Hellcat Supercar Goes On The Prowl

As much of Seattle tries to sleep, the Hellcat supercar goes on the prowl, the howls of its engine and the explosive backfires from its tailpipes echoing off the high-rise towers downtown. Windows rattle. Pets jump in a frenzy. Even people used to the ruckus of urban living jolt awake, fearful and then furious. Complaints have flooded in for months to city leaders and the police, who have responded with warnings, citations, criminal charges and a lawsuit, urging the renegade driver to take his modified Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from the city streets to a racetrack. Instead, the “Belltown Hellcat,” with its distinctive tiger-stripe wrap, has remained on the move.

For hundreds of thousands of people with Instagram accounts, the driver is a familiar character: @srt.miles, otherwise known as Miles Hudson, a 20-year-old resident of one of the Belltown neighborhood’s pricey apartments. For all the aggravated residents who view him with increasing disdain — “Entire neighborhoods are angry and sleep deprived,” one resident wrote their local council member — many more are tracking his escapades on social media, celebrating a life unencumbered by self-consciousness or regret. When Mr. Hudson posted a video (350,441 likes) showing his speedometer topping 100 miles per hour during a downtown outing to get boba tea, a follower asked: “How does it feel living my dream?” When he posted a video (698,858 likes) showing the rowdy rattles of the Hellcat, another replied: “You really make the town so fun at night.”

Police bodycam footage released by the Seattle City

Attorney’s Office showed an officer urging the driver, Miles Hudson, to take his modified Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a racetrack. Credit Credit…Seattle City Attorney’s Office “No disrespect, but I feel like I’m doing my thing,” he told the officer, according to body-camera footage. “I’ve turned it into a career, and the car has paid for itself. 650,000 followers.” To some residents, the city’s failure to stop Mr. Hudson’s exploits is but another example of its inability to bring an end to the homelessness, street crime and occasional mayhem that have plagued the downtown area since the pandemic. And it all raised a mystifying question about the incentives of modern life: What happens when fame and infamy can be equally lucrative?

This month, the rooftop of one such luxury tower featured a $1.7 million McLaren sports car to entice a prospective buyer. Other rooftops feature decks with lounge chairs and firepits, offering views of the Space Needle in one direction and waterfront sunsets in the other. Mr. Hudson’s own Belltown apartment showcases panoramic views, decorated inside with neon lights and anime artwork.

In one video (669,757 likes), he got off the couch to ride a hoverboard over to his kitchen to cook some burgers, but the pan soon burst into flames, and Mr. Hudson raced around on his hoverboard trying to contain it. He had a fire extinguisher on hand in a later video when he tried to fry Twinkies. “I can’t cook,” he shouted. His refrigerator, shown in another video (886,343 likes), looked to be barren save for some condiments and Lunchables. Through the bleak Seattle winter, he posted about modifications to his car. “It sounds like a shotgun,” he said, and asked his followers if it was too loud.

“Never too loud, I say not loud enough,” someone replied.

Chris Allen, who lives in the city center, said the backfires from the car sound like explosions rattling the windows of his 17th-floor unit.Credit…Brian Lau for The New York Times For the neighbors, the vehicle was plenty loud, and complaints were pouring in to city officials. One woman wrote that she lived with P.T.S.D. and woke up in fear because the backfiring vehicle sounded like gunshots outside her building.

“This is the first time in 13 years that I’ve started seriously considering moving out of downtown,” she wrote. Another wrote in after 6 a.m. saying the tiger-striped Hellcat had been revving up and down streets for two hours. “What will it take for this to end?” the man wrote. And the complaints kept coming. A couple weeks after the citation, Mr. Hudson posted a video (79,267 likes), recording himself starting the car remotely from his apartment balcony. Below, on the street, the vehicle roared to life, exhaust blasting out the tailpipes. Mr. Hudson then panned across the Seattle skyline.

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