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. ArmyCarnage

    political greed, pure and simple, they wouldnt be pursueing it if the vehicles were let us say a '91 camaro with a rebuilt engine, officials want the price tag value of those cars, because obviously if they really had something on the individuals to warrant a real seizure there wouldnt be a contravercy over it in the first place

    September 13, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. gino

    not too familiar with Canadien law but this wouldnt hold up in the states. if these people can afford these cars they can afford high priced lawyers who will get these cars back. how can you justify taking only 5 of the 12 vehicles. Hmmm let me guess none of those other cars didnt have a price tag of over 200k. if you charged all 12 of them with speeding tickets you have to take all 12 not just a select few. i smell a countersuit coming.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. jj

    aggreed the govt is being ridiculous, they have 0 right to take any of the cars, if someone had gotten hurt yes, but no one was, and as gino said, you cant just take 5 of 12 cars thats stupid. ive lost loved ones to idiots who decide to be stupid on highways, interstates and other roads but this is beyond ridiculous, if they do take these cars once again as gino said the govt is probably gona get countersued, please excuse my gramar im using a speach to write program, but this is a violation of human rights, unlawful seizure of property.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. b0bc4t

    Everyone who is concerned with the legality of seizing the cars is obviously disregarding the first violation of law – the speeding / racing on public streets .... take the cars and send the message that the cars are a part of the element of the crime, and if you want your car back... try to deal with the repo men... they are more ruthless than any criminal.
    Just like the illegal immigration issues that those poor immigrants are being harmed, though their crime of entry should be ignored, the subsequent crimes and punishment are all an abuse of power. Wake up and be responsible for your actions, you felt invincible when you were racing down the street . . . how do you feel walking to be with your crew?

    Property seizures are a valuable tool being employed to take assets from drug dealers when seized during commission of a crime, and the mechanism being used in street racing is their high end vehicles – hand them over, like a firearm being used in a shoot out or a robbery – this is, or should be, an element of the crime that becomes Province Property.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. aj

    How do 21 yr olds afford these cars?

    September 14, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Whorhay

      They don't, Mommy and Daddy do.

      I like how the article leads off by comparing illegal street racing to jaywalking. Notice that when you jaywalk you are primarily only risking your own life. In a high speed accident the drivers of these cars are unlikely to die given the safety equipment they come standard with, but they could easily get bystanders killed and cause large amounts of collateral damage.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      Im pretty sure street racing can get you enough money to buy a car

      September 15, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • AjamstA

      @Whorhay, although it may seem jaywalking only hurts the jaywalker, but honestly, if I was driving and saw some idiot walking on the street in front of me, I would swerve. And when you swerve you never know if you will be alright or not, you can lose control of the vehicle, drop coffee on yourself, or swerve into oncoming traffic which can create a pile up. So there you have it.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      The police could just do, what used to been done in mexico... Shut down a decent road in a industrial park and let them race there once a week.... But no no, that would make to much sense and be a simple solution to the problem...

      September 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • pokerplayer

      First Off Canada has Provinces, not States. If the reporter wants to get his point across, at least do a little research on us for pete sakes. Its not like were half way around the world....amatures...Sheesh.

      pp

      September 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    haha, that's what I was thinking.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. superduty

    In the states, the courts could tack on several laws for aggravated speeding among immediate apprehension and loss of license up to 1 year for both, heavy fines for exceeding the speed limit by 25mph, endangerment to public, wreckless driving, increase in insurance or loss of it. It sounds like Canada is too relaxed on speeding.

    September 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • 8_THE_S

      @ superdoody you cant be serious... the WHOLE POINT of the story is that they did not have the EVIDENCE to press any type of criminal charges. The fact that the authorities are pursuing this course of action tells me that they are pretty serious about the whole speeding thing

      September 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Malik

    Well if they want to take the cars, they should also take over the payments. I doubt these cars are all paid for. Some of them are 2010/2011 models, so I'm pretty sure they are way upside down on the loans. I'd be happy to dump them on the gub'mint, then go finance a 2012 model. Thanks!

    September 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adercoop

      Duh...where do these kids get their cars? I seriously doubt any bank is going to let an 18yo kid finance a $200k car. Use your head, its their parent's money.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowan

      Wrong! If they are reckless enough to race these cars on the public streets, they deserve to have to continue making the payments if the government keeps the cars. And let it be a lesson the mommy and daddy about handing over such expensive toys!

      September 16, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. o'possum

    Death for speeding...wow how about the death penalty for being ridiculous? We don't have the death penalty here in Canada, a very big fine and a swift kick in the ass by the old man would do wonders for these little princes and princess

    September 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. o'possum

    We should send them to Toronto to watch the Leafs all year...that'l slow them down to the point where they beg for forgiveness

    September 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Keith Ward

    o'possum

    Thank you. I'm still chuckling

    September 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. justme

    Just another bunch of rich kids who think the rules don't apply to them. If they don't take the cars, they should at least take their licenses and pass new legislation so the next group of street racers will lose the cars.

    And comparing street racing to jaywalking is asinine. No matter how fast a pedestrian goes, I don't think they can wipe out an entire family if they lose control. Street racers tend to kill bystanders more often than the drivers die.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • CannonballRunner

      Huh? Rules apply to rich kids?

      September 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      I had a friend in highschool who went 115 mph in his mom's Taurus. It's not just rich kids doing this, and it's not just exotic cars. There are idiots in all walks of life, doesn't mean it's ok for the government to steal their property.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brad

    I love how they say the "state" will take the cars. Canada has no states.......

    September 15, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. J

    they drive around expensive cars the least you can do is let them have a little fun.. have more respect for the cars n the fact that you people cant drive around anything else other than a prius dont mean you gotta b haten on others with real power under there hood

    September 15, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Sasquatch

      your an idiot, why don't you go back to your little honda with a fart can and cold air intake and keep pretending you got real power. IT"S GOT A VTEC BRO. keep dreaming about that real power you speak of. If they want to race take it to the track like every one else does. And before you jump on me i drive a 2010 dodge challenger with a Kenne Bell supercharger on it pushing over 600 hp to the wheels, I race it at the track. Learned my lesson the hard way and wrapped my car around a tree while i was street racing, luckly i didn't hurt anyone but myself and the car.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Anoynomus

    Province trying to seize NOT state, who ever wrote the stroy needs to check the facts, because Canada does not have states!

    September 15, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
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