The Ticketmeisters From Hell
March 14, 2003 7:17 AM   Subscribe

You'd better come home, Speedy Gonzalez! Just make sure you never drive through New Rome, the fascist little village Car and Driver said was too far-fetched even for Hollywood. [Via Linkfilter.]
posted by Carlos Quevedo (15 comments total)
Well, absolute power does tend to corrupt absolutely, does it not.

Just a thought to keep in mind for all those who are all too willing to excuse pretty much any kind of criminal behaviour by police officers because "they're out there defending us". Enforcing the law mustn't put you above the law.
posted by clevershark at 7:29 AM on March 14, 2003

That is if you get stopped for speed and they see a cracked windshield...

It's illegal to have a cracked windshield? Oops. Guess I won't be driving through Ohio anytime soon.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:51 AM on March 14, 2003

there's a corner near where i work - it's a right turn from a big road to a side road and it's signposted no right turn except for buses/taxis. people ignore the sign and turn right anyway, so the police wait round the corner every now and then and book people. i've heard lots of people complaining that it isn't fair - that the police shouldn't just wait there. like they're only really breaking the law if they get caught in a certain way...
posted by andrew cooke at 7:58 AM on March 14, 2003

I grew up a mile from New Rome. How odd to see it here. My New Rome stories:
At age 16, at 10pm, after my shift at the Hart's discount store on Broad St. I drove west through New Rome toward my house. Passing by the Culligan dealer and headed toward the Dairy Queen, a New Rome police cruiser came onto the road and followed me out of New Rome proper. Their beacons came on just as I passed under the last traffic light in town. It feels like running the gauntlet- if you can just make it out of New Rome, you'll be safe. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. They are allowed to follow you out of their jurisdiction for infractions made in the town. With their lights flashing and the small 6 cylinder of my 1986 Dodge Mirada struggling to pull the car forward, I pulled of the side of the road in front of the closed home improvement store. I knew I hadn't been speeding so I wondered what offence they would claim I had committed.

An officer approached. I offered license and registration when he asked. I was a bit surprised when his first question was "How old are you?"
"Where you going?"
Where you been?"
"Work," I said, indicating my brown smock and orange name badge.
"How old are you?"
"I'm gonna have to ask you to step out of the car."
I swing open the huge maroon door and step into the gravel as cars stream by filled with people I know pity me like I've pitied so many others.
I'm overcome with a sense of dread as I realize that two cruisers and four officers have pulled me over. I don't know if I'm part of a training exercise, or if they noticed I was young and all wanted to get in on the harassment. I imagine teens react more dramatically to arrest than other groups. One cop is in the car running my plates. One is circling my car with a clipboard looking for citable equipment problems. The fourth is in front of the first car adding the light of his flashlight to the headlamps, spot, and beacons of the front car.
I am asked to do the dance of field sobriety for the 4 officers who are spaced evenly along the distance I'm asked to walk. I perform well enough. I'm asked again how old I am. The officer who ran the plates then runs my license and after I wait ten minutes while the other 3 officers confer, he finds it clean. The equipment reviewer reports all okay. They have nothing to cite me for. I expected them to be disappointed for having come up empty, but the first officer gives me back my papers and cheerily announces, after 20 minutes out of the car that I had appeared to have trouble staying in my lane, and that I should be more careful. Mine is one of the milder New Rome stories I know.

I was ticketed once by them because of a technical infraction that they aren't allowed to check for unless they pull you over for something else, but paid the ticket rather than visit mayor's court. My brother in law was arrested for driving a truck that belonged to someone who had an outstanding ticket in New Rome.

Also, I drove my 1968 Chevy Corvair through town with the taillights out. They pulled me over and helped me fix the short, and said I should "Take car of that car, now, guy. It's nice to see one again."
posted by putzface_dickman at 8:16 AM on March 14, 2003

Of course, Ohio cops--especially State Troopers--have a reputation of asshole-ish behavior anyhow (at least to Michigan residents). I got pulled over in southern Ohio a few years ago for doing 65 in a 55 (I honestly thought I was doing the speed limit, as it was a freeway). He did a u-turn over a grass-covered median in order to bust me, an incredibly dangerous person doing 10 mph over the limit on a rural freeway with no one else around at 7 am in the morning.

He demanded that I pay the ticket immediately, a fine of $70. His reasoning for this was that I was a Michigan resident and that Ohio didn't have any sort of arrangement to collect fines from Michigan residents (I have no idea if this is true or not--I was 21 at the time and looked even younger). I offered to write him a check, he told me it had to be cash All I had was $70, and I needed that to pay for my gas to get home. He then offered to escort me to an ATM where I could take out $70 to give to him. I declined. He then offered me one final option: surrender my driver's license (which, you know, I needed to drive home) or my AAA card. I gave him my AAA card, AAA paid the fine and sent me a bill.

To this day, I don't understand why they couldn't just send the ticket to my house and assess additional fines if I didn't pay it. That's what most states do. Heck, I've been pulled over by Michigan state troopers in the dead of night, for speeding and weaving a bit (from tiredness) and gotten nothing more than a warning.
posted by eilatan at 8:29 AM on March 14, 2003

I saw New Rome covered by John Stossel on 20/20 (hey, there was nothing else on and I was away from my broadband connection). His version sounded weird... but the C&D article explores it in much more detail. Well worth reading for those who appreciate absurdity.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:29 AM on March 14, 2003

He demanded that I pay the ticket immediately, a fine of $70.

That can't possibly be legal, can it?
posted by Skot at 8:33 AM on March 14, 2003

Well, that's what I thought when he told me that, but it wasn't like I had a whole lot of choice in the matter, either. I had no other source of information at the time--I was alone and it was a rural area, there was literally no one else around. I suspect that if I had refused his demand for some variety of payment (cash, DL, or AAA card) and continued to refuse his creepy offer to escort me to an ATM to withdraw cash that I would have ended up in jail.
posted by eilatan at 9:04 AM on March 14, 2003

With an income of over three hundred thousand dollars in fines you think they could afford to buy additional patrol cars. Why also have more people not moved to new rome to take advantage of these weary and misbehaving drivers? you think they would add a bar to every corner to give the officers a chance to make sobriety check points. Check every car to increase the likelihood of catching legitimate drunks as well as the minor infractions that compose the lion share of their municipal budget.

There must be more to this story, some other side to New Rome they are not telling. Now i'm curious, if only to see the Dairy Queen is serving the same flavors. (>_<)
posted by xtian at 10:14 AM on March 14, 2003

... and there's a $13 charge for paying with a credit card.

Merchant agreement violation if you're using a Visa - bastards. Pet peeve of mine.
posted by rotifer at 10:35 AM on March 14, 2003

That can't possibly be legal, can it?

I don't know about Ohio, but Montana is a "cash bond state". If you are pulled over for a traffic violation, and not a resident, you must either pay the officer for the ticket or they will detain you. While traveling through Montana on a motorcycle one summer, I was pulled over for speeding (in fact, I was racing a car and going well over 90 mph). The trooper was quite cool, considering, but I'm also a native Montanan - I think that helped a bit. I didn't have any cash, but was traveling with some friends, so, he cleared of the front seat, I hopped in, and we ran them down at 120mph. They were scared shitless, and stoned out of their minds, when we caught them.
posted by rotifer at 11:35 AM on March 14, 2003

Here's my "crummy cop" story:

One Thanksgiving we were visiting my dad's parents in Connecticut, and after dinner we decided to drive into Rhode Island and visit some family friends, roughly a 60-minute drive. About 10 or 15 minutes from the CT/RI border we get pulled over by a cop, cause my dad tends to speed. Not a lot, but enough to get noticed. Anyway, the cop takes his license back to the cruiser to run it. It takes a very long time. He comes back and tells my dad his out-of-state license (we lived in MD at the time) is suspended. Considering the only ticket my dad ever got in MD was one for not wearing a safety belt, this seems impossible to us. The cop doesn't buy it and asks my dad to step out of the car, and come with him to the station.

So my mom, who is freaking out, follows. The cop is, of course, speeding, which makes my mom even more anxious. We get back to the station, and wait for about 30 minutes while the cop and my dad call the MD license bureau to figure it out. Turns out, MD's system shows the report like this:

"Suspension: None"

... while CT's system doesn't say anything about suspensions unless the license is, indeed, suspended. The cop thought my dad's license was suspended with no reason given. We were finally let go, but the kicker was, if no one had been at the office in MD, it being 8pm on Thanksgiving and everything, they would have detained my dad until at least the next morning, if not the next business day!
posted by starvingartist at 11:51 AM on March 14, 2003

Well, the way the nice scary officer explained it to me was that if I was from any other state except Michigan, it wouldn't have been a big deal, but they didn't have an agreement with Michigan to collect the funds if I didn't pay the fine. Which struck me as odd, since Michigan is right next to Ohio and all.

However--I know a lot of people who have gotten tickets in Ohio (their speed limit used to be lower than Michigan's on I-75, and Michigan drivers tend to ignore silly things like speed limits anyhow) and none of them had to pay their tickets on the spot.
posted by eilatan at 11:56 AM on March 14, 2003

Also, I drove my 1968 Chevy Corvair through town with the taillights out.

That sounds suicidal -- driving a Corvair with no taillights?
posted by Vidiot at 12:51 PM on March 14, 2003

North Dakota has a similar arrangement. I got pulled over going 35 in a 25 a couple years back, and got a $10 ticket. Ten friggin' bucks. No points on the license.

Basically, it's a mugging, but for lunch money. I can deal with that. Of course, the road I was on was a highway that conveniently had a tiny-ass town of two buildings on it, justifying a 50 mile-per-hour drop in the speed limit. The worst part was we were, literally, 25 ft. from the sign that resumed the old speed limit, which was the reason I started to speed up. Copper was waiting just behind the sign.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:22 AM on March 15, 2003

« Older the UN   |   It's about self-destruction Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments