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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

First time for everything

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Lynette Sowell

My front porch

 

So there I was one morning, driving along, minding my own business…

That’s how the story goes for a lot of us, isn’t it? And then, I saw a black-and-white pull out of the parking lot I’d just passed on North First Street.

Then on went the flashing blue lights. Yep, they were after me. My first thought was, huh? What did I do? I pulled into the nearest parking lot to a safe place off the street. Yes, my insurance card was in the glove box, my license in my wallet. In the next 30 seconds or so, I thought of what I could have possibly done to get this much attention from a police officer, and not because I’d just brought food to the PD for one of the citizens’ police academy alumni meals.

I’d just bought my car a few weeks before and was still waiting for my registration decal and my tags. Maybe he’d seen the lack of sticker on the front window. That must be it.

Maybe I knew this officer?

Nope, I didn’t know him. In fact, he looked barely old enough to have his driver’s license. I braced myself and tried to sound as respectful as I could when I responded to his question, “Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over today?”

I said, “I have absolutely no clue.”

Yes, there are times when I have absolutely no clue about things. Like then.

“You were speeding. . .in a school zone. You were doing 35, and in a school zone the speed limit is 25.”

My brain struggled to process that bit of information. Yes, sirree Bob, that two blocks on North First Street will get ya. Just like it had just gotten me.

But—but—I LIVE in a school zone. I always, always watch for school zones. It’s only 40 on this section of North 1st Street.

I don’t speed. I’m not guilty. Officer, I’m innocent. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. That light surely was NOT on when I went into the zone. Or was it?

He gave me my ticket and then went on his merry way, while I began to fume on my not-so-merry way.

Being a nosy person, I tried to find out when those school zone lights went on—or off. It was after eight a.m., school was long in session, so it wasn’t like I was in danger of mowing down anyone heading to school. Matter o’ fact, there’s not even a school within a mile of this school zone. But I digress.

The city said TxDOT manages those lights, and no one from TxDOT ever got back to me. Nor did anyone I spoke to at TxDOT seem to know.

My resolve to “fight it” in court dwindled as time went on. I even consulted a “speed demon” friend who’s received many, many speeding tickets in his decades of driving. He said not to fight it. Sigh.

I decided to hold off and speak to the judge. I showed up at the municipal court. Oh, good. That’s Judge Price. I hired him once for some legal work. No matter. He gave his speech to everyone present, and it was then I decided to “take my medicine.” I pled no contest, still fuming, went on to take the driver safety course, paid my fine and life went on.

And you know what? I learned a few things from that course and it wasn’t so bad. For one thing, I learned I stop too closely to other vehicles at red lights. I learned how dangerous it really is to drive on rainslick roads, and why. No wonder we have so many wrecks on rainy days around here.

If you haven’t taken a driving safety course in a while, I recommend it. Just not in the way I ended up taking the course. The big thing that was confirmed for me was—whenever you get behind the wheel, expect the unexpected.

And me, who received her first ticket after decades of driving, ended up getting ticketed for speeding—at 35 miles an hour. I still haven’t lived that “speed” down.

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