'Belltown Hellcat' appears in court as city weighs a new means of stopping him

The "Belltown Hellcat" driver appeared in court in Seattle on Tuesday, where he was penalized over $83,000. Meanwhile, the Seattle City Council — prompted most likely by his antics — is considering giving police a new tool to write $500 street-racing tickets.

A newly proposed fine before the city council in Seattle would allow police to write a $500 ticket to the owner or the driver of any car being used in illegal street racing. Key to the plan is that the fines could be imposed not only on the vehicle’s owner, but on any person behind the wheel, meaning police would not even have to stop a car to issue a citation.

It adds heft to an action last year by the Washington Legislature that expanded the definition of illegal street racing to include the takeover of intersections, dangerous displays (such as “donuts”), and racing in off-street areas like parking lots.

Earlier this year, 20-year-old Miles Hudson was charged with driving his Hellcat at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour through 25-mph zones in a dense city neighborhood, to which he pleaded not guilty. Residents of the Belltown neighborhood in particular have complained about the excessive noise, but the speed is the alarming part. He has documented his antics on Instagram.

In May, the Seattle city attorney filed a court order demanding that the driver pay $83,619.97 in civil penalties and other fees after he failed to respond in time to a lawsuit filed against him last month.

On Tuesday, Hudson appeared in Seattle Municipal Court, where a judge upheld the civil penalties. He is subject to an additional $1,300 a day in penalties for every day he does not comply with an order to quiet the exhaust on his Hellcat — or at least return it to stock condition. He told the judge the car was in the shop. The city said Hudson continues to "flaunt" his car's excessive noise on his Instagram account.

Hudson appeared in court wearing all black and with his face covered in a black ski mask and dark glasses. The prosecution asked the judge to order him to reveal himself, but the judge allowed him to keep the mask on.

When reporters asked him why he was in disguise, Hudson said, cryptically, “I’m kind of shiesty and felling myself."

He once told an officer during a traffic stop that income from his social posts had paid for his car, so when asked Tuesday how he would come up with money for the penalty, he responded, "With a little bit of motion?" And, "I wouldn't say come up. Who's to say I don't have it?"

He said he left the court feeling "chillin'" and "composed."

The pending street-racing legislation “responds to the recent rise in large street racing takeover events that pose a safety hazard to the public — pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers,” said Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison. “The new civil infraction will give police a tool to hold vehicle owners accountable when their cars are used at these events.”

Where Hellcat Hudson is concerned: Under current law, officers must identify and try to arrest the person driving a car illegally. Which is difficult when a single patrol vehicle is dispatched to events with a large number of cars and people. And since being told he couldn't drive the Hellcat, Hudson has posted videos showing him as a passenger while others drive.

If passed, the new law would allow officers to write down license plate numbers and other identifying features and cite the cars’ owners no matter who's driving — similar to how parking tickets or tolls are issued now.

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