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. Statevstate

    Once again... 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 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • gb2tk

      Actually the proper term should not be state/State, it should be Crown.

      Crown trying to seize five high-end cars involved in Canadian street race

      September 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brick

    Ok, Im not advocating street racing but if you want to stop speeding so bad then why allow a car to be sold to the public that can go that fast? I mean you can have the luxury w/o the speed? I know why...because the government /criminal justice system thrives on dealers selling cars that speed so they can ticket drivers. Its a big money maker. Have you ever been to traffic court...its like a concert of people there!! The fines are riduculous. Rather Canada or the United States this is a problem. And taking peoples cars will not solve it. If you really wanted to do the right thing you would design the laws so that it would guarentee lives would be saved. You know the real criminals are the legislatures that do little to actually solve the problem and everything to make money. And when did street racing become so demonized...the same people who prosecute these crimes now were the same people tryna imulate John Travolta in Grease years ago. Give me a break...everybody wants to get righteous as soon as they've done all their sinning. Fakers.

    September 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Practically any car can exceed 100 mph, if it has enough power to have decent acceleration, it will have enough power to go far beyond the speed limit. Some do have electronic limiting but that is easily bypassed. A lot of these cars are aimed at people who take them to the track on weekends where it's perfectly legal to drive fast.

      The problem is idiot drivers, not fast cars.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LT

    As posted in a previous article:

    Each driver will be charged with Driving without Reasonable Consideration and receive a violation ticket with a specified penalty of $196. Additionally, these drivers will be responsible for all associated towing and storage charges."

    That's because police didn't actually catch them in the act and acted only on witness accounts. They weren't caught on radar, video or seen by a police officer.

    "I know there's a lot of disappointment, wondering why we only charged them with an offence of $196. They fact of the matter is, we have to look at all the evidence we have and what we're able to prove." "That's why we've charged them with driving without due consideration for the public."

    If police were able to charge the 13 drivers with more severe offenses, they could have faced forfeiture of their vehicles, according to a Vancouver Sun report.

    The RCMP said most of the drivers were operating their vehicles on "N" class licenses, which means they had not yet attained full driving privileges. Only one of the drivers was the registered owner of the car they were driving,
    Gaumont told Surrey Now.

    The drivers included 12 men and one woman, according to Surrey Now. Gaumont told the paper they were on their way to have a meal when they decided to race.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    Wow, Canada has Provinces not STATES. Where are they finding these reporters???????????

    September 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. edjube

    Street racing at 120 MPH BFD. Thats pretty slow for racing.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dave C

    If there isn't enough evidence to even write a ticket, how could they possibly justify trying to confiscate a million dollars worth of cars, none of which, apparently, actually belonged to the drivers. Police overreach.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • FormerMarineSgt

      If they can be convicted, ALL Street racers should lose their cars. No exceptions. doesn't matter who owns it – the real owner can sue the dirtbag racer if it wasn't the racer's car.

      Street racers endanger the public EVERY time they race. A couple of uninvolved people get killed every year here in Washington state because of these idiots.

      Street racing needs to be treated as heavily as drunk driving because the risk they put the public in is just as great (if not worse).

      Felony jail time, losing thier drivers license for years and years AND losing thier car is just fine with me.

      September 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • RAMS

      So to anyone who says they should lose their cars because the racing posed a danger to the public, then shouldn't they also confiscate the cars of everyone who has ever been suspected of drunk driving? Of course not....and drunk driving is much more dangerous than street racing....although both are idiotic and dangerous to the innocent public. Street racing needs to be dealt with, but confiscating cars for racing and not DUI is a bs move by police to try to work around the laws....and that is not the job of the police.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Police overreach... exactly correct, Mr. Dave C, exactly correct.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Marine, how on Earth can you seriously condone the state trying to take a third party's vehicle? If someone steals your car, and does something worthy of forfeiture, then the police should keep it? Arguing for forfeiture is about the most ridiculous thing ever, IMO- by no means should the government be able to do anything remotely resembling this.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CannonballRunner

    Put them in a crate and ship them to Hong Kong. But leave the cars.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. j

    There getting more like america every day. Now Canada is prosecuting people for crimes they may have done, or an accident that may have happened.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    No worries; Daddy will replace those cars and Junior will be back racing with his friends before the week is out.

    September 17, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • LV

      You are correct!

      September 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. speedy gonzales

    Police could not prove 120mph. Congrats canadian bystanders with your speedy radar eye vision.

    September 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dealerdog

    Where's your reporter from – the province of Georgia?
    We have provinces in Canada – do your homework!

    September 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • SAELarry1987

      If you are referring to the headline, then maybe you should do some research. State is not referencing the Province of British Columbia. It does however mean the souvern state of either British Columbia, or more likely Canada. Get some education yourself before you tell others to do the same.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SAELarry1987

      Sorry misspelled sovereign. My mistake

      September 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dylan X. Kelly

    Compact the cars; then return them.

    September 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chad

    Stop complaining if you could afford one of these you would speed to that's why we buy them.grow a pair and go after some real criminals like politicians they got million dollar houses.

    September 18, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. fastlane addict

    street racing is for punks. most of them are just loud moths who dont have a clue on how to drive. I say if you want to drive fast go get a racing license. then go to the track and prove you have a set a balls. i drive a 03 firebird with a ls6 with a supercharger. I go to the track on the weekends. the crown should take the cars and make them in to police cars.

    September 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      "racing license" Your a moron. You don't need a "racing license", whatever the hell that is, to go to any NHRA track and drag race. BTW Firebirds SUCK. Mustangs will be kicking your lame GM azz all day long

      September 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Jimmy, you're the idiot. Many places make you get a license for racing. But, you're right though, you don't need much of a license to do the things you mentioned- drive real fast in a straight line? Check. Try to keep this above flame wars, too. Firebirds and Mustangs can both be very fast and very nice.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D Town

    I used to street race, realized my idiot tendencies, (it was fun) but it does cause more harm then good. If you want to race like someone said earlier, go to the track where they have the safety procautions and you can do it legally...the risk and the thrill dont add up...I lowride now, nice and slow....I only offend older people who dont like nice cars...LOL

    September 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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