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. canadian

    so who are the idiots who dont know this.....??

    September 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      You're the idiot who does not know this, along with your fellow canadian idiots.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NC828

    Since at least 1955 North Carolina law has authorized the confiscation of vehicles used in prearranged street racing and the more you have actually invested in the vehicle the more you stand to lose since the lienholder has a claim against the proceeds when the vehicle is sold after the owner's conviction.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 8th GradeTeacher

    Many of the post here show how out of control todays youth is. 20 and 30 somethings think they can do anything and get away with it. We need to teach these kids while there is still time. Each deserve several years in prison at the minimum.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • XZenTigerX

      Im confused as to whether you care about the youth or not. Prison is way harsh for this crime that has no actual damages. License suspension for 1.5 to 2 years would be more in line with reason, BUT I GUESS THEY DON'T TEACH REASON AND EQUITY IN THE PFKN 8TH GRADE

      September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marc

    Going as high as 120 mph? Right. I'll put money down they were hitting 150 to 200.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lou

    It's "province", not "state".

    September 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Silly Americans

      September 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd E.

      "State" is correct in this context as it also means "government" or "government body." Don't you all have dictionaries up there? Silly Canadians.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      surely you understand that in this case, "state" refers to government. it could have been referring to the nation of canada and still be correct, you idiot jackwagon.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JAKE

    The death penatly is too good for these highway terrorist.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    "Police fined each of the drivers, 12 men and one woman all under age 21"

    These cars are probably not their only rides, they can afford it.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SKM

    I hope the authorities are successful and wind up confiscating these cars. Slaps on the wrist don't work. You can take away someone's license, but that doesn't stop them from driving. What these idiots did was terribly dangerous and not only to themselves. Let them find out that when you flaunt the laws big time, you pay, big time. I am so tired of hearing about people who do such outrageous, stupid things and get away with it. Someone is always defending irresponsible actions. Enough is enough.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You probably were the snitch type in school. You seem like the type that deserves to get slapped around.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Here's an idea: give these people places where they can LEGALLY street race and perhaps, just PERHAPS... these things won't happen.

      And, let's get real here: when is the last time you heard of someone not in the races getting killed? L O N G TIME AGO!

      So this is not as 'unsafe' as it is made out to be.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Edward Ruiz

    Impound the car and charge fine for racing. The fine should be the sticer price value of the car. Do this every time you. A city will make alot of money. If after three arrest, destroy the car.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Well common sense says dont make these type of cars street legal but juding by your last name you dont have it.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PLEASEDIE

    "oh" and the moderator is a complete liberal idiot! He thinks he has some special power because he can nix views that are not aligned with his day dream of a conformist world that fits his ideals.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    haven't we all done something stupid as teenagers? well the problem is with the parent not the teenagers. if the parent can afford to buy them another one of this toy, what difference does it make if they keep it? these kids were doing what kids do at that age – stupid things. if they want to punish someone it should be the parents,

    September 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tee

    The Government is resorting to thievery now. Pathetic.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      I have to agree in this case.... if they could not issue criminal charges, the fact is that these cars should IMMEDIATELY be returned to these people.

      Perhaps instead of making this illegal, it's time to make it LEGAL at some times on some roads or give people places where they can go to race legally!

      September 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bloopbleep

    They are canadian. haha

    September 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    The law is supposed to be equal for everyone. No criminal conviction, not forfeiture. The state, or in this case province does not have the right to take people's personal property just because they are mad at you.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. viper

    Wonder if they have enough to REVOKE driving privliges (FOR EVER)
    Vehicles now useless.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      No, they don't. The last time they tried something like this (it was in the United States, not British Columbia) the judges came down HARD on that saying that the punishment does not fit the crime or civil offense.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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