Five of the 13 young drivers who had their high-end vehicles seized after hitting speeds up to 200 kilometres on Highway 99 could lose their cars.
All 13 cars were supposed to be released Thursday after being in an impound lot for seven days. Instead the case has been referred to the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office after the RCMPs Lower Mainland District Traffic Services provided information to the Federal Integrated Proceeds of Crime Section, which evaluated the Sept. 1 incident.
Solicitor General Shirley Bond said five of cars have had their impoundment extended to 30 days while civil action is being pursued.
I think the main message today is there will be serious consequences to pay in situations like this, said Bond. Its only for a lack of enough evidence and a different driving record that we dont see 13 vehicles on this list today.
We believe we will be successful, were hoping, with [forfeiture of] five of these vehicles, she said. It is really about sending a very strong message about acceptable driving behaviour in our province.
Superintendent Norm Gaumont, head of traffic services for the RCMP in the Lower Mainland, said in a release there was not enough evidence against the drivers to proceed with criminal charges.
With the criminal avenue closed to us, we decided to see if there was enough evidence to proceed civilly, said Gaumont.
The Proceeds of Crime unit recommended the Forfeiture Office assess the case for four reasons: the vehicles were by definition street racing, speeds were estimated as high as 200 km/h on roads designed and signposted for 90 km/h, disregard by all the involved drivers for the motoring public and the potential for catastrophic injury or death.
The 13 vehicles, which included a Lamborghini, a Maserati, a Ferrari and an Aston Martin, are estimated to be worth as much as $2 million in total.
Bond did not reveal which five of the 13 vehicles are facing forfeiture, although those details will become public when civil charges proceed something she expects to happen in the next several days or early next week.
The incident itself is fairly shocking when you look at 13 vehicles being involved, she said. I think there will be a significant value to the five vehicles.
Witnesses reported that on September 1 the cars were working together two vehicles would drive side-by-side to slow down traffic so the other cars could race ahead at speeds estimated to be as high as 200 km/h.
Surrey RCMP stopped six of the cars when they left the freeway at King George Boulevard while the other seven were stopped shortly afterward by White Rock RCMP.
The 12 young men and one woman all under 21 years of age and two under 18. Six had full licenses but six were new drivers and one was without a valid Canadian drivers license. Some of the drivers are from Richmond.
They were all given $196 tickets for driving without reasonable considerations, and were supposed to lose six points on their licenses.
They all lost access to their vehicles for a week but five of them may now may lose much more.
Only one of the drivers was the registered owner of their vehicle.
Media reports have indicated some of the drivers were from St. Georges School, a prestigious private facility which has cited privacy concerns in refusing to confirm or deny its students were involved.