As I neared work this morning, happy and relaxed because I had just come from signing a client who has been dithering about for over a year, I stopped at a four-way stop sign. Another car pulled up on my left, and made a small false start until he saw the woman with kids and a stroller ready to cross the road in front of us. Once they were more than half way across, I resumed my driving. By the next corner I had flashing lights in my rear-view mirror and two strapping young(ish) Sheriff's Deputies asking for my license and registration. Genuinely surprised, I asked what I had done and my own personal crime fighter told me that I had "totally blown through the stop sign". Huh?
I replied that I had been stop, stop, stopped and stationary and that there was no way and he countered by saying he didn't see how I could have been at the speed I was at when he pulled in behind me, if I had been at a full halt. "What speed was that, Officer?" "Twenty miles an hour" he said, checking his notes.
I would be the last person to claim that I never speed on the freeway. If they pull me over one day for that, I will graciously accept. "You got me" "I've earned this" is my preplanned response. However, I really don't expect law enforcement to make things up.
In thinking about it afterwards, I deduced that they must have been parked in the street perpendicular to that on which I was driving. The car on my left obscured me from their view. They were not paying attention and made an assumption, which, as we all know, makes an ass out of you and me. The inconvenience and lingering angst of being chastised by an authority figure are negligible in comparison to the disappointment and disillusionment of one who has always respected and admired our public servants. I have even testified in their favor in court, when I was a witness to an unavoidable police shooting.
I didn't get a ticket. There was another, more pressing, call for their services, and a fire engine went speeding by, as well. My license and registration were thrust back through my window with the words, "We'll take your word for it, this time."
I've been stewing about this all day. It's not O.K. I feel as though they cheated on a test or in sports and were not called to task. I expected a higher standard of integrity. I also ask myself if they were not relieved to be called away once they had a taste of a coherent, credible and English-speaking defendant.
I wonder if the person who painted the car in the photo above, the day before his retirement, had had a similar experience? Per the story I read; Kern County Sheriffs took delivery and drove this car for days before reading what had been written on the side:)