"IT HAPPENS MORE THAN YOU THINK"
VERNON - The Corvette was supposed to go in to the shop for a simple adjustment. Instead, it was taken out for a joy ride by the mechanic who was caught by police driving 160 km/h, says an Okanagan race car enthusiast.
Bill Emblau says a friend of his, who is not speaking publicly about the incident himself, took a red 2015 Corvette to a mechanic in Vernon last month for a wheel realignment.
“He specifically told them ‘I’ve been tracking the vehicle all weekend and I’ve got no brakes left. It was metal to metal brakes. He said ‘do not drive this thing,’” Emblau says. “Two hours later the shop called and said ‘your car’s been impounded. Call our lawyers.”
The car was caught by police turning onto Highway 97 from 27 Street and quickly accelerating to 160 km/h — 70 kms/h over the posted speed limit. The driver is facing charges of excessive speeding and failing to produce a driver’s license. The Corvette was impounded for seven days.
“My friend was flabbergasted,” Emblau says.
While somewhat surprised himself, Emblau says it’s not the first time he’s heard of mechanics taking high end cars on joy rides. He’s part of an international Camaro club and says two members have had similar experiences in recent years. Both had dash cams on the vehicles, which is how they found out the cars were taken out for more than just a test drive, Emblau says.
“When you think about it, it would be pretty hard if a customer brings in a 700 horsepower vehicle to resist taking it out for a rip if you don’t have one,” Emblau admits.
But, when you take your car in for a professional service, that should never happen, Emblau says.
“You do do not take a customer’s car out and abuse it,” he says.
Not only was it dangerous for the mechanic to take his friend’s car out when it had no brakes, Emblau says it created a huge hassle in getting the vehicle back from the impound lot.
Emblau, who races at the Thunder Mountain Raceway in Kelowna, says he always takes a picture of his odometer and shows it to the dealership before any work is done on his Camaro to ensure it isn't taken out for a spin and damaged.
“As crazy as it is, it happens more than you think with the supercars,” he says.
We reached out to the RCMP to confirm details of this story that were not provided in the original media release. A spokesperson has said they are looking into the file.
Emblau did not wish to name the car shop.
— This story was updated at 6:47 a.m. Dec. 7, 2016 to correct the horsepower of the vehicle to 700 and correctly spell the word brake. Thanks to readers for pointing out the errors.
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