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. JAKE

    These kids sound like a bunch of hippies. Only hippies and toothless inbred rednecks race cars on the road. Plus they have small weenies.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeffinIL

      Hippies? Are you 90 years old or something?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eldono

    Why is this being made into such a big deal? Is it because the cars are so costly? There's street racing every weekend in LA. Remember the movie "Rebel Without a Cause"? IF they think they can impound the cars, they should be able to do something to the kids. Unless, of course, the laws in BC are that different than down here in the lower 48.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JeffinIL

    Some Mounties want a hot, sweet ride, eh?

    September 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. eldono

    Hippies race like this? That makes no sense. What is your evidence?

    September 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. momo0828

    I see a larger story here. Perhaps they seized those five cars because they could turn around and sell them for a healthy profit for their annual budgets.I mean 5 million dollars is substantial amount of money for any budget, don't you think? If this gimmick is successful and they are able to keep the cars, do not be surprised if politicians in the US exercise this gimmick as well. You just might want to disable your OnStar service just in case.

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

      If they are caught street racing – take away the car. if they are convicted of street racing, they lose the car AND spend time in jail.

      These idiots risk the lives of innocent people very time they race. They don't care about the innocent public, so I don't care about what's fair to them.

      They should also have to pay all costs associated with thier arrest, conviction and the costs of selling the vehicle.

      AND once convicted they should lose thier drivers license for a reasonably long period – such as 1 year on the first offense, 5 years on the second and lifetime ban from driving on the third.

      Only when it becomes too costly for the racer will they stop breaking the law.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lochan

    *Province wants to seize cars

    September 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      That was my first thought too, but seeing it's the RCMP I believe they're using the term "state" in the other sense of the word meaning sovereignty or country. Yes English is a funny language that way.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Snoop

    I have no problem with this. What if they had killed someone? I think they should also seize vehicles of anyone convicted of an accident-causing DUI.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ross

      If they do that then how are you supposed to get to work and pay your bills exactly? People make stupid choices but life still goes on. They can't put you & your family out on the street for one mistake.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chriz

      @Ross: Dropping a frying pan on the floor is a mistake. Driving at very high speed on the highway when there's plenty of signs specifying the speed limit doesn't fall into that category. That's the major problem with the justice today. A lot of people qualify real criminal situations of "mistakes" and "accidents".

      September 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KY- from Vancouver

    They were not just racing, they were on a major hwy in rush hour, with 2 cars driving slow to hold the traffic up, then the rest racing, not just for a mile or 2, but for like 20...all new drivers.
    A few years ago in the same city a street racer t boned a cop car, killing the cop, then he left the scene...ended up with like a year in jail...
    These were Rich kids sent to Canada from Hong Kong, all attend a expensive private school. Take the cars away and parents will send money from Hong kong for a new one...

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

    I think it was wrong to be going that fast, but I think it is even more wrong to take these cars. They got ticketed already you gave back some cars and kept the most exspensive ones. They are just revenue seeking !!! They were not caught in the act you can not seize cars on second hand information. If it was a pinto going 120 you would not bother to seize it. would you

    September 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • FormerMarineSgt

      Anyone caught and proven to be street racing should lose thier car automatically. Even a Pinto.

      Street racers risk the lives of innocent people daily. That calous carelessness deserves a punishment of equal size. Take away thier racer and put the money into the police budget.

      I don't care how 'safe' these idiots think they are. If they race on open public streets, they need to lose big time. Otherwise, which innocent person do you want killed or maimed by these idiots? You? Me? You wife/husband? Your child? Who's next?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FormerMarineSgt

    Street racers who risk everyone elses lives for thier few moments of adreniline high need to have thier cars impounded and sold at auction with the proceeds going to pay for the police.

    These morons endanger everyone else on the road and quite often end up killing innocent uninvolved drivers. The punishment of losing thier car is hardly enough for the risk they put innocent people in.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Righteous1

    I think we should open I-80 between Fernley to Wendover and set the speed limit at 120 miles/h. The road is safe and this would attract divers from all over the continent, bring in cash to local communities

    September 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bubba

    I say.... after you keep the 5, SEND THEM TO A CRUSHER just to make a point. AND follow it up with the statement that every confiscated car used in street racing will be crushed.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DEKE

    YEAH. They do sound like dirty long haired hippies.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    The cops are trying to steal these vehicles. Bottom line.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gorgon

    I guess these fools musta watched too much Fast and Furious??? All under the age of 21...that's scary. Just cause you can drive one on Xbox doesn't mean you can drive in real life.

    120mph in these cars? That was the best any of these fools could eek out of those rides...even during traffic. Not to brag, but I've been in lesser cars that closed in on 145.

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