Skip to comments.Crushing blow to street racing
Posted on 06/21/2007 4:48:29 PM PDT by radar101
RIALTO - Charles Hoang shook his head and paced as he watched window glass cascade to the ground, tires burst and metal crumple. The 18-year-old Chino man wasn't watching his own vehicle being crushed into a brick of scrap metal, but he knew it would soon be his car's turn.
"I want to cry right now," he said. Hoang's 1998 Acura Integra GSR was seized by Ontario police several months ago when he was caught street racing along Airport Drive. On Wednesday, police destroyed the car he spent a year and thousands of dollars building from the ground up.
He was one of six people whose vehicles were crushed at Ecology Auto Parts in Rialto through the area's San Bernardino County Regional Street Racing Task Force.
It's an operation run by numerous law enforcement agencies including the California Highway Patrol, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, as well as the Fontana, Chino, Upland, Ontario Airport and Montclair police departments.
Police are able to destroy the vehicles through court orders.
Ontario police say the program has reduced the number of street racers coming to the area by 80 percent in the past two years. Fatal and injury crashes caused by street racing have also declined, police said.
Five of the vehicles were seized not because their owners were street racing, but because they contained stolen engines and transmissions, police said.
Daniel Maldonado snapped digital photos as he watched his black 1992 Honda Civic being crushed.
"It's my life in there," he said. "That's all my money. That's all I've worked for."
His transmission didn't have an identification number. Police said it had been stolen. But Maldonado said he didn't know that and that older Japanese cars have ID stickers that can fall off.
Ontario police Cpl. Jeff Higbee said that's not possible.
Older Japanese cars bought in Japan and brought to the United States may have that problem, but American manufacturers affix mylar stickers to Japanese car parts.
"If they're not there, they've been removed by the owner," he said.
Ontario police pulled over Sergio Zavala in Ontario last year for a burned-out headlight. When officers popped open the hood of his 1993 Honda Civic, they also saw an engine with no identification number.
He later replaced that engine, but the new one also had no ID number on it. He said he didn't have the time or money to go shopping around for an engine.
But having his car seized was enough of a reality check.
"In the end, it's not worth it," he said.
Some of the vehicle owners lost a lot more than their wheels.
After Hoang's car was seized, he got fired from his job because no one would give him a ride to work. He was kicked out of school because the long walk made him late too many times, he said.
But he has plans to start over on a new car. This time, he says he doesn't plan to race unless he's on a legal track.
"It was worth it," he said. "I have no regrets. I'll live and learn."
Contact writer Melissa Pinion-Whitt at (909) 386-3878 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Your papuz, pleez! Not having an ID sticker on your engine is sufficient evidence to sieze it? I realize it seems suspicious, but since when is it my responsibility to make sure there are serial numbers on everything I own? Let them make the case. Strong than “police say it was stolen”. If it didn’t have an ID, how could they possibly know that?
And besides, even if they could prove the engine was stolen, how does that justify seizing the rest of the car?
Oops, sorry! My post was for radar101.
“older Japanese cars have ID stickers that can fall off.”
I’m sure they “fall off.”
“Ontario police say the program has reduced the number of street racers coming to the area by 80 percent in the past two years”
“After Hoang’s car was seized, he got fired from his job because no one would give him a ride to work. He was kicked out of school because the long walk made him late too many times, he said.”
He should have stuck to video games and wanking in his mom’s basement.
Ricers don’t get to steal stuff or buy stolen property any more than the rest of us do. No ID number on an engine means it’s stolen.
Even if he admits he removed it so what? It’s the police’s job to prosecute crime, not our obligation as their employers to prove our innocence. The burden of proof is theirs.
Sounds like “racial profiling” of Japanese cars ! /sarc
I removed the “do not remove” sticker from my mattress and pillows. I suppose the police will show up and confiscate them?
I wouldn’t go so far as to say it “means it’s stolen”. It’s certainly a red flag, but absent other evidence, not enough to prove anything. That’s the problem with these asset seizures, they do an end run around due process. If they want to prosecute him for a crime, and are convincing enough to get a conviction, then I have no problem with the seizure of the property being part of the sentence, which could also include jail time, restitution, etc.
It sounds like they are using a technicaltity to cut down on street racing.
I see your point, that he could, in theory, remove the ID stickers. But in CA, don’t they check various VIN numbers as part of the vehicle inspection?
Having these rice rockets running amuck and endangering the public is enough evidence to seize them. Its like taking the gun out of the rabid criminals hand, which should have been done before the Virginia Tech massicer.
It doesn’t. We give more due process to terrorists and their sycophants..
I don’t think they do regular inspections in CA, except at title transfer. And anyway, VIN is not at issue here, they’re saying if an individual component in the car has no serial (not has a stolen one, but just a missing one), it justifies seizing the entire car.
But he wasn’t caught dragging, he was caught in possession of a car part (admittedly a major subcomponent) without a serial number. Is there a rash of deaths attributed to untraceable transmissions that I don’t know about?
If the legislature thinks they can get away with it politically, let them put this in the criminal code, which would require a trial using due process, and would also force it do be done by people who have to stand for reelection.
I’m not an “at any cost” libertarian, but this seems awfully draconian to me. I could see a hefty fine because it’s dangerous and illegal, but not confiscation and destruction.
You gotta be kidding me...granted, my contemporaries were more into Chevelles, Chargers, GTO's and the like. If they are racing, or driving recklessly, that's against the law and should be cited. I'm not very comfortable with the whole "you don't have the magic sticker, so we're going to crush your vehicle".
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