Let’s rewind and start from the beginning. On Saturday July 30th I went to the West Farmington Festival which is in the Amish country of Trumbull County in Ohio. It’s a hokey little festival but refreshing. I enjoyed myself. Because of the tickets I received I didn’t give it a review or write about it until now. If you didn’t feel welcome would you?
I parked on College Street right in front of the field holding it. I could have easily made a U turn when leaving with my lil Daewoo but it was dark and foggy on a poorly lit road with Amish, horse and buggy and kids everywhere so drove until it was clear then turned around
Going back on College Street I puttered along at no more than 10 to 15 mph. I stopped at the stop sign at the intersection of Rt.88. A car was approaching and instead of waiting I zoomed out and then I resumed my low speed. Unfortunately the car I raced in front of was a cop. He followed me a good distance I mean a good distance. Once we got past the area of the festival and a road crew I picked up speed to almost 35 mph when he finally turned on his lights. Why did he wait so long? That aggravated me.
He approached and said you ran the stop sign and didn’t use a turn signal. I was so confused, yes just like a deer in headlights. I said slowly I stopped. Back and forth, no you didn’t – yes I did. I did however admit to the turn signal, no argument there. In my defense if there even was an argument, there was no one behind me, no one in front and no one to the left and moving so slow it just slipped my mind to use the turn signal.
Anyway I mentioned to the cop my clean record and no ticket since 2008 and he replied I can see that. He then said I am giving you a ticket for the stop sign and no turn signal. I was fuming mad. When I got home I checked on the waiver fees, it was $300 for both with 2 points for each infraction. YIKES! 4 points $300 fine just for a leisure night out!
I will be a brief as possible because I have a lot to write about but quickly I can completely understand the angst and frustration with cops. Now I am not talking about the Michael Browns, I am talking about the average citizen who is really victimized by our system. In this case 4 points and $300 instead of a warning or a courtesy to a person with a clean record, out minding his own business, not under the influence, not speeding just cruising slowly enjoying a summer night.
John, a friend, told me one of the reasons why he hated being a cop. There were cops where he worked who would have contests to see who could give out the most tickets. Plus he enlightened me to the meaning of ORC and ORD. ORD = city ordinance and ORC = Ohio Revised Code.
When he was employed as a cop he would mark the ORC box. He was reprimanded and told to mark the ORD box instead. The reason is the city/town keeps all the money from a ticket whereas ORC you have to share the fine money with the state. John had enough and quit. The tickets I received both had the ORD marked. Aren’t turn signals and stop signs state law? It’s all about the money and rarely safety.
I was so upset with these tickets I drove back to West Farmington which is about 55 miles from my house twice to check out the spot where I got the tickets; well it would have been one if I remembered to bring my camera the first time. The more I looked the madder I got.
So instead of waving the tickets I went to court way out in Newton Falls that is 60 miles from me. The first appearance was for a plea which the judge said it seems you have questions and concerns so maybe you should plead not guilty and meet with the prosecutor. So I did. The second court date was Thursday the 25th of August.
I will say this as much as I was upset with the cop and the cost of these two tickets and the time spent on them the judge of Newton Falls and prosecutor restored some of my faith in the system. Both were cordial and made you relax, definitely not heavy-handed.
When I met with the prosecutor I was prepared. What also helped was they summoned the patrolman but he never showed. The prosecutor could have issued a continuance but wanted to get it over with it. So I presented my case. I showed him my book. HUH? Yes my Hey Gang! Ready to Go-Go? and started with I am an author and I travel to these little festival/events and write about them. The prosecutor said I seen that vehicle… was it outside in the parking lot? Yes I slept in it for my first court appearance so I wouldn’t be late. Well that vehicle attracted a lot of attention.
Then I proceeded to tell him that even the phone number on the ticket the cop wrote to call the court house for the time and date was wrong. I showed him the photos and admitted to the no turn signal. When it was done the stop sign was thrown out, the no turn signal was lowered to an equipment violation and was able to keep my record clean of points. Thank God!
The final cost was Stop Sign - $5 court costs and the No Tail Light - $100 fine $95 court costs $30 misc. costs for a grand total of $230. How ya like that? So even though I won I still paid court costs and what is the 30 bucks for misc? A fine should be a fine not all this added nonsense. America is messed up. You can never get true justice when they look at us as revenue. Small annoyance tickets like this people rarely fight because it is cheaper to pay.
After court I went on a long leisurely stroll that covered miles all the way from Newton Falls, Warren, Mosquito Lake to Andover and Pymatuning Lake on home.
First stop was for breakfast at a truck stop outside of Newton Falls in Leavittsburg called Shortstop Truck Plaza, independently owned and run. The breakfast was delicious. The owner each morning goes out and buys fresh sirloin for the ground meat. The owner’s daughter told me one early morning Jesse the son received a call they were out of potatoes. So at 4 am he was out getting potatoes.
I forgot her name but the church lady met her friend for lunch. The friend is going through some trying times. She is looking for a job and the restaurant was hiring. Then the church lady was trying to encourage her when she opened my book. God works in ways we can’t see. From there I drove through Warren and stopped at an antique shop called 1717 Antiques. Definitely one of the better antiques stores around. What I like about it is its very cluttered with things strewn all over from every era. I like the hunt of finding a neat collectable. I ended the day somehow in Pymatuning. I went to the beach but instead of swimming I laid back in my car and took a nice nap before the ride home.
And that was my day in and out of court.