GM Employees Jailed for Racing C8 Corvettes on the Street
Enjoying the 2020 Corvette’s capabilities goes wrong for two engineers.
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.
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.)
UPDATE: According to Kentucky's WNKY, Thim, 27, was caught driving one Corvette at 120 mph, and Derkatz, 30, at 100 mph; a third Corvette on the scene was "not participating in the racing." Various local news outlets report that Thim and Derkatz posted $1,000 bail and are scheduled for a pretrial hearing at Warren District Court on February 18.
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."
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.