03/21/12 — No local cars seized since run and done law passed

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No local cars seized since run and done law passed

By Gary Popp
Published in News on March 21, 2012 1:46 PM

Motorists in Wayne County and across the state found guilty of the felony charge of fleeing to elude arrest may find themselves traveling on foot.

A law signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue in June, which took effect in December, allows law enforcement agencies to take possession of a vehicle driven at the time of the offense if the person is found guilty.

In Wayne County, however, Sheriff Carey Winders said the law will likely have little effect.

"They will be few and far between," Winders said of the number of vehicles that will be subject to seizure by local law enforcement agencies.

He said that since the law has taken effect, only a single case has occurred in Wayne County that could have resulted in the automobile being seized, but it was a rental car.

An automobile is only seized if the fleeing driver is the proper owner of the vehicle, over the age of 19, and has previous convictions or previous or pending motor vehicle violations within three years of the time of the offense.

The law also requires county sheriff's offices to serve as the facilitators of the legwork behind the law, even if the defendant was charged by a police department or the state Highway Patrol.

Winders said the passing of the law has already generated extra paperwork for his office, because even though no vehicles have been seized, plans had to be put in place.

Deputies must oversee the transportation and storage of the vehicle, make sure all involved contractors are compensated, and, in cases that result in the vehicle's permanent seizure, the sheriff's office also must facilitate its sale at a public.

The funds from the sale then will be turned over to county school funds, but only after all liens, storage and sale fees are paid.

According to the state General Statute, a felonious charge of speeding to elude arrest can result when at least two of the following factors occur: speeding in excess of 15 mph over the legal speed limit; gross impairment while driving due to consumption of an impairing substance; reckless driving; negligent driving leading to an accident causing property damage in excess of $1,000 or personal injury; driving with revoked driver's license; passing a stopped school bus; or driving with a child under 12 years of age in the vehicle.