'Using their vehicles as weapons': Several arrested after modified car rally in Kitchener
KITCHENER -- Regional police have made several arrests and laid dozens of charges after an organized car rally of modified vehicles in Kitchener.
Officials say the event drew between 250 to 300 vehicles, some from out of region, and happened in the area of Ottawa Street South on Saturday. However, some drivers were reportedly able to meet at other locations in Waterloo Region after they were dispersed.
A total of 26 charges were laid that include dangerous driving, stunt driving, speeding, flight from police, not having insurance, as well as improper mufflers, headlights, and brake lights.
Five people were arrested and charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from police, racing a motor vehicle, and operating a vehicle without insurance.
Police also impounded five vehicles.
“We do appreciate the people modify their vehicles and they want to meet with other similar like-minded people,” said acting staff sergeant Mark Hammer of Waterloo regional police. “What we are doing is we’re trying to target people who put other road users in danger with those modify vehicles. Those vehicles that are done illegally. The vehicles that are done and unsafe.
"These individuals were using their vehicles as weapons."
Police add that further charges are pending as the investigation continues.
Le-anne Pilecki, the owner of Downtown Auto Centre, says she was shocked to see skid marks covering the parking lot when she got in on Monday morning.
She was even more shocked when she checked her surveillance footage and saw a number of vehicles going down Trillium Drive around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, with one driver appearing to lose control.
"I thought I was watching something out of a movie," said Pilecki. "He spun out and you could see the motorcycle behind him veer off to the side and basically avoid the accident."
A fender liner was left at the end of their driveway that she believes came off of the driver's rear bumper.
Pilecki says she believes 30 to 40 vehicles filled the parking lot and dozens more were lined up on Trillium.
"It's a matter of time before something serious happens," she said.
Investigatiors say they aren't sure whether the Ottawa Street rally and the incident at Dowtown Auto are related, but are asking anyone with surveillance footage to come forward.
Waterloo Regional Police Service chief Bryan Larkin says pop up car rallies are putting people at risk and the driving behaviours are unacceptable.