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. boogietime

    So whatever happened to rule of law? These kids didn't get pulled over by a cop. No cops even saw them speeding let alone street racing.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • jorge washinsen

      I feel sure the rule of law is no racing on public streets there just as it is here. Can their cars and rear ends.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Yeah ... and no cop saw you rob the bank but there was a WITNESS that saw you do it . No cop saw you hit that kid on the bike but the WITNESS saw you do it . Catching on here ?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. my6cents

    Let a few professional drivers use them in a demolition derby. The endangered public can be entertained and the moron owners can see what could have happened if someone wiped out while racing.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gman

      ahahahah, now your idea...I like.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marci

    I clearly do not agree with the behavior of these individuals. They could have taken someone's life. Notwithstanding, forteiture of the vehicles is just going too far!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FindersKeepers

    So when can we find out when these cars will be auctioned off by police???
    I will be first in line to bid $5000 on the Lambo!!!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jorge washinsen

      wonder what the tax would be on the Lambo ?You can bet it will not be based on 5 grand purchase price if it happens.

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

      Bring on the taxes it would still be a steal and a smack in these guys faces to watch their cars get sold for so little. Houses are over-rated anyways, i'll live in the car 🙂

      September 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Buddybrewer

    Only in Canada can they not have enough evidence to convict these street racers. Heck, I drive a 4 cylinder and get higher tickets going half the speed in the US. Canada: why? why are you such a joke?

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

      The police never saw any of the cars racing. They have no video of the cars racing. It's that simple. All they have is people who phoned in saying "Hey I just saw some cars racing." Pretty sad that you need that explained to you.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • LorenR

      Forefeit a car and the police dept gains money so they can hire MORE cops to contiue the cycle. Like a Ponzi scheme. I wish they'd put that effort into stopping IMPORTANT criminal activity – like gangs and drugs. But those don't pay...

      September 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saywhat

      READ the story, you idiots! "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 just didnt have enough for the tougher laws, which is a shame. People that want to race, needs to go on a track. These people should have their cars taken away. This is something that we(in the US) should do.
      Risk your own life, dont risk everybody else's life cause your a DA....

      September 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jono82

      Well in Canada you actually need to be caught speeding to be ticketed for it. They actually weren't even ticketed for speeding. They were ticketed for careless driving. You are making US citizens look bad with your complete lack of understanding.

      Also to the author of this article we have Provinces in Canada, not States, like the article implies.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Colgoya

    Haters.. Don't be jealous of these kids. Be happy with what youuuuu got. It's Pathetic to be suggesting the death penalty or life time suspension.. Kids will be kids.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • you are idiotic

      kids are kids until they kill someone on the road

      September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • WF02

      Racing at that speed is how a lot of kids end up being dead kids. If their lives are worthless to them fine, but stuff like this has the potential to maim or kill others. They should have their vehicles yanked from them.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrea M

      I'm not a hater, nor am I jealous. Personally I prefer DeLoreans, Pintos, and the like though I do have a soft spot for CTSVs and the occasional Corvette and I could easily buy one should I feel the need. I feel these kids should lose their cars though because they were endangering the lives of everyone around them along with their own. In addition, they were clearly rich enough to afford track time and street racing for them was more "let's play Fast and the Furious on a public highway" to them. Rich kids without any care for the fates of others.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Kids will be kids.....just the point only difference is that people's lives are in danger. When one of them gets in an accident and kills themselves, I can just see the parents blame ask the police to do something at that time. Jealous, no. But having them put other's lives in danger much like those bikers doing wheelies on the interstate is just plain stupid. Take their vehicles away.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cielo

      Sure, kids will be kids.... until they kill someone. Street racing is dangerous and not a game. If they want to race, then find a race track.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shawn

    It's all fun and games until a family gets taken out by these people. You can complain about how the punishment is too large for the crime all you want, but it doesn't detract from the fact these punks are playing Russian Roulette with the public.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Al Mellen

    I occasionally raced a car when i was a teenager, never a high end sports car, just a 40 Plymouth or a 50 Ford. I never got caught. I would hate to think i might of had to forfit either of these JUST because of having some fun. I never hurt anyone, i did in fact break the speed laws, BIG DEAL. My children have done the same thing. I was in my late 20s or early 30 going to work one morning as a Firefighter. Another Firefighter and myself raced through downtown Lansing Michigan, past firetrucks that had answered an alarm. These truck were all parked, we did not race past them. Some Police officer heard us coming down the street, he was waving a flashlight as we raced past him...Less than an hour later we were in the Chief's office getting the riot act read to us. Shortly thereafter the cop that had tried to stop us was talking to the two of us at the #1 station. He gave us hell, we apologized. End of story.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Al?

      Glad to hear you taught your children those important lessons. No one got hurt, but they could have. If one of your id iot children would have veered off the road or hit a pedestrian it becomes a big deal real fast. Maybe if one of your grandchildren hits someone, the generation after them will learn an important lesson.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saywhat

      you're another one of those "no harm,no foul" idiots..as a firefighter, you KNOW better...what kind of idiot are you? Lets hope that if your kids are breaking the law, they end themselves without killing someone else....

      September 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    A crack attorney can easily get the cars back. Canadian govt can't take private property for a traffic violation. Authorities are trying to scare these young drivers.

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

      Ditto...how can they legally seize the vehicles when they've already publicly stated they didn't have enough evidence to pursue anything other than a ticket for a moving violation? I certainly don't condone street racing and feel these drivers deserve worse for putting the public in danger, but come on. Just doesn't pass the smell test.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pfft

      Oh yes they can, just ask the two guys who lost their cars racing up Seymour Mountain.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. horf

    Taking their cars is the best way to send a message to street racers. There are so many race tracks they could takes these cars to. Stupid to race on the street, no helmets, etc. BTW, what happens to their car insurance?

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

    CNN: British Columbia is a PROVINCE!! Not a State!!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sergio

    LOL what is this Anarchy imposed by the LAW?? Since when is racing and offence that costs $100,000+. This is the LAW abusing its citizens. I hope you have good lawyers in Canada that can stick it to them.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. humtake

    They were all under 21 and have cars like that? Wow. At least in America kids have to settle for common cars which they can fix up as time goes by. And people say America has spoiled people. Amazing.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nsiteful

    I hope the police realize that civil forfeiture is wrong for several reasons:
    1) Traffic offenses are a civil matter, not criminal. Keep the punishment in line with the offense. An effective $400,000 (average value) fine is grossly out of line considering drunk drivers get slaps on the wrist.
    2) If the reason for forfeiture is that the cars were used in street racing and could be again, then what happens when they're resold and used for street racing again? Its not a solution.
    3) if the reason for forfeiture is that the cars CAN be used in street racing, what is to stop the police from taking all cars off of the sales lots?
    4) Forfeiture is already regularly abused by police and sheriffs in Texas. Look it up. Don't make it worse.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. us1776

    Canada, just change the law to make going 100 kph over the speed limit result in a one year suspension of driving privilege.

    No state should be involved in the seizure of private property.

    .

    September 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
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