SURREY (NEWS1130) – The trial for a man charged with street racing is underway in Surrey. Gurjit Dhillon is accused of crashing his Corvette into a bench and killing an 83-year-old man in September, 2009.
Despite having tougher street-racing laws implemented several years ago, 40 people have faced such charges since 2008. RCMP Sergeant Pierre Lemaitre says these cases often involve men between the ages of 20 and 25, racing “for the thrill of it.”
“In 2008, we had eight [charged], in 2009 we had 15, in 2010 we were down to 12, and in 2011 we were down to five,” he outlines.
Even though the numbers have gone down, he explains the message about safe driving still isn’t getting through. “[They think] That the laws don’t apply to them, or… they’re such great drivers that nothing will ever happen to them.”
Lemaitre adds if people feel the need to race, there are places to do that, as opposed to residential streets where innocent people are put at risk.
“If you really believe you’re that good a racer, there are certain racetracks right here in the Fraser Valley for example, that tailor to people who want to test their skills,” he says.
Family of a victim calls for tougher consequences
Nina Rivet, whose sister Irene Thorpe was killed in 2000 by a street racer while out for a walk, thinks drivers who are caught should have their licences suspended and face stiff fines.
“Every time I see it in the news, I cry because it just brings back what I went through with Irene. I reach out to the families in hopes that I can give them all the support and help that I can through the system to hold the system accountable to get these guys caught,” she tells us.
She points out the RCMP can only do so much and it’s really up to Crown Counsel to approve tougher charges.