The Street Racer – Part 1 – His ‘Get Away’

Several years ago while working in a plainclothes general patrol capacity, my partner and I came up behind three motorcycles and one bright blue Corvette lined up at a red light.  It was obvious the motorcycles were not with the Corvette as the riders were checking out the sports car with some admiration.

The driver of the Corvette noticed them noticing so he inched his car forward to come alongside the nearest rider.  The driver’s side window came down, an arm extended out of the opening, words were exchanged, and the helmeted head of the nearest rider jerked up in the gesture, “What, you wanna go?”

Apparently the Corvette driver did – the light changed to green and all four of them were off, their tires spitting up debris from the roadway to pepper the front of our car.

Our province had just introduced a zero tolerance policy on street racing, and by golly, we had ourselves a street race unfolding right in front of us.

We went after them and so intent were they on their race that not one of them noticed the dark grey, unmarked Crown Victoria bearing down on them.

We clocked them at 100kms/hr, downhill, through a road construction zone (it was after the work day so no work crews were around) and they were still accelerating towards the next red light when we hit the lights and siren.  They had to be stopped before they killed someone.

The motorcycles immediately slowed and started to pull to the side.  The Corvette, on the other hand, made a hard left hand turn down a side street and sped out of sight.  We chose to stay with the motorcycles and radioed in the licence plate and direction of travel on the Corvette.  As several other police units were already headed to the area the Corvette was stopped a couple of blocks away by a responding cruiser. 

By the end of it, after a call to the 24 hour police-only line designated for street racing incidents, the three bike riders were each issued with a driving prohibition (if I recall, each was for 30 days) and got to watch as their motorcycles were slung onto tow truck and impounded.  To give the riders credit, they were polite, cooperative and apologized for their actions.  I almost felt sorry for them, but not quite.  I’ve seen what happens when street races go awry, and it’s devastating when innocent people are killed and maimed. We handed them their prohibitions and sent them away in a taxi.

The Corvette driver was an entirely different story. 

He was arrogant, rude and tried to speak in the volumes of legal-eeze that showed he was a frequent flier in traffic court.  He first refused to hand me his drivers licence, but acceded when he saw there was no point, then he called me sweetheart, and then he said he’d sue me for a ‘wrongful police stop’ and have my job.  In other words, he was annoying.  I mean, really annoying.  But, as I say to others, don’t let it get personal and just do your job.  So we did.  With gritted teeth.

Here was the kicker, though – the Corvette driver held an out of province drivers licence, and at that time, with street racing legislation still in the infant stages, there was no recommendation on what to do in a situation like the one we faced.  A missed loophole stated the street racing legislation was effective only for drivers holding a BC licence.

We ended up issuing the man a ticket and fine for excessive speeding.  That’s all we had the power to do at the time, and somehow it just didn’t sit right.  We had already dealt with the motorcycle riders, and I thought either all of them should get the same prohibition, or none of them.  Keep it fair, right?  The people at the street-racing line let us know they would look into it and would liase with the man’s home province to try and figure out what to do.

We had to let the Corvette driver proceed.  He grinned his smarmy grin, gave us a ta-ta wave with his ticket, buckled up and started his engine.

“I’ll see you ladies in court,” he said, and blew us a kiss as he drove away.


Coming up next in Part 2, read how the traffic court dates unfold and what happens after.

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