My Crime Spree

Take Me Away Officer

Recently, I wrote an article about my last speeding ticket. While that incident still burns in my memory, nothing compares to the crime spree I had about fourteen years ago. At the time, my youngest son was in a roller hockey league and his team had a two-day tournament in Taylor, Michigan. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back in 2005, I was still working at my old job in downtown Detroit. Having recently transferred to the day shift after nineteen years on afternoons, the morning and evening rush hour was proving to be a nightmare on wheels.

One day, during a particularly pokey afternoon rush hour, I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that the traffic bottleneck at I-75 & I-696 could be easily avoided if I took the Nine Mile exit and used John R road as a bypass. Unfortunately, the Hazel Park Police Department had the same idea. As I cruised down John R, marveling at my brilliance, I got pulled over for doing a whopping 33 mph in a 25 mph zone. However, the officer “took pity” on me and wrote up the ticket as Impeding, instead of Speeding. I later found out that this Impeding Scam was being used by other cities and towns in the area. Since there were no license points for an Impeding ticket, people fumed and grumbled, but paid the ticket to avoid the points. I fumed and grumbled and paid as well.

Then, two days later, our family was on the way to Taylor, for the hockey tournament. As I pulled off I-94 onto Telegraph road, there was a little red car in the left-hand lane. He was going about 5 mph below the speed limit. So naturally, I sped up a little to get around him, and of course, a cop car was waiting for me in the Gardner White Furniture parking lot. I got pulled over AGAIN, and was given another ticket for Impeding! The Telegraph Speed Trap soon became infamous. The city eventually got into some trouble over using this tactic. When I sent in my ticket payment, I decided to sharpen up my writing skills by including a heated letter, detailing how I would never set foot in their God-forsaken City again. However, to this day, whenever I drive through Taylor on I-94, I make sure to stay below 70 mph. So I guess the joke is on me. Anyway, have a safe and happy summer, and try not to get caught Impeding!

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Busted By A Hairdryer

Slow It Down, Pardner

A few years ago, I was driving home after dropping off our crazy dog Skittles at Bark-A-Bout. It’s her home away from home whenever we’re on vacation. Since my wife and I were preparing for our annual trip down to Destin, Florida, I was already in beach mode. Sunshine, seafood, and beer were on my mind. That said, I didn’t notice the flashing crosswalk lights in front of the Havel Elementary School on Schoenherr road. The speed limit is normally 50 miles per hour in that area, except when those lights are flashing. Then it drops down to 35 mph. Since I was the unlucky gazelle at the back of the herd, I got pinged by a cop aiming what looked like a hairdryer at me. Unfortunately, I knew exactly what that meant, radar gun.

After Officer Too Young To Shave pulled me over, I was fuming. If I had been in the middle of the pack, I’m sure I would have been safe from his clutches. Curses! When he strolled up to the car, I decided to play the Cop Card. My brother is a retired police officer, so I expected the Law of Reciprocity to kick in. After I mentioned my brother’s name and rank, Officer Fresh Out of Diapers reply was, “I don’t know him.” WHAT? I didn’t ask if you knew him, I was cashing in my Cop Card! I don’t pretend to know the procedure when somebody drops a cop’s name to beat a ticket, but I’m pretty sure the answer isn’t “I don’t know him.” Later, as I complained about this to my brother, he said the new kids on the block don’t recognize the Ticket Barter System (my term, not his) that has served family members and friends of police officers for decades. I tossed the ticket on the passenger seat and grumbled all the way home.

Since I had some time on my hands, I decided to appear for my court date and see if I could catch a break. Officer Poopy Pants showed up, of course. The Judge gave all of us miscreants in attendance a One Time Offer, to plead Guilty to Impeding (the topic of a future article). Since this would result in paying a fine without having any points being added to our licenses, most of us took the deal. However, the penalty for Impeding was $175!! Good Lord! I reluctantly paid the ticket, while grumbling something about the Judge’s mother and resisted the urge to burn rubber out of the parking lot. However, I have learned my lesson, at least where that school is concerned. Now, whenever I head down Schoenherr, I am constantly aware of whether those lights are flashing or not. It still smarts that I was the limping gazelle at the back of the pack, in a red car no less. Picked off by a Peach-Fuzzed Cop, with a hairdryer. Oh well, live and learn I guess.

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