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. embarrass me

    you can race 120 in a camry get a life

    September 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. furreal

    “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,” POINT. take their cars teach the little kids a lesson.

    September 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Louise

    It's illegal to street race in BC... period. Doesn't matter if they own the vehicles, if they break the law as international students they can be deported. It's been done before. If they are citizens, they are open to jail time or fines.
    CNN likely doesn't understand the term "state"... they didn't print one word about the death of opposition leader Jack Layton where the "state" held a "state" funeral.

    September 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ravster

    The state just wants to make money some way..They couldn't press criminal charges against them because of lack of evidence but they have enough evidence to steal their cars..I mean seize their cars..give me break.. Governments are sick in their efforts to rob their citizens of their own property..

    September 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • roger

      Yeah really.. "No regard to traffic" ... Excuse me did they hit any cars? NO?

      Or did they injure anyone??? NO??

      Police injure innocent people all the time.

      September 11, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • roger

      Apparently they consider going 30km over the law where I live above the speed limit racing...... So 30km over 80km/hr is 110km/hr (I'm Canadian)... That is not speed racing.. That is just a stupid law.

      September 11, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. topshelf808

    who won the race?

    September 11, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Bosko

      Who Cares ????? Bookem Dano, and burn the cars.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Bosko

      The minimum driving age should be 30. People younger than that have absolutely no common sense.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • jj

      hey bosko do us af= favor and stfu you are an idiot because i garuntee you drove before 30 so stfu stop talking and get off

      September 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      With the financial resources the drivers have, put them on probation. They would be required to pay for the installation and monitoring of any vehicle they drive with electronics to record all activity. Failure to comply with the statutes involved would show intent to disregard the courts and be justification for removal of driving priviliges for a period determined by the severity of transgression.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • 27andLovingIt

      Bosko, I'm 27 and I'm pretty sure I have a good amount of common sense. You, on the other hand, do not sound like you have an once of it. To group everyone under 30 years of age, just because some teenagers decided to reenact "The Fast and The Furious", is really ignorant of you and shows how small minded you really are. Common sense is not so common.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. RUFFNUTT © ( 15th lvl warrior and pontiac engine builder and lover of widowed elves )

    THAT IS THE TRUE STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD!!!

    September 11, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. JOHN

    British Columbia is a Province and not a State. We have no States in Canada !!

    September 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • BC Reader

      Wouldn't it be nice if the American's knew 1/2 as much about Canadians as we know about them! Especially news writers!!!!! Do your research people!

      September 12, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Nisroc

      I agree and when i read the head line i was thinking what does the US have anything to do with this. Geez CNN get it right for once.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Sockpuppet

      I'm pretty sure they are referring to the word as an adjective:
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/state

      state   [steyt] noun, adjective, verb, stat·ed, stat·ing.

      adjective
      15.
      of or pertaining to the central civil government or authority.

      September 12, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Julian

      My dear, yes we have provinces in Canada but if you really pay attention to our politics, financial plans and everything else including lifestyle, we're much closer to be considered the 52nd state after Puerto rico. Ask harper about asking (begging) obama for some business up here, ask any guy in his 20s about what movies he sees or music he listen to. Even our military is fighting a war where we have nothing to do ! all we have now are nice looking cops (rcmp), some american movies filmed here because they're cheaper, a french speaking province nobody wants and seals.

      Canada is no longer what we used to be 15 years before, a real independent nation.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss T

      Thank you for pointing that out John... You would think CNN would get it right....

      September 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      Thank you John. This is so annoying that a high profile site as CNN cannot get their geography straight!

      September 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nisroc

      Julian in the words of the Americans if you do not like it you are welcome to leave. I also assure you we have more then you feel we have.

      September 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryon

      Althoough I am not an avid supporter of CNN; But maybe they are using "State" to refer to the Govt. Alot of people refer to the State as a higher level of goverment. Just a thought.
      cheers!

      September 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • gummyballz

      HAHA flippin Canadians pull your panties out ur crack.... we dont need to know more than we already do aboot you.. the fact is we simply dont care, after all its Canada we are talking about... this is the most interesting story to come from our gay cousins to north in well over a decade... So just be happy we talk aboot you at all... as the song goes, "it seems that everythings' gone wrong since Canada came along.... Blame Canada Blame Canada!!!"

      September 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maverick

      Hey there John, thanks for sending out the heads up to our buddies across the border. and BTW, gummyballz (?) is this a condition or a state of mind? From your next door neighbours in the north you might want to focus on fixing your own econimic crap there which is affecting everyone else. Or, didn't you learn that i school yawl?

      September 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jew_mo

      But you have floating feet!

      September 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • drh1214

      aaaand guess what? like most of what is going on in Canada. No one cares.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • melody

      The "state" refers to the body politic, not necessarily to a particular area of land. Yes, we have provinces in Canada, but we can still refer to things like "state-run health care" or "duties of the state toward its citizens." Gee, I wish people would learn how the English language works!

      September 14, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lsaguy

    Good for the Mounties! Over indulged little cretins would kill somebody then get Mummie and Daddy to get them off. Maybe this will get them to take notice of their anti social little brats

    September 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      wow! another dumb thing i've heard today!

      September 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • GCDb

      Anit-social? I bet those people are very social, especially since they have/had the cars they do/did. No one with a Maserati or similar car is "anti-social". Those are "Social Status" symbol's

      September 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sober Thought

    In this case, I truly believe the actions of the drivers has been taken care of through the issuance of fines. If the police really wanted to make a statement they could have easily asked all the drivers to attend court and appear before a Justice to answer the allegations of street racing and driving with out due care. In this case, they took the easy route and issued a traffic ticket which is the lowest fine they can give. In BC the p0lice could have issued an Offence Act Appearance Notice with the traffic allegations stated. Then the police and Crown Attorney's could have presented their theory in a provincial court where they can subpoena witnesses to testify on what they observed and how they identified the drivers of the vehicles. I agree with the BC Civil Liberties Association on this one. The Civil Forfeiture process was put into place to deal with persons obtaining wealth from illegal and not to deal with drivers racing their cars on city streets. In this case, there wasn't enough evidence to meet a criminal standard. I want all the drivers to contest their tickets and have the state in this case present all their evidence. Let the traffic process commence and the civil litigation end in this matter.

    September 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Juggernaut

    1 – No criminal charges = give the cars back. Government has no right to acquire if no charges are filed.
    2 – Chances are it was other street racers that snitched on the other ones. Not likely that they had more than 1 non-related civilian write down license plate numbers and call the cops.
    3 – To all the people saying "oh you've never had a speeder crash and affect your life/loved ones..." Yes, I have. I had a drunk driver that was speeding and crashed and killed my cousin. But I still don't think speeding deserves cars being forfeited. The reason that happened is because of him drinking. And that's a whole different story. Give them fines, giving the government that much control is ludicrous, even for Canada (America's Hat)

    September 12, 2011 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Nisroc

      If they can afford cars like that they can afford new ones. I would rather see a scrap goat here than someone such as a new mother, new married couples, old lady who missed the bus or blind man get killed buy these idiots.

      September 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sumday

      This is Canada not the USA- your thoughts about laws are irrelevant in a country different from yours. Their disregard for the safety of others leaves me with no concern at all if their cars are taken. We aren't talking about normal speeding here at 120mph dotted lines become solid and the smallest bumb or over/under correction can result in a deadly crash. I have no care for those individuals at all- if you can't play nice with society then society won't play nice with you.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • observer

      I own a car and i have been over 150MPH with it, because my neighbor saw me do it, that means the police should believe him and take my car? These people are all crappy drivers and because they cant drive fast they believe nobody can either....Hey Grandpa get outta the way and stfu!

      September 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • GCDb

      I agree. No charges = let them keep their cars. If you do it to one, you must do it to all of the others. So if someone else was speeding the day prior, I bet the cops let them keep their car. Or on the other hand, it is a nifty way to raise funds for any government, broke or not. People speed all of the time. No more tickets. If you're caught speeding, they'll take your car and auction it off. Man, that would be one hell of a speeding deterrent and way to raise funds.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chillon

    What an idiotic idea to take their cars for speeding. Although I do like the scare it puts in the young trustfunders.

    September 12, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    pathetic. what if the headline said that the Province was trying to seize five high-end cars involved in US street race...
    learn your countries!!!

    September 12, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Statevstate

    While I am extemely impressed that many of you know the difference between a US state and a Canadian province.... scarcasm intended.

    You do not seem to know the difference between State and state. You all FAIL!

    September 12, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. stupid

    who wouldn't want to seize the those cars, it can be used by the cops to go on a joy ride, oh wait, cops speeding...doesn't exist right? lol

    September 12, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Yuveth

    All under the age of 21 ? It doesn't matter if the state takes their cars.. mom and dad will buy them new ones. Probably not even blink about doing it either.... take the cars.. sell them and use the money to fix up your roads.

    September 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
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