An 18-year-old stopped by the Ontario Provincial Police after being clocked driving 308 km/h on a busy highway reportedly told the officer who pulled him over he was “comfortable” doing three times the speed limit, despite the fact he still doesn’t have his full licence.
The accused adult teen from Etobicoke, Ont., is a G2 driver, according to provincial police, meaning he needs to pass a road test before earning his full G licence.
Still, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said he gave the officer who caught him speeding the impression he felt confident behind the wheel of his parents’ Mercedes C 63 AMG.
“There was some sort of comment … that he was involved in maybe some track-type driving or even racing on tracks and that this is something he thought he was comfortable with performing,” explained Schmidt, adding the teen told the officer at the scene the vehicle was capable of those speeds and “even more if [he] wanted to.”
“He made it sound like this was something that was not completely atypical for him.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford used a different word to describe the teen’s driving.
“That was reckless for that young man to do that. He put himself in jeopardy,” he said when asked about the incident during a media update Monday.
Provincial police initially said the accused was 19, but in a tweet posted Monday evening clarified he is actually 18.
His licence was suspended for seven days and the car impounded for the same period of time after he and his 19-year-old passenger were pulled over while heading west along the Queen Elizabeth Way in Burlington around 10 p.m. ET Saturday.
He’s also charged with stunt and dangerous driving, said Schmidt.
In a video posted on Twitter Sunday, the veteran OPP officer said 308 km/h was the “fastest speed that I’ve ever heard of” and could have led to the “most devastating, fatal crash ever.”
308 km/h on the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/QEW?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#QEW</a>. Two 19 year kids going for a “drive” with dads car. Driver charged with <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StreetRacing?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StreetRacing</a> <a href=”https://t.co/iDw5r7nEB9″>https://t.co/iDw5r7nEB9</a>
Ford said he didn’t even realize cars could hit those speeds.
“Thank God he’s alive and thank God his friend’s alive,” said the premier. “I understand he made a mistake and hopefully he’ll never do it again.”
During a phone interview Monday morning, Schmidt said when he was first sent a photo of the officer’s radar gun showing the speed he assumed it was a joke.
“I never expected those kinds of numbers to be seen on a highway with a car,” he explained. “Those are speeds more likened to jets taking off or landing.”
The figure has raised questions about possible modifications that would allow a vehicle to hit that speed, which the OPP compared to something you’d typically see on a race track.
Schmidt said he wasn’t aware of any performance enhancements and that investigators are looking into those concerns.
Police are sure of one thing.
“There’s no doubt that the speed reading we measured was absolutely accurate,” said Schmidt.
At that speed a driver would have very little time to react to road conditions or obstacles, he added. Not to mention a vehicle coming out of nowhere and “blowing the doors off” other drivers could cause them to jerk the wheel and crash.
An officer with the Burlington detachment who was stopped on the side of the highway trained his laser on the car speeding in the dark from about 500 metres away, said Schmidt.
When he saw the speed he flicked on his lights and pulled out, keeping an eye on the Mercedes as it closed the gap.
“This was not a pursuit in any way. We were not travelling at those kinds of speeds to catch up to the vehicle,” said Schmidt. “Fortunately the driver of that vehicle came to a controlled stop without incident.”
‘Throw the book at these people’
Stunt driving carries a maximum fine of $10,000, can lead to six months behind bars and a two-year licence suspension.
Dangerous driving can result in up to 10 years in prison in cases that cause bodily harm or death, according to the officer.
“You’ve got to throw the book at these people because they’re putting everyone’s lives in jeopardy when they do something that reckless and careless,” said Ford.
The premier added he supports extending the automatic roadside licence suspension and vehicle impound from the current seven days to 30, or more.
“Especially [for] that young gentleman and it should even be longer than 30 days of suspension, someone going 200 kilometres over the speed limit. That’s staggering.”
Schmidt pointed out the Etobicoke teen is far from the only driver to be stopped for speeding and aggressive driving.
The OPP takes about 15 cars off the road every day in the Toronto area alone, he said.
Another teen, this time a 19-year-old, was pulled over by the OPP was charged with stunt driving Monday after allegedly hitting 207 km/h on Highway 403.
207km/h – Another 19 year old driver charged with <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StuntDriving?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StuntDriving</a> after being stopped on <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/HWY403?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#HWY403</a> today. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/7DayLicenceSuspension?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#7DayLicenceSuspension</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/7DayVehicleImpound?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#7DayVehicleImpound</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/slowdown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#slowdown</a>.^td <a href=”https://t.co/E5Wc2gCcof”>pic.twitter.com/E5Wc2gCcof</a>
“I don’t know what else can be done, short of public education and additional social-type messaging where we make this unacceptable and uncool,” said Schmidt.
“If they could all attend the scenes that I attend when someone has been killed in an aggressive driving collision, that might change their perspective a little bit.”