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. Brent

    British Columbia is a province – not a state.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Samuel

    British Columbia is a Province, not a State.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. choppy

    what would have been the punishment in china had these idiots been caught there? i am sure they would not get a pittance of a fine but rather a more harsh, maybe severe consequence!!!!

    September 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brent

    Street racing is street racing. They got caught and are now paying the price. Sure its outrageous, but an example needs to be set. If we slap them on the wrist with a small fine and send them on their way, then they haven't learned anything and everyone else will think its OK, its just a fine. Another fine example of the law system in action yet again, doing nothing!

    September 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshall

      Street racing is a crime. They did NOT get caught street racing, which is why the police aren't charging them with committing any crime.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rob

    If those go up auction, I want in!

    September 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don_J

      ...you'll need more than a few bucks to get on of those.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ryan

    British Columbia is a province, not a "state". Thanks for coming out...

    September 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Was just going to point that out too. We're a little myopic in the lower 48.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Joker

    Look what happens when you don't constrain police power adequately. Whatever the speeding charge, a million dollar fine is cruel and unusual punishment. The cops are either a) greedy or b) contemptuous of the rights of their citizens.
    This is why the NSA is banned from operating in the USA (or has that changed?) and why 'Probable Cause" was invented.
    Qui custodiat custodies?

    September 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      Don't race. How hard can that be. Police need power and this is an excellent example.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      Let me clarify, it is not police power, it is law that you question.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rrrrr

      Maybe they want to race.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarge6996

      Really? I think it's a fair deal. You break the law and there is consequences. Plus,check your facts before you speak, the NSA is allowed domestic surveillance, whereas the CIA is forbidden to do anything in the country.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • CanadaGoddess

      Up here in the PROVINCE of British Columbia, the popular opinion is that the provincial authorities should indeed confiscate the vehicles, sell them off, and the proceeds will fund certain needs for victims of crime. Street racing has had horrendous consequences up here, and frankly we are sick of it. If you can't afford to pay, then you can't afford to play. Works for me. And, why does an 18 year old kid have a Lamborghini registered in his name? Something is not right with that scenario.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOH

      Street racing is fun... but totally disregard other people's safety and human lives. You want to put a price on human life? Go ahead. If this actually goes through, I could care less bunch of spoiled rich kids who had it all handed to them because they were born under some wealthy people get their cars "unfairly" impounded. I live in an area where there are a lot of Porsches, Lambos, and Ferrari's because the people that live in the cliffs are extremely wealth while a block away lives the poorest people in the county. A woman on her iPhone while driving a nice S-class Mercedes hit a 15 year old kid and she ran away. She was charged with a ticket and the kid couldn't press charges for some odd reason. Meanwhile, about two miles away and a few months ago, a person driving a beaten up old Chevrolette car hits another guy, 19 years old, who was literally screwin around trying to have crazy fun. The guy driving the Chevy stayed and the 19 year old's parents happened to be a federal judge. They pressed charges and the guy, who could barely afford to pay for his kids college, let alone pay for food for his family, is stuck with a 200,000 fine.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. victoria

    uder 21 and driving these cars?! wow spoiled brats..

    September 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. whodathunk

    one car speeding over 100mph = lose your license for 6 months
    two or more cares speeding over 100mph = lose your car, and your license for 12 months

    sounds fair to me. pretty easy to avoid. not exactly jaywalking

    September 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rub

    Give the cars back and have lawyers put a life time legal claus on there heads!

    must buy 5 million dollar ins policy for anyone they hurt or kill .

    paid in full and the claus of life in prison if they survive there wreck!

    rub out.

    mom and dad would put end to racing QUICK!!

    September 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brent

    First – 120 is not that fast at all, especially for those cars. Sounds more like a Sunday cruise. Second – In Ohio, USA, two police were pulled over for driving separate personal vehicles 145 mph (this wasn't considered racing). These police received a fine and went back to work arresting the rest of us for speeding.

    Lots of disparity going on.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Duncan

    My 2¢:
    A) it's not a State, it's a Province. Or are you referring to Canada's Socialist ideals?
    B) People have been dying here because of street racing. That's why the punishment is so steep for getting caught. But the police have been known to abuse the law by threatening speeders with confiscation of their vehicle.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    I think it's right to confiscate the cars. If we are talking about fairness, $196 is two days pay for me. To fine someone in a Ferrari $196 is like fining me a quarter for speeding. It's not punishment if it doesn't hurt them. Take the cars and let them explain to dad why his Ferrari is missing.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mickrock

    State?!?!? Ummm... I think a fact check is in order.
    Here's a hint: It's Canada, we have Provinces not States, unless you guys are planning an invasion soon.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don_J

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

    I don't know but it would sure send one helluva message to other street racers... "...fore warned is fair game."

    September 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
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