Police in Roseville say two of their marked squad cars were pitted in an unauthorized street race last week by body shop employees along a busy city street. The Police Department responded by taking its business elsewhere.
At least the two joy riding employees waited until after morning traffic eased up last Thursday before getting behind the wheels of the Dodge Chargers — yes, they had a Hemi — and roaring along County Road C at "excessive speeds" for more than a mile from Victoria Street east to Western Avenue, said Police Lt. Lorne Rosand.
"I heard from one citizen who said it appeared they were racing" around 10:15 a.m. along the four-lane thoroughfare, where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour, Rosand said.
A department official later addressed the incident with the owner of the body shop, and police decided to sever business with Suburban Auto Body, in neighboring Little Canada.
Body shop President Dennis O'Connell Jr. countered in an e-mailed statement that "there was no speeding or dangerous driving," explaining there was "quick acceleration from a stop sign, and no citations were given."
O'Connell said the shop's owner had driven the two employees to pick up the vehicles to be worked on, and then they followed the owner back to the shop.
"In our 40 years offering pickup and delivery to our customers, this is the first report of this nature," O'Connell said.
Despite challenging the police account, O'Connell said one employee was fired "out of respect for Roseville PD and the hopes of continuing our relationship with them."
Rosand held out the possibility that the department will give the shop another chance at working on the squad cars. "Obviously, they want our business, but for right now, we'll see."
O'Connell said, " We're hopeful to get a second chance with Roseville PD."