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Travel Tip: Don’t flee from the Texas State Police

In my defense, it wasn’t my fault.  Well, not exactly.

I took a well-deserved (well, I think it was, anyway) vacation that I might get around to posting about.  As a huge hockey fan, I visited Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, and Nashville to catch an NHL game in each city (highlight was obviously watching the Pens win in overtime against the Avalanche.  On the one hand, it was the Avalanche, who aren’t exactly doing well.  On the other hand, the Pens are dressing half of their AHL franchise because of all their injuries, so I’ll take it).  I actually drove the entire trip (I like long road trips, what can I say, and I have a new car that I like).

Anyway, I’m not exactly a poster child for defensive driving, so I tend to get pulled over once every couple of years for some instance of stupid driving.  Speeding, rolling stop at a stop sign, stuff like that.  Sometimes, I get a ticket, other times, I get a warning.  In Illinois, when you get a warning, it is typically literally takes the form of the state trooper (if it is the state police that pulls me over) saying something like “Hey, idiot, don’t do it again.”  So, that’s what I’m used to.

As a general rule (and kids, don’t follow this rule, I’m just saying what I’ve experienced), if you speed 5 MPH or so above the posted limit on a state or interstate highway, troopers don’t generally pull you over.  For whatever reason, using our friend cruise control, I was driving through West Texas at exactly 10 MPH above the limit (which is posted at 70 during the day, and 65 at night, on whatever highway it was).  There were three or four of us doing this, but for whatever reason, I was the one the Texas State Police pulled over.

<digression>If you are paying attention, you can almost always see them coming, but only too late.  Maybe I should get a radar detector.  Whatever. </digression>

There were two officers who approached the vehicle and I gave them all the requisite stuff, license, proof of insurance, registration.  They spent a few seconds looking at it and then they told me “We are going to give you a warning” and handed back the requisite stuff, license, proof of insurance, registration.  Since I was (at the time) driving from Dallas to Albuquerque, I was mentally calculating how much longer it would take to make the trip, and said thank you, and went on my way.

The only problem was that they hadn’t actually handed back my license, just the other stuff.  In Texas, they actually give you a slip of paper that identifies exactly what they are warning you about, so they kind of expect you to wait in your vehicle till they give you that slip of paper along with your returned license.

So, from the point of view of the troopers, I just took off.  Needless to say, within 30 seconds, they were pulling me over again, and this time, they weren’t necessarily as pleasant as they asked me to exit my vehicle and go sit in theirs.  One trooper sat in the driver’s seat, the other sat in the back seat, and while they perused whatever they could see on the internal computer, they started asking questions like what drugs I was transporting that would cause me to flee a pullover stop.  They also started asking trick questions like “Why were you arrested in 2007”?  Since I wasn’t arrested in 2007, I had no idea how to answer that one.  They also couldn’t quite figure out why the hell I would drive from Chicago to Dallas and then on to Phoenix via Albuquerque instead of flying.

This will shock some of you, but I tend to be somewhat of a smartass.  Surprise, I know.  Anyway, in this situation, Mr. SmartAss wisely disappeared, and just about every answer I gave them took the form of “Yes, sir” or “No, sir.”

Luckily for me, this all worked out, and I got the little slip of paper with the warning and my license back.  I need to make sure to drive the speed limit the next time I’m in Texas.

In summary, don’t flee from the Texas State Police.

posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:10 PM Print
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