Posts Tagged ‘traffic citation’

A late-night encounter with TBPD: The ballad of the white lines

May 28, 2010

I was returning home to Ybor City when my drunk friend in the passenger seat, whom I was designated-driving, decided that she wanted pizza. Being a Saturday at 2 A.M. in Ybor, parking on the street was scarce. I had already looped around the block once, and was on my second go-round. Suddenly, I see a police officer following in my rear-view mirror. Being the cautious driver that I am, I already had my seat belt fastened and was obeying the speed limit. I tell my friend of the officer behind us. “Do you think he’s gonna pull us over?!” she asks frantically. “No. I’m not doing anything wrong,” I calmly reply.

I pull up to a red light where I need to make a right turn. Turn signal already on, I come to a complete stop where I remain for roughly four seconds for good measure. I know that the cops are looking for any reason to write tickets, and rolling through a red light was not going to be my demise. After my lengthy and pronounced stop, I make the right turn. One second later, there are red and blue flashing lights behind me.

What the fuck?!” rings in my head as I pull to the shoulder of the road. The police officer comes up, flashlight ablaze, and sticks his cop-face in the window. “License, registration and proof of insurance.” Seeing as how I was driving my friend’s car, I let her take care of the last two while I handed over my license. While she was rummaging through her glove compartment, Cop-Face starts shining his flashlight all in the car – mostly in the backseat. “What the fuck?!” is still on repeat as he takes the needed-information back to his car.

Seeing as how he never told me why he pulled me over, my mind is going a thousand miles an hour. We wait. And wait. And wait some more. Close to an hour passes before he returns. “Would you consent to a search?” he asks. My mind: “WTF?!” My mouth: “Uhhhh, sure. I mean, okay.” I didn’t understand this request, but I had nothing to hide, so of course I complied. “Step out of the car, ma’am,” Cop-Face instructs.

I get out. “Ms. Bishop, the reason why I pulled you over is because someone came up to me in the street and reported to me that you girls were doing cocaine at stoplights.”

My jaw drops.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“No, ma’am. And when something as serious as that is reported, we have to take all cautionary measures.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I’ve never done cocaine in my life, never even tried it, so the fact that this was happening was absolutely absurd. And even if I did do it, bumping lines down Seventh Avenue wouldn’t exactly be my setting-of-choice. Cop-Face instructs me to walk over to the sidewalk where a female officer was waiting to give me a frisking. I tell her how ridiculous this situation is, and she laughs as she gets to Second Base with me. She finds nothing on us. Cop-Face and his buddy find nothing in the car. Female Officer tells us not to worry, and that as soon as they tie up some loose ends in the Cop-Mobile, we’ll be free to go.

I thank the Universe and decide that this will be a funny story to tell the next day.

I get back in the driver’s seat and wait for Cop-Face to return with my ID. Thirty minutes pass before he shows back up.

“Alright, Ms. Bishop, I’m issuing you a traffic citation for stopping in front of the white line at the stoplight. Those lines are there for a reason, and you need to stop completely behind them.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Please sign at the bottom. You’re not admitting fault, you’re just saying that you received this citation. You can either pay the ticket or try to fight it in court. But I assure you, Ms. Bishop, if you try to fight it, I will be there and you will lose.”

“Well, how much is the ticket?”

“Two-hundred and sixteen dollars.”

Ahhhh, the post-nasal drip of Justice.

[to read at Creative Loafing, click here.]