Sheikh Believed to Be Beverly Hills Drag Race Driver Left U.S., Police Say
Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani is a member of the family that rules Qatar and is thought to have been the driver of a $1.5 million Ferrari involved in a dangerous and loud drag race on Sept. 12.
The rich Qatari national who is believed to have been behind wheel of a $1.5 million Ferrari in a loud and dangerous drag race through the leafy residential streets of Beverly Hills has left the country, but police are still looking for more witnesses to come forward to share information or video regarding the incident.
Beverly Hills Police Department Sgt. Max Subin tells The Hollywood Reporter that the U.S. State Department has confirmed that Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani flew out of the country this week. Subin also says the State Department has assured BHPD that Sheik Al-Thani, who is a member of the family that rules Qatar, does not have any kind of diplomatic immunity.
Videos of a Sept. 12 drag race between a yellow Ferrari LaFerrari supercar and a white Porsche 911 GT3 showed what appeared to be high-speed reckless driving — at points the cars run a stop sign, nearly hit a car and race down North Walden Street in a quiet Beverly Hills neighborhood — but police say they do not yet have enough evidence to move forward with the case.
"Since it was a misdemeanor and BHPD was not present, we need a witness to come forward and make a citizen's arrest or give us more definitive video evidence," says Subin. He indicates that part of the rationale for BHPD Chief Dominick Rivetti to hold a press conference on Sept. 17 was to ask the public for more help in the matter.
"More individuals have come forward since that time to share video of the incident," says Subin, but he notes that none of this video definitively shows Al-Thani behind the wheel of the Ferrari or even getting in or out of the driver's side of the vehicle.
Although Al-Thani has left the country, police are very interested to learn the whereabouts of the $1.5 million supercar. Subin indicated that BHPD is actively following leads to find the car. "If anyone has information about the location of the Ferrari involved, we would like to hear from them," says the sergeant.
In his press conference, Chief Rivetti stressed that the BHPD is pursuing the matter aggressively and will take a "zero tolerance" policy toward unsafe driving, even if those behind the wheel are rich foreign nationals who have diplomatic immunity. Elaborating further, Sgt. Subin says that the BHPD has stepped up patrols in the area where the drag race occurred — and expanded on the department's view on diplomatic status in such cases.
"Diplomatic immunity does not trump public safety," says Subin. "The Beverly Hills Police Department takes this very seriously. If someone has diplomatic immunity and drives recklessly or endangers the public, we will take action with the State Department's guidance."