Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Of Hummers and gals not too bright...

So one night I’m driving south down the highway, minding my own business, when I see a vehicle traveling northbound on the other side of the median at a pretty good clip. I hit my radar and confirm that the vehicle is traveling thirty-three miles over the posted limit.

Normally I don’t bother jumping the median for something like this since it’s almost a given that I’ll lose sight of the vehicle, making a positive identification problematic, but in this case, it’s a bright yellow, full-sized Hummer with a radio station logo on the side, so that won’t be a problem here. I hit the grass and bang a u-turn and go after the Hummer.

I catch up and stop it about a mile up the highway. It’s being driven by a young black girl who denies speeding. I tell her that I got her on radar and there’s no doubt at all, and then she asks: “Well how do you know it was this Hummer?”

Yeah. Because there are so many bright yellow Hummers with radio station logos on the side driving around.

Then she asks for a break, telling me that she’s “Hottie Melinda”, a DJ with the radio station whose logo decorates the side of the vehicle. She says that she’ll get in trouble with the station and not be allowed to drive the Hummer if she gets a ticket in it.

My heart bleeds. Really it does. In fact my eyes are so teary back in my cruiser that I almost have trouble writing out the Speeding and Reckless Driving citations that I’m giving her. Of course when she gets them, she gets upset and tells me that because of me, she won’t be allowed to drive the Hummer any more. And then she starts crying, and the tears are running down her cheeks like water from a faucet.

Whatever. I explain her options and point out her mandatory court date and send her on her way. Hopefully she’ll show up on the assigned date and just plead out to the usual deal that the prosecutors offer to anyone with a decent driving record—pay the speeding fine and the Reckless gets dropped. Almost everyone takes that deal because the Reckless is a heavy hit, with the fine and points involved, to say nothing of the hike in insurance rates.

A few weeks later though, I get the subpoena. Hottie Melinda wants her trial on the matter.

Now maybe some people think that they have a good chance of beating a ticket just because the officer may not show up. Well here, we get in trouble if we miss court, and my attendance record is flawless. Besides, if we ever need to miss a day and we let the Prosecutor’s Office know even a few days in advance, they’ll just get continuances on all of our cases. The defendants will show up, get all happy when they find out that we’re not going to be in court that day, and then get served with a new court date instead of the dismissal that they thought they’d get.

However it seems that in this case, my defendant really wanted her trial, because she had what she thought was a winning argument:

“Your Honor, I don’t think I was speeding at all. I think that the officer just stopped me because I was in a Hummer.”

This piqued the judge’s curiosity. “So why would the officer stop you just for driving a Hummer?”

“I don’t know,” she replied. “Maybe because he’s jealous.”

The judge looked at me. I so tried not to roll my eyes, but I know that he saw me. How could you not?

The judge asked her another question. “The officer has already testified as to his determination of your speed. What do you have to say about that, if anything?”

“I don’t know,” she replied. “But I know that I wasn’t speeding. Oh—and Your Honor, I just want to let you know that I’m not just some kid…I’m Hottie Melinda!”

Ah yes…the old “I’m sure that I wasn’t speeding” claim, followed by the fabled “do you know who I am?” ploy. That almost always sways judges, right?

But alas, it didn’t seem to persuade this one. He replied by outlining my allegation, including my testimony regarding my radar reading, and asked if he should not credit my testimony because she thought that she wasn’t speeding and because she worked for a radio station.

Apparently she could read the writing on the wall, because she began to cry again. And I was impressed; this ability to just turn on the waterworks on cue like that is something not every girl can do.

“I know I wasn’t speeding,” she said again between the sobs. “I don’t speed, because the radio station won’t let me drive the Hummer if I do, so I wasn’t speeding! He just stopped me because I’m a young girl driving a nice shiny Hummer…and because I’m black!”

All right! There it was! I knew that one was coming sooner or later and I’d have been disappointed if that tired old ploy hadn’t been trotted out in this case. And now it was the judge who was rolling his eyes. He’s heard that one before, too…about a thousand times. And he knows me well enough to know that I don’t care about race, sex or any other criteria—I hammer every violator equally.

So he finds Hottie Melinda guilty of Speeding and Reckless Driving, and he suspends her license for ninety days because she’s got a few previous violations on her record, including a prior Reckless three years previous. Of course now she’s sobbing and hyperventilating, so the judge asks her if she’s going to require medical help from the court nurse. It was actually an honest question asked with legitimate concern, but she was angry now and snapped back at the judge.
“I don’t want nothing from this G-ddamned Cracker court! Just wait until my listeners hear about this bullshit!”

And quicker than you could say “contempt of court”, Hottie Melinda, was on her way back to the holding cells with the Bailiff. Some people just don’t know when to quit digging, and the defendant was obviously one of them.

She was apparently a bit more contrite when she was brought before the judge the following day though because I heard that he let her go.


Anonymous said...

haha this is great. thanks for a good laugh! gotta love it.

vicki said...

HAHAHA! That story is priceless. My dad is a retired officer and growing up I loved a nice dinner at home with his Idiot of the Day story. Thanks for the laugh, sadly she'll be back on the roads soon enough.

Kimberly said...

Hottie Melinda, huh, doesn't quite ring a bell.

Officer Krupke said...

I don't remember what radio station she was with, but if memory serves, it was one of the minor local stations. And she really wasn't a "hottie" at all. If there was any truth in advertising requirement, she'd have done better to call herself "Chunky Melinda".

Damsel Underdressed said...

This story was hilarious!

I have a similar story but not quite as good. About fifteen years ago, I was friends with a bunch of "on-air personalities." One of them was also stopped in the station van for speeding. Unbeknownst to him, a listener called in and retold the entire story to the guy who was currently on the air. They proceeded to make fun of the guy in the van and turn the whole thing into a joke. If I recall, he only got a slap on the wrist from the station and was allowed to continue driving it.

The Fargin Icehole said...

Love it! So how come we don't see these on CBS or Judge Judy even? It's also nice to see someone enforcing traffic. Where I live, it seems to be rare. Must be all the community policing crap the politico's have them doing, rather than enforcing the law.

The Grumpy Dispatcher said...

It's really saying something when a member of the public does something so dumb as to provoke an involuntary eye roll even when you consciously try to hold back. Brutal. I love this blog.

Texas Ghostrider said...

So has YOUR name been on the Hottie show? I stopped a radio personality, he was for a local black station. I did my 7 step contact wrote him a warning for the small infraction and at the end of the stop he goes "officer you don't know who I am and that's cool just tune your radio to station wxyz in about 15 minutes".

He comes on the air and says officer ghostrider stopped me and I just wanted to tell him thanks for doing his job professionally and this goes out to him. A couple of callers called in about the race card and he defended my actions, said he was wrong, and they need to respect the police instead of throwing the card around. I was impressed that day, there is hope.....

Marcus said...

Great story. One of the best parts of my job is listening to defendants in court - always entertaining! Way to go Hottie Melinda.

Sidenote - great site you've got here. I found it while playing around on blogspot. I'll be following for sure. If you get a moment, swing over to my site and let me know what you think.

Keep up the good work.

The Bus Driver said...

haha brilliant.. we get the whole "Your just pickin on me because i'm black. white. hispanic. asian. etc etc.. ALL the time.....

I'm glad she got found guilty...

Officer "Smith" said...

Ahhh yes... Hottie Melinda and her face (and figure) fit for radio.

Sounds like any day in our court.

Beat And Release said...

"Your Honor, you should be well aware that I hate all reckless drivers regardless of race, creed, religious preference or sexual orientation." hehehehe

Glad to see you're posting again. Thought we'd lost you.

Roanoke Cop said...

I'm not ruining your life. You are. I'm just going to blog about it now.


Moe said...

I was hoping for an FTA, but the contempt was nice!