It is one of the purposes of youth to do things that can only be justified with the phrase, "We were young, what can I say?" Two GM engineers have allegedly given themselves an excellent opening to use that plea decades hence, after a Kentucky state trooper reportedly caught them street racing pre-production 2020 Chevrolet Corvettes down a city street in Bowling Green, Kentucky. WNKY reports that the incident occurred last Wednesday, January 8, the charges rung up including racing a motor vehicle on a public highway, reckless driving, and speeding 26 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. That last charge means a mandatory court hearing and a potential loss of license. The details laid out on the citation lead us to believe the two engineers could have more to worry about than a fine or needing to bum rides for a few months.
GM employee Alexander Thim, 27, does computer-aided engineering on induction and exhaust systems according to his LinkedIn page, while the same site lists Mark Derkatz, 30, as an electrical engineer. Both men are are temporarily in Bowling Green, home of the Corvette assembly plant, preparing America's sports car for its retail launch. Going by the description on the ticket, sometime after after leaving the Cue Time Cocktails and Billiards bar in Bowling Green in a trio of Corvettes — Thim in a red one, Derkatz in a white one, an unnamed third GM engineer in a blue one — two of the three decided to hit a back road called Lovers Lane to enjoy the fruits of their labors. On a street with a 45-mph speed limit, Thim allegedly hopped in the left lane and got clocked by radar doing 120 mph, Derkatz took the right lane and got clocked at 100 mph. The third engineer, heeding his good sense or a guardian angel, reportedly didn't participate in the race and was not cited.
It appears that police either knew something was up, or were merely intrigued by the sight of three of the country's most important and forbidden-fruit vehicles in patriotic color scheme tooling around on a school night. The report details troopers noticing the three Corvettes at 11:20 pm, then following them for at least a mile as the engineers made their way from the main road to Lovers Lane. Measured from the turn onto Lovers Lane, the police who made the stop were 1.5 miles down the road.
The worst bit is this line from the citation: "The odor of an alcoholic beverage was present on the breath of the operator. PBT detected presence of alcohol." The trooper didn't include names, but none of the three engineers were reportedly charged with driving under the influence.
Thim and Derkat were booked and released on $1,000 bail, and will need to deal with a pretrial conference on February 18. The cars were confiscated, towing services hauling them to an impound lot where a representative retrieved them the following day. When Automobile asked GM for comment, the automaker responded, "We are aware of an incident involving our test vehicles and are currently investigating. Safety remains our overriding priority at General Motors. We have no further comment at this time."
As an aside, seems one of the troopers did have time to comment. A Corvette Forum thread has popped up to run a full CSI routine on the incident, with member DebRedZR1 tracking down a snapchat photo of Thim's stop. The caption: "GM ain't gonna be happy with these engineers tomorrow." Which was probably true.