Monday, October 10, 2005

Probable Cause

My BMW Z- 3 Coupe

I got stopped the other night on the way home from Minute Maid Park where the Astros ate up the Braves on the way to winning a Divisional playoff. Lucy and I were in the little green Z going home the back roads.

We had waited a fair amount of time sitting with the engine off on the second floor of a parking garage while 43 thousand baseball fans were in gridlock trying to leave downtown. The sports talk show had intermittent breaks to update the freeways and how they were handling the crowd. There was a report of a major accident on I-45 headed north near Parker with a car on fire; the way we had planned to go, and so we decided to head over to Shepherd via Memorial.

It was a good choice as we had almost no traffic to contend with once we crossed Main all the way to Shepherd and points north. We then took Stuebner-Airline rather than get on the freeway, again to avoid the ball game crowd. I could see some kind of emergency vehicle lights up ahead about half a mile. It was a Sheriff’s Department vehicle off on the shoulder and I could see the Deputy standing next to the vehicle he’d pulled over. I let a car pass me so I could move over one lane and get past. I had gotten about half a mile on down the road when I saw emergency lights pulling up behind me. I pulled off to the side and waited for the officer to walk up where I was prepared and had my license and my insurance card ready.

“Good evening, officer. May I help you?” I knew I hadn’t been speeding as I waited for some explanation for having been stopped.

“State law requires you to slow to 15mph when approaching a police unit with its emergency lights flashing or move over a full lane…” The officer recited the exact wording of the law as if I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Sir, I did move over to the other lane and did not get back into the other lane until well after passing you.” He took my license and insurance card back to his patrol unit where I can only assume that he ran all the regular checks to see if I had outstanding warrants and check on my driving history. I did comment to Lucy that he was the kind of asshole ( a technical term reserved for brash young patrolmen who overstep their legal limits ) that makes cops look bad; stopping folks for no real reason and having to rely on a bluff. Five minutes later he handed me my license and insurance card back; warning me to slow it down, no traffic ticket since no violation had occurred to begin with.

My guess was that he saw a hot looking sports car and decided that driving a hot looking sports car was probable cause enough and that something would happen the moment he turned on his light bar. He was right; I got angry and decided to blog about it.
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