Sunroof selfie nets ticket, smashed smartphone

An ill-advised attempt at a high-speed photo from the sunroof of a moving vehicle wound up in two expensive tickets and a smashed smartphone on the Sea to Sky Highway Monday.

A West Vancouver police officer in an unmarked vehicle was following behind and preparing to pull over a driver doing more than 40 kilometres per hour over the 60 km/h speed limit around 1 p.m. when the passenger of the rented sedan stood up through the sunroof and held out his phone to take photos.

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The officer gave them a “blip” on the siren to let them know their fun was over and it was time to pull off the road.

“The guy who was standing up was startled and loses his grip on his smartphone, which goes skittering to the ground and smashes into many, many pieces,” said Const. Jeff Palmer, West Vancouver police spokesman. “While the guy is trying to sit back down, (the driver) hammers the brakes and the guy’s head is getting pin-balled in the sunroof opening.”

The driver, a 26-year-old Vancouver man, got a $196 ticket for speeding. Apart from the bruises and loss of his phone, the passenger, a 23-year-old man also from Vancouver, was rewarded with a $167 ticket for failing to wear a seatbelt.

As picturesque as Howe Sound is, amateur photography should be done from the confines of the passenger seat, while buckled in, Palmer said.

“Fortunately, this is just a story about two young guys learning the hard way that this is going to cost them significantly in terms of a ticket and a cellphone that’s in pieces on the ground. It really could go very badly if you’re up and out of a vehicle like that and a more urgent need to stop presents itself,” Palmer said. “You’re just not properly secured and your risk of injury goes through the roof.”

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