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GM Employees Jailed for Racing C8 Corvettes on the Street

Automobile logo Automobile 1/10/2020 Mac Morrison
a car parked on the side of a road: 2020-Chevrolet-Corvette-Coupe-MotorTrend-Car-of-the-Year-2.jpg

We can attest to how much fun it is to drive the all-new 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray, a car that needs a racetrack to exploit its full potential. The latter is especially worth remembering the next time you're tempted to seriously drop the hammer on public streets, in any car—a lesson two General Motors employees learned the hard way this week when they were arrested for apparently "racing" two new C8 Corvettes in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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According to Kentucky State Police, a trooper stopped Alexander Thim and Mark Derkatz on the evening of Wednesday, January 8, on Lovers Lane in Bowling Green, for exceeding the posted 45-mph speed limit by more than 26 mph, reckless driving, and racing motor vehicles on a public road. Automobile has not yet been able to verify just how much higher than 71 mph the cars were traveling when police nailed them and hauled the drivers away. (Exceeding the speed limit by 26 mph is simply Kentucky's standard under its driver's license points system to trigger a hearing and a possible suspension; it does not mean the cars were clocked at precisely 71 mph, or 26 mph more than the posted 45-mph limit.)

a fire truck at night: Corvette C8 Street Racing Screenshot© Automobile Magazine Staff Corvette C8 Street Racing Screenshot

According to the employees' LinkedIn profiles, Thim is a CAE (computer aided engineering) engineer working on induction and exhaust systems, and Merkatz is an electrical engineer. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

"We are aware of an incident involving our test vehicles and are currently investigating," GM noted in a statement provided to Automobile. "Safety remains our overriding priority at General Motors. We have no further comment at this time."

a car parked on the side of a road© Automobile Magazine Staff

As for the Corvettes, police enlisted two towing companies to remove them from the scene and deposit them at a tow lot, where a police representative said the vehicles were collected the next day "by the owner," presumably representatives of General Motors. Per GM's statement, it is unknown whether Thim and Merkatz remain employed with the company.

The situation is particularly embarrassing for the Corvette brand, as it is tied closely to the Bowling Green community: The city is home to Chevrolet's Corvette manufacturing plant as well as the National Corvette Museum.

Remember, folks: Keep it sane out there.

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