VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A video of a Canucks forward is circulating on social media as he films himself driving while decked out in the team’s gear.
Jake Virtanen, a 23-year-old from Langley, has posted the video on Instagram as a story Wednesday afternoon.
Video of #Canucks forward Jake Virtanen circulating on social media after he posted it to his IG stories. He's believed to be in BC. The NHL initially tweeted this then deleted it. A reminder a fine for distracted driving in BC is $368 for a first offence and four penalty points. https://t.co/iJNHQB64Rq
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) May 28, 2020
The hockey player also captioned the video with “Dress and feel like I’m in Peewee again.”
Vancouver criminal lawyer, Kyla Lee, says Virtanen’s video could possibly lead to lawful action.
“Tickets don’t have to be issued at the time the offence occurred. So they can track Mr. Virtanen and then they could issue him the ticket later on. They have up to a year from when it occurred to issue the ticket,” she says.
So Jake Virtanen made a poor decision to drive while filming himself – a violation of the law. Police could potentially ticket for this, and his public profile may make them want to do so. https://t.co/jEqWNBoIe8
— Kyla Lee (@IRPlawyer) May 28, 2020
She explains police can find the information from the video to identify the location of where Virtanen was driving to issue the ticket.
So she adds, it’s never a good time to record yourself violating the law.
Lee says people like Virtanen, who has over 87,000 followers on Instagram, have the ability to influence people through social media content.
“The reality is that it’s very rare that we see tickets issued in circumstances like these, but if there has been a huge public outcry, and especially if you are a public figure, that’s the type of situation that makes police inclined to make an example of somebody,” Lee says.
“We know that the Instagram Live, and Snapchat stories, while you’re driving, are a very popular medium – they’re also an illegal medium.”
She says police might take action against Virtanen to discourage people from engaging in similar behaviour.
The NHL initially tweeted the video but has since deleted it.
Many are blasting Virtanen online – saying it’s a case of distracted driving, which carries a fine of $368, along with four penalty points.
NEWS 1130 has reached out to the NHL for comment.
– With files from Jon Szekeres