Street racing can be murder.

The theory of “Implied Malice”

Let’s get one thing straight,
you’re not a “street racer.” “Street racers” are those out of control
young guys who mostly drive Japanese “rice rockets.” They stage those dangerous late night
illegal drags races with crowds of spectators.   You hate those guys because they often give
real “car guys,” like you, a bad name. You know what happens when the cops catch them, they
get arrested and their cars get crushed, and that’s fine with you.  Those “street racers” are a
menace to the public and you think the cops should nail them whenever they can.

You’re fifty-something and a pretty regular “car guy.”  Sure you got a few speeding tickets back
when you were a kid, but what car guy didn’t?  You have always loved muscle cars and last
year you treated yourself to a ZO6 Corvette.  Sure nobody needs more than the 500 stock
horsepower, but you still had to add the after-market exhaust, the high flow intake and a high-
performance computer chip. That’s what car guys do. You’re not going to race it, maybe just
some car shows.  

One day you’re out driving and pull up to a red light. Up next to you pulls a new Dodge Charger
SRT-8. The driver looks over at you, some guy, mid 30’s, you don’t know him but you know
what he’s thinking.  The lights turn green and you just do a quick jump to show him what a ZO6
can do.  He stands on it too, but you still pull him by a few feet. You quickly back off at about
fifty, not too fast, but the other guy stays on it. The guy is about a block ahead, doing maybe
ninety, when he hits the mini-van. The mom driving failed to judge his speed and changed into
his lane ahead of him.  The impact spreads fire and debris across six lanes of traffic. You stop
to help, but the guy driving the Dodge, the 28 year-old mom, her 9 year-old son, and her 4 year-
old daughter are all dead.   

What was that stupid guy thinking?   It was terrible accident, but at least you weren’t involved!  
Reality check, in the eyes of the law and public, you engaged in an “impromptu street race”
and you are involved!  

Based on witness accounts, the police will arrest you and you will be charged with at least four
counts of second-degree murder, and you will certainly be sued for financial damages by the
families of the victims, including the family of the guy driving the Dodge.  

Your life, as you know it, is over….

The theory of “Implied Malice” is simple. If you engage in an activity that you know is illegal and
potentially dangerous, then you are held responsible for any negative results.

Think of it this way, you’re the get-away driver in bank robbery.  If any one dies in the heist
(even one of your own gang and even though you’re outside in the car) you’re charged with

Prosecutors are now applying the same theory of “Implied Malice” to street racing.  

Citrus Heights, Calif. - Investigators said the two cars were engaging in a street race when one
of the drivers lost control of his car and slammed into a tree. The guy driving was killed and his
passenger was badly injured.
Although the other driver was not involved in the actual crash, he was charged with murder in
the death of the other driver. The D.A. office is seeking a prison term of 15 years to life.

The D.A.'s office has filed second-degree murder charges in similar cases in the past and won.
A spokesperson said the fact that the race reached speeds of 70 to 80 miles an hour and took
place on a busy stretch of road shows that the racers demonstrated a conscious disregard for
human life with “malice implied”.
Charlotte, N.C. - A 44 year-old mother who turned herself in to police and admitted to driving a
car involved in a deadly street race has been charged with three counts of second-degree

Police said she was racing her Camaro against 20-year-old male earlier this month when he
crashed into another car, killing a woman, and her 2-year-old daughter.

The male faces three counts of second-degree murder and, although not involved in the crash,
the female is also facing three counts of second-degree murder. The Judge set her bond at $3
million dollars.

El Monte, California– Two guys, both friends, were racing when one car swerved across lanes,
traveled across the center median into opposing traffic and crashed into another car. The guy
was killed and four people inside the other car were seriously injured.

The other guy, who was not physically involved in the crash, was charged with one count of
murder; one count of vehicular manslaughter and four counts of reckless driving causing injury
– all felonies. Prosecutors asked for bail set at $1.1 million.

Australia- A Court found that a guy had “incited” the street race in which the other guy struck a
tree, instantly killing his two occupants.

A jury found the surviving racer guilty of the death of the passengers in the other car and guilty
of reckless conduct endangering the life of the other racer.

The Judge accepted the man’s behavior was out of character and unlikely to happen again,
however, the Judge said the sentence served as a general deterrence and that this was an
important consideration in the sentencing.
The guy was jailed for four years and eight months.

Orange County, California- Two motorcyclists racing each other on the freeway caused an
accident that killed a driver on the road north of Portola Parkway. The victim, identified as 46-
year-old Andrew Parker, was reportedly rear-ended by one of the motorcyclists. Parker died on
the scene.

Officials say the two motorcyclists were racing when one of the riders on a Yamaha slammed
into Parker’s vehicle. The impact of the crash caused Parker to lose control, go off the road,
roll over, and crash into a light pole. The motorcyclist who hit Parker is also reportedly in
serious condition in a local hospital with major injuries. California Highway Patrol investigators
are looking for the other motorcyclist who fled the scene.

Both motorcyclists will face a charge of criminal vehicular manslaughter, and attorneys for
Parker’s family said that they are both financially liable for the wrongful death.

Unfortunately, many of us are living in the past.  We remember the “good old days” of cruising.  
You know, “American Graffiti,” Woodward  Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard, where stop light
to stop light drag races were common, if not down- right American.  

Well, things are different now!  If the last street race from “American Graffiti” occurred today
and the guy who crashed the ’55 Chevy (a young Harrison Ford)  or his passenger had died,
John Milner would be in prison for second-degree murder and his ’32 Ford Coupe, along with
all his other assets, would be gone!

So the next time you’re out driving your toy, feeling frisky, and somebody that thinks they’re
fast pulls up next to you, look over at the guy and ask yourself, “Am I really going to chance
going to prison and losing all my financial assets by racing that guy?!!”

For all of our sakes, I hope not.  

Officer Sean Reinhardt                                                                                                                        818-885-7779