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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Travesty of a Failed Traffic Stop

At 10:35PM on Interstate 35, a routine traffic stop went horribly awry.  Williamson County Deputies, Johnny Ray B. and Billy Bob M., stopped a car for a moving violation.  They claimed that the driver failed to give a turn signal prior to changing lanes.  In actuality, the officers suspected the driver of being intoxicated because he was only going 73 mph in a 75 mph speed zone.

Upon approaching the vehicle, the officers noticed absolutely nothing as being out of place.  The driver appeared to be completely clear headed and there was no smell of liquor on his breath.   They spoke to the young man, asking him where he had been, where he was going, and why was he driving so slow.  Unsatisfied, officers B. and M. began to direct their questions more specifically about exactly what did the young man have for dinner.  The driver grew agitated and appeared suspicious when officer Johnny Ray B. informed him that "fries" were not a particularly healthy choice to go along with his chicken fried steak entree.  The deputies then admonished the driver for not getting steamed vegetables instead, and then ordered him: "Please step out of the car, sir."

The driver reluctantly complied with the politely stated command and stepped out of his car.  To the growing dissatisfaction of the officers, the driver walked perfectly normal, and his demeanor was calm and collected.  The officers then proceeded to question him further, getting in his face a little and watching to see if he would stumble backwards.  Officer B. went back to the cruiser to run the license and registration while Officer M. proceeded to question the suspect.  "Sir, how often exactly do you go to Twin Peaks for dinner?  ...and why has it taken you until approximately 11pm to get headed home?  ... are you hiding something from me son?  ...do you have any drugs in your car?  ...are you sure you didn't have one drink with your dinner?  If you're hiding something, it'd be a wholes lot better if you just go on ahead and tell me right n...."

Officer B. returned with an imperative look on his face, and then he began to interrogate the driver.  "Our records show that you have two drivers licenses, this one you gave me from Florida, and another expired Texas license on file.  Do you realize that it is illegal to have two licenses ...you care to explain why you have two drivers licenses for me son?"  

The young man began to explain,

"I just moved back to Texas, but working full time and studying for a very important exam, I haven't had a chance to take yet another day off work to get my Texas drivers license renewed.  I thought that I only needed to turn in my old license and then get a new Texas license, but after the 3rd trip to the DMV, I was told to bring in either a birth certificate or US passport.  Then they also said I would have to schedule an 'in-car' driving test."

Officer B. replied,

"Son, you've got to do what you've got to do, but just remember that I'm gonna be watchin' you. Comprende?  I'm going to give you a warning this time, but if I catch you again with that Florida license, it's gonna be bad.  I'll give you until Monday to get that taken care of, sir."

The officers nodded and gave the driver a warning ticket for failing to change lanes in a safe manner and then they left.  The young man was still nervous as he got back into his car.  The whole event was quite unsettling. But, he managed to merge back onto the freeway and get home.   He was still shaking as he got home and removed a small box from his car.  He carried it in and sat it on the table in front of him.  The anxiety and fear from the traffic stop swelled in his veins as he lifted what was in the box up to his head.  With shaking hands, he placed one end of what he had in the box into his mouth and spun the cylinder on his favorite pistol ... lighter.  He took a deep breath and drew the flame in from the other end of that rolled up paper that he just gotten safely home with.  He thought, "whew, that was close," and laid down giggling.  Later in the night, he had an uncontrollable urge to heat up a frozen pizza and eat the whole thing himself.  Then, he fell asleep, full and happy.

If only those officers had done a better job, that young man could have been saved from his pizza binge happy evening.   If only it were customary for every vehicle to be searched at every traffic stop, not just vehicles driven by Mexicans; this travesty could have been prevented.   That young man could have been arrested and thrown in jail as he rightfully deserved.   His car could have been confiscated and sold by the county, and thousands of dollars in fines could have been raised for the county as well.  That's not even to mention the lost opportunity to have this young man's record permanently tainted so he would have problems finding and keeping jobs.   Such travesty, all because officers B. and M. were not quite diligent enough to discover the hidden contraband.

Well, no worries; deputy Billy Z. has a new prospect.  They just pulled over a Mexican looking woman because it appears that her rear license plate light is not sufficiently illuminating.  Deputy officers B. and M. are almost as happy as a fat man taking a dump because this girl is about to crack.  Deputy Johnny Ray is lookin' for his flashlight; they gonna get to put somebody in jail tonight!