Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wind Gauge Speeding Technique

One of the reading assignments from Neil Boortz led me to an AP story out of Ohio where their “highest court has ruled that a person may be convicted of speeding purely if it looked to a police officer that the motorist was going too fast”. My guess is Neil might not agree with the ruling or he wouldn’t have put it on his must read list; but that’s just a guess.


I’d used the “wind gauge technique” on a couple of occasions and had no problem justifying it. We’re not talking about ten or fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit; no, the times I implemented the “moistened finger held in the wind” was reserved for folks going double the speed limit or more.


One such time happened on night shift many years ago; I’m retired now. It was around two in the morning finishing off an offense report while sitting on the side of the road in a residential area. My ears were alerted to a sonic boom, maybe not quite that loud; but I could hear branches on trees bending as something hurled itself down the street off in the distance.


I poked my head out the window to see a wrecker, better stated; there was a blur resembling a wrecker zooming towards me with a car hoisted on its hook. The moment he saw the emergency lights he pulled over without having to drop in behind him.


“How fast do you think you were going?” I asked as he looked skyward for a good answer.


“Oh, maybe 65 or so.” Anyone knows you always estimate a little low when admitting how fast you were going to the cops.


“How fast?” I asked again, making fun of his response; skepticism dripping from the corner of my smile. Small aircraft are able to lift off slower than he was going.


“Well, maybe 70, 75 tops. I was on the way to the storage lot with this repo and needed to get there in a hurry.”


His driver’s license was expired, he didn’t have insurance and a quick check turned up several unpaid traffic tickets; no big surprise there. I let him sign his tickets, including the one written for speeding 10 miles per hour over the posted speed of 30 and he seemed grateful for the break; that is until I called for a wrecker to tow a “prisoner’s vehicle”; he was going to jail to settle up the old warrants. It was painful watching a grown man cry as one of his fellow wrecker drivers swooped in on a double fare, his wrecker and the repo too.


A week later there was an instant replay; same wrecker driver hauling another repo down the street at sub-sonic speed. He pulled over when he saw my police unit on the side of the road; didn’t even need to put on the emergency light bar. I smiled as I wrote the tickets and he knew there was nothing he could say. About the only thing going for him; his warrants had been cleared so he was able to finish the haul without another trip to jail.


He never contested the speeding tickets written using the wind gauge technique. I’m quite certain any judge or jury would have found him guilty based on the breeze he created, that and my many years of experience as a police officer. Radar might be the preferred method of verifying speed; however, an officer’s observation is what nails them; tree limbs bending in the wind makes for a fairly strong case.


This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

8 comments:

MK said...

Now that's the sort of policing i like and more importantly respect. The real nutjobs doing a 100 in a 40 zone are the ones that need yanking, not grandpa doing 44 in a 40 zone.

T. F. Stern said...

MK, The folks who want traffic camera enforcement for "speeders" don't care; all they are really about is how much money they can rake in. The same is true for red light camera enforcement.

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T. F. Stern said...

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David said...

Hmmm, I wonder how that'd work for me on the speeding HiPo I followed to his coffee break?

I suspect that even clocking him with my own speedo at 50% above the posted speed while he was on his way to a coffee break (very literally--I dropped into a seat at the table next to his. And yes, I had to really speed to keep him in sight) would have done me no good had I pressed for him to be cited for his reckless disregard for the speed limit... just to "log in" another pot of coffee and some pie.

Still, it is pretty easy to tell when a driver is driving grossly in excess of legal (or any kind of safe) speeds.

T. F. Stern said...

David, When I was a rookie cop I was assigned to ride with a senior officer, supposedly to teach me the ropes. I thought I'd missed a radio assignment as the senior officer flipped on the emergency equipment and bailed off the freeway across the grass and onto the service road at full tilt. He ran hot for a few minutes and pulled into a place to eat, moments before another unit pulled in. Turned out they had a bet each afternoon to see who would get to eat first. Great examples being set for the next generation of cops... I'm sure nobody in the citizenry ever noticed this kind of tomfoolery either...

Oh,wellllllllllll....

筠銘 said...

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T. F. Stern said...

筠銘 said, if the translation device is working...

"Death right sorrow and 但 life profitable unpleasant 樂 更 sorrow.........................................................................."

I have to say, that just about said exactly what I would have said if I had taken two more Vicadin.