DULUTH -- Question: You're the owner of a used car lot, and you've just bought a Corvette. You've got a BMW-driving pal with you. You want to have a drag race, but where?
Answer: In front of the nearest police department, apparently.
Michael Rodriguez, the 42-year-old owner of Duluth's A Lot of Used Cars car lot, was arrested Friday night and charged with racing, improper use of dealer tags and improper stopping on roadway. The Duluth police officer who arrested him and alleged racing counterpart Jun Suk Lee didn't have to go far -- his department is headquartered about one-third of a mile down Buford Highway.
According to the official incident report, the responding officer was sitting in the parking lot of the Duluth Police Department just before 5:30 p.m. Friday when he saw Rodriguez's Corvette and Lee's BMW M3 stop, line up next to each other and take off "at a very high rate of speed." The officer gave a very brief chase, spotting the Corvette turning into Rodriguez's lot just down the road -- the BMW was "pretty far behind," presumably losing the race.
When confronted, Rodriguez allegedly handed the officer an ATM card rather than a driver's license, saying that they "had only taken off fast." He later asked a second officer if he was going to "get off with a warning because we're neighbors," the report said.
It was also uncovered that Rodriguez was improperly using dealer tags for his vehicles because he didn't technically own them," authorities said.
Rodriguez "told me that he didn't own any of the cars on his lot, and that a bank did. He purchases cars on a 'flow plan' meaning that he owes money to the bank once the car is sold," the report said.
Rodriguez, a Suwanee resident, was arrested and charged before being released on $891.75 bond.