind:

      "what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

      September 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Recollections of beating bad cops down (cont)

    ...and some of life's lessons come the hard way.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Selfish Meme

    Just part of that Top Gear slash internet car enthusiasm trend fueled culture.

    The affluent trying to live out TV and super car fantasy.

    Did you hear about the BMW dealership employees video taping their abusing of a brand new 1 Series M? It happened in Glendale California – the employees were fired, but its very prevalent.

    EVEN amongst cars brought IN for service, they abuse them. Why? Because you have these idiots working the parts desk and shops at those dealerships that WISH they could own those cars and unbeknownst to the owners, their cars are being abused to live out those silly foolish, DANGEROUS car speed fantasies.

    So much asshattery in the world.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Local_Boi_808

      in reply to The Selfish Meme. I totally agree with your statement, I am the proud papa of a 2008 Corvette Z06 that I have added many accessories to. 9 times out of 10 when I take my car to be detailed I will hear the detailers reving the engine while I am in the waiting room, which I find unacceptable. When I leave my house, there are what I am Assuming are younger adults in their imports trying their hardest to get me race them on the streets and highways. This behavior is dangerous at best and could turn deadly. The street racing community needs to see that every time you speed they are not only putting their own lives in danger, but the lives, and financial wellness of the families around them. I do not agree with vehicle forfieture however due to the fact that it is unlawful.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Henry Miller

    If I decided to "pursue forfeiture of five ... vehicles," it would be called "Grand Theft Auto"–why do governments invariably think it's okay to do themselves what they call criminal if anyone else does it?

    September 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drito

      Uh probably because the law allows them to?

      September 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neal Kelley


      September 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • pugh7755

      Sure if you take (steal) five cars it is grand theft auto, however, when an idiot puts the lives of others at risk and the police seize (not steal) a car it is a punishment and deterrent to keep other idiots from killing themselves or innocent people. When you get your drivers license and put your signature to it you are signing a contract stating you will abide by the rules. When you break that contract there are consequences. Driving is a privilege not a right. Some people forget that or are too stupid to understand what that means.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lou50

    California crushes street racer cars and make the owners watch. they need to do the same here. you will be surprised how that will help the traffic issue.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      And to think there's a budget deficit in California. Selling the vehicles won't solve the budget issue but it would help.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • a slozomby

      after a criminal conviction. the rcp doesnt have evidence for a criminal conviction.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whizerd

      Uhhh..Hugo...Apparently you cant read, or just don't WANT to read before making asinine comments..this is in CANADA...B.C.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sports Car Owner

    I think there are a few things missing here. NONE of these people arrested for speeding was over 21. So my first punishment would be to take their licenses away till they are 30! From Ferrari to riding the BUS will give them something to think about. Also, if any of those cars belong to mommy or daddy, FINE THEM! I am always floored when a "Parent" gives their kid a car that powerful when they know damn well they don't have the self control not to wreck it! It would be easy as pie to make it so you have to be 25 or 30 years old or older to own a car with that much power. I don't want to see cars like this made illegal and if jack asses like this use them for "Cannon Ball Run" style street racing AND enough people are hurt or killed, you can bet they will become illegal.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. astroboi

    As I understood the article, there is no proof the race ever took place. It's possible the cops interfered before it got started. Now 2 million bucks is a pretty steep fine for "we're pretty sure you intended to break the" As to the poster noting a racer killed people: yes, it's tragic. But how about when the COP kills somebody while chasing a car? The response is often "you made me chase you so it's your fault!" sort of answer. Do they confiscate the cop car? This may also encourage racers to simply steal their cars. What happens to the car then? It's total foolishness: give back the cars and fine the owners whatever amount the law requires. Anyway, wouldn't the drivers licenses be forfeit?

    September 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SIP

    Canada doesn't have "states". Geez.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bert

      "The State" used here refers to the government. It's commonly used regardless of what the country's divisions are called...Jeez, yourself.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Law Student

      The word 'state' does not apply. A province is not a state. Canada is a state. The meaning of 'state' has never applied to the provinces. It's different in the US because they have a concept of 'state sovereignty'. Provincial sovereignty is close, but not quite the same thing.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    Model citizens just like the hockey fans in vancouver

    September 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DM

    Impound for 1 year. That would be a hefty impound fee and you wont appear as sneaky thieves, yourselves. It's a win/win. If you simply take ownership, then you have violated your own contract of trust with the people. Change the laws, sure. But dont simply take others property without warning. They were, in fact, violating the law with known consequences, so you cant just change the law because you think it's more money for you. Bankers around the world violate the law all day long and pay the fines that they know are coming. But if you started seizing banks when the proper consequence is a fine, then your just a lousy commie. Dont put yourselves in league with gangsters. Pay attention to what your really proposing. Good luck.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    Headline....."State trying to seize five high-end cars involved in Canadian street race". State? What state? Canada has provinces not states. Come on CNN. Can't you do better than that.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duke

      "State" can refer to any internally autonomous territorial or political unit. A country is a state. A province is a state. Having said that, I'm sure "state" was used in the headline rather than "province" in order to attract more readers. Many Americans dismiss and tune out non-US news.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Allen Roundtree

    Sounds Like Legal Stealing! I believe it!

    September 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
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