It happened to me; it can happen to you
To the Editor:
On Monday, May 20, I was traveling through Staunton on my way home to Brazil with my 2-and-a-half-year-old son.
We drive through Staunton instead of traveling United States 40 because Staunton is pretty -- the ponds, the trees, corn fields, etc.
Right before we approached the four-way stop sign in Staunton, I noticed a police car sitting on the opposite side of the road facing us.
I proceeded to stop at the stop sign completely and then I traveled for about 100-feet and looked into my rearview mirror and noticed the flashing lights come on and the car turn around.
My first thought was, "He's pulling me over. Why?"
So, I pulled over, pulled out my driver's license, proof of insurance and registration cards.
As I opened my door (my window gets stuck when rolling down -- due to a deer hitting the door years ago), the officer asked if I knew what the speed limit was in this town.
"Yes. It is 30."
He then proceeds to tell me that I was going 41! Wait, I was going 41 mph, just 100-feet away from having been at a complete stop?
No, I wasn't going 41 mph. Also, why would I be driving that fast right before I come to a very dangerous turn that requires no speed greater than about 15 mph?
How dangerous that would be -- and did I mention that I was driving with my 2-and-a-half-year-old son with me?
I was just getting back to speed when he pulled me over.
Why would I be speeding when I knew the officer was sitting there waiting for speeders?
I was not speeding.
I know I wasn't.
And then he asks me if I was heading to Terre Haute.
"No. I live right around the corner."
I was just blocks from my home when I got pulled over. Why did he ask if I was heading to Terre Haute? Did he think I was from out of town?
I do have a Rose-Hulman license plate. Besides, I was heading in the opposite direction from Terre Haute.
Meanwhile, three mosquitoes have now joined us in the car and are taunting my son, who had just thrown up earlier in the car on the way home.
And my son is upset and wanting to know why we cannot come home.
Several minutes later, the officer rejoins us, to say, "Oh, you have some precious cargo. Is that your grandchild you have there?"
What? I know people around here start their families young, but he is my son!
I gave birth to him, nursed him -- he's my child.
"No -- he's my son."
So, not only have I been pulled over falsely for speeding, I'm being insulted.
He then goes on to explain the process with a ticket. I can sign the ticket and only pay $50, which goes to the Town of Staunton, or I can contest it and go to court, where I will have to pay a fine of $170 and it would be points against my license -- which would be my time and more money.
I have a full-time job. I cannot take time off to appear in court, nor do I have that much money for a ticket.
Although I was not speeding, I will pay the $50 -- which is money that would have been spent on my son -- but now will go to the lovely Town of Staunton, to be spent on what?
Where is my son's money going to go? To the decrepit town park, that has foul language and graffiti plastered on the slides, and only has one working swing?
Or perhaps to actually clean the garbage off the streets of Staunton?
Where is my money going?
Is the Town of Staunton so bad off that they are setting up speed traps to wrongfully accuse those who they think are "out-of-towners" of speeding?
If this is the case, I hope you realize that people are not going to want to come to Staunton.
Am I the only person that this has happened to?
Let me tell you: I will not be traveling through Staunton anymore. Lesson learned.
Be forewarned: There is a speed trap in Staunton, Ind., and although the money is being used for the Town of Staunton (or so I've been told), the means of getting some of it (my $50) is highly suspect.
I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes in my life. But I do know when I've been wronged and I was wrongfully accused of speeding when I wasn't.
This letter is the only recourse that I have to share my experience with others so that it doesn't happen to them.
Thank you for your time.
Merry Miller Moon,