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. ashamed canadian

    Before posting the millionth snide "we have provinces" you PLEASE look up the definition of the word state?

    Stop embarrassing yourselves with your desire to be unique!

    September 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. smokinbluebear

    never mind the cops never actually witneesed these kids driving at these speeds–theyve only got witness testimonies... spoiled brats, sure...but the state has no place confiscating a car in which no officer actually witnessed illegal behavior... the cops look like stooges here...arriving after the fact and now trying to steal these cars so they can make payroll...

    September 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bourbonpirate

    Dear Brad Lendon...we are not a state, we are a province..this is either a joke or your just stupid.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      I think you mean "you're". Freaking canadians.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lasso

    Let me get this straight; if someone uses a machine in a way thats considered dangerous then it can be appropriated?

    Thats opening a can of worms that puts everyone at risk, including the people who enforce the law.

    Few if any police ever make it through a shift without creating at least one risk to others that doesn't exceed that of the racing scofflaws. Same for Fire Departments, Ambulance drivers etc.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    Oh Yeah .. take the cars and smash them into little cubes of metal ... so the morons learn a lessons ... these guys have to pay a $1M fine .. to their daddies will not teach them that the car is not for them to ejaculate on it ... while driving ...
    IN the end, these are sad guys ... no way they can appreciate life .. but may be by taking of of their toys away .. they will learn their value ... I hold little hope .. but perhaps they learn something

    September 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |

    cops are loosers..they always wanna get something for free...

    September 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      You're an idiot....

      September 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mustangrider001

    The $196 fine is peanuts to these kids. Remember, all of them were under the age of 21 and for them to have gotten their Driver's Licenses would've involved BC's current graduated licensing system. It is rather unlikely that these kids work jobs that would allow them to buy such expensive "supercars" so quickly after highschool graduation. In recent years, in BC, street racing has seen some horrific accidents involving both pedestrian and driver deaths. It only has been in recent years, too, that the gov't has gotten serious on this issue. The result is the forfeiture action thru the courts. For those naysayers of the forteiture action, the speed limits are as follows in the Metro-Vancouver area where the racers were driving: city streets – 50km/h (30mph); school zones – 30kmh (20mph); RTE1 – 80-100kmh (50-60mph). To think that they were doing in excess of 200kmh (120mph) during rush-hour is sheer recklessness and contempt for other drivers. They deserve what they get.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      StangRider001 – Agreed... the street is no place for this kind of stuff. Maybe 60 years ago on a deserted street in the dead of night... but not now. Even THEN it was dangerous and put people in harms way.

      I too know the need for speed **has a Fox 5.0 Notch**... that is why I TAKE IT TO THE TRACK!

      September 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rob

    my poor car

    September 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tha Chikin

    Food for thought: Could it be they are trying to seize these cars not just to make an example but, because they think Ferrari, Lambo, Austin Martin, Maserati, and lick their chops at how much money they could get by selling them?

    If the vehicles were something other than supercars, I don't think they would be trying to seize them.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      That's stupid. Cars are seized every day from the Government for street racing, you're just hearing about this one because they all happen to be really nice cars, and it makes news.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      I saw a piece of shlt RX8 so keep your trap shut!!

      September 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rob

    we street race here in colorado all the time and we have no problem with the law here i know guys in law enforcement who have hotrods due street racing here in co also. feel the need for speed ! got to leve it

    September 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tim

    This kind of reckless driving is no different than going to a shooting range, and while everyone is shooting at their targets, one person is shooting sideways behind everyone’s head. Sure, if they are careful, they may not kill anyone, but one minor slip, and bodies start dropping. Accidents kill people; kill innocent kids and even babies. Other citizen’s don’t deserve that kind of neglect on the road. They could have easily killed others and themselves. These guys weren’t just flying down a freeway for a few seconds; they were completely disrupting traffic with complete disregard to other drivers. Do they deserve their cars taken from them? Maybe, maybe this is a wakeup call; maybe their government is looking out for their citizens. Maybe this aggressive punishment will echo, and stop others from doing such stupid things, and hopefully will prevent innocent people from being killed.

    If they are so rich, they should have no issues renting out a local track to drive their cars as fast and as reckless as they want, right?

    September 9, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mckinlee

      i no it wright

      September 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rollins

    this is BS! they just wantto squeeze money out of them bcuz they know they can afford it! and just bcuz they can afford it doesnt make it right to try to get money out of them! typical police/government raping wallets!

    September 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      You people sound like idiots when you opine like this ass without knowing what you're talking about... get a clue eh?

      September 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AzHitman

    How did the Royal Mounted Police catch these racers, they must be not so high end or those Mounties have some serious turbos on their horses.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mckinlee

    i was only 3 when it happend so so scary but i wanna praise that all the savers where saved god bless u....................rember 9.11 sad

    September 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. larry

    Maybe they will learn to take their cars to a track day where they won't hurt anyone else. The penalties for reckless driving need to be increased and loss of a vehicle should be automatic.

    September 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
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