Phantom Speeding Tickets suck

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Tom Keating
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Phantom Speeding Tickets suck

I got pulled over in the Viper today for not speeding. Yep, you read that right, I wasn't speeding or at least it was some "Twilight Zone phantom speeding" since the officer seemed to think I was speeding.

Here's what happened. I was travelling on a dirt gravel road... yes, I know, I know... what am I doing driving a Viper on a dirt gravel road? But it's the fastest way to work.

Anyway, so I approach a 4-way intersection (4 stop signs) and I'm at the bottom part of the 4 way (+) headed straight through the intersection after I stop. It's a dangerous intersection since there are bushes on both sides that make the dirt road an almost invisible side road. The cars on either side of the intersection don't always see this road, so they don't always stop. They look straight ahead and to the opposite side where I am headed, don't see another car on either of the two other sides and just go. I've almost been hit three times due to drivers that don't see me and assume it's their turn to go through the intersection.

So anyway, I've learned to never assume the drivers see me even if they do stop. If it's my turn to go, I usually accelerate a bit harder than most other intersections to make sure I make it through this death trap. When I say accelerate a little harder, I mean go from 0-25MPH in like a second or second in a half. Even accelerating this much, the RPMs are not that high on the car at 25mph in first gear, so I doubt the "noise" level of the car was loud enough to make it sound like I was travelling faster than I should. (often cops will pull you over if it "sounds" like you are speeding.)

The speed limit on the road is 25MPH and there is a notorious speed trap just 1/5th of a mile ahead, so I know not to speed on this road. It was just one car to my left and my car, with my car at the intersection first, so I went first through it doing my normal amount of acceleration at this intersection. As a natural habit I always check my rear view mirror 3-5 seconds after going through any intersection. There was a police cruiser right on my bumper.

"Where the heck did he come from?" I pondered since there were no side streets, he wasn't behind me on the dirt road, he wasn't to my left since a normal compact car was at the stop, and I didn't see any car to my right when I was just at the intersection. I figured out later that he was indeed to my right, but not quite at the intersection yet. He apparently saw an exotic red sports car go through the intersection and decided to catch up - very quickly I might add. He must have blown the stop sign making a right-hand turn in order to be on my bumper so quickly.

So I see the police cruiser in my rear view mirror and as my heart races, I check my speedometer and it reads 30mph and I'm only in 2nd gear. "Phew!" I thought to myself, "I'm only 5MPH over the limit, he's not going to pull me over for that."

"Boy I thought to myself. Good thing I know they often have a speed trap 1/5th of a mile ahead or I may actually speed on this road."

I won't mention the town by name, since with my luck, they'll find this post and look for my car in the future, but I was pulled over previously by this same town for no apparent reason.

So anyway, the officer follows me for about 1/2 a mile and then puts his lights on. "Here we go," I thought, "pulling my over just because of the car. Unbelievable."

The young (~22yrs old) male officer approaches the car and says in most polite voice I have ever heard "May I have you license and registration, please?" Most officers are "all business" and ask for your license and registration in a very serious voice, but not this time.

Was that joy in his voice, was he grinning?

I hand him my license and registration and then he asks to see my insurance card.

"Ok, I just want to be sure you are current," he says, again in a very polite voice.

At this point I theorized just from his demeanor that he wasn't going to write me a speeding ticket.

A second police cruiser drives by the scene on this not-so-travelled back road. He must have called for backup in case I ran or more likely he wanted to show his fellow officer his "daily kill".

But this just confirmed my suspicion that he was just pulling me over for sport and not wanting to write me a ticket.

He then comments, "The reason why I pulled you over is you went very fast through that intersection. You were going at pretty good clip, I'd say around 40MPH" with this broad giddy smile that he just couldn't contain.

Honestly, he looked like a kid at Christmas. It was almost as if he didn't believe what he was saying, but had to come up with some reason to pull me over.

I replied, "Well, that's a blind intersection from the dirt road, so I do accelerate a little fast through it since I've almost been hit a few times, but I wasn't going faster than 30MPH".

He then changed the subject on me and asked "So where you headed?"

Me: Norwalk

Officer: Where do you live?

Me: Brookfield

Officer: And where do you work?


Officer: What's that?

Me: Technology Marketing Corporation.

Officer: Where's that?

Me: Do you know where Swanky Franks is?

Officer: Yes, right on the Post Road.

Me: Well we're right behind it off of West Cedar.

Officer: And what do you do for a living? <again with this broad smile>

Ok, at this point I can tell he can barely contain himself from his curiosity. Why the heck does he need to know where I work or what I do for a living? It appeared he was hoping I was someone famous or some celebrity that he could tell his fellow officers. Obviously, I am not famous or a celebrity... well maybe somewhat in the VoIP industry... Ego check, Tom, ego check....

Me: I review Voice over IP products.

Officer: Voice over IP? What's that?

Me: <sigh in my head> You know those annoying Vonage commercials?

Officer: Yeah yeah!!! I do!

Me: Well, that's what I do.

Officer: Do you travel this road every day?

Me: Yes.

Officer: Well, just to let you know, we are sent out here almost every day to make sure people don't speed in the 25MPH zone.

Me: Yes, I know. I see your speedtraps on this road on a regular basis, so I never speed on this road.

Officer: Do you have any problems with your license?

Me: No.

Officer: Ok, well I'm not going to write you a ticket. I'm just going to give you a warning. But let me check your license and then you can be on your way.

While I was happy I was let off with just a warning, I was a bit perturbed I was pulled over in the first place.

A few minutes later he hands me my license and registration and says "Ok, here you go. Just take it easy." or something to that effect. I was too annoyed at this point to remember exactly what he said - I just wanted to get going since I was now running late.

Honestly, I would have preferred if he just was straight with me. If he wanted to see the car, I would have been happy to pop the hood and show him the engine and talk about the car's performance numbers, answer his questions, etc. He could have simply pulled me over, walked up and said "Don't worry, I'm not going to write you a ticket. I'm just a fan of the Dodge Viper and was wondering if I could take a closer look at it."

I'd rather that than have my heart in my chest for 5 minutes before he tells me he's going to give me a warning.

I think I'll skip my morning coffee caffeine fix - my heart rate and blood pressure already had their morning jolt...

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