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Reporting Dangerous Drivers

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Reporting Dangerous Drivers

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
November 2, 2009

To what extent should police partner with drivers who are concerned by and who report reckless drivers?

In the news this week is TV show “Biggest Loser” Abigail Rike, who lost 82 pounds during Season Eight of the show. Her husband and two children died on October 13, 2006, when their minivan was struck head-on by a reckless, speeding driver near Phalba, Texas.

Her husband, who was a high school speech and debate teacher, daughter and 18-day-old son, were killed in the fiery head-on crash.

A man in another car had reported the driver of the car that struck Richard Rike’s vehicle, after that driver tailgated him, passed him and “disappeared” fast out of sight. Shortly thereafter, that man saw a fireball and heavy black smoke in the distance, and then he came upon the accident scene.

A trooper reported that the speeding driver had apparently had been unable to stay in his lane in the right-hand curve where the crash occurred.

Have you ever reported a reckless or speeding driver to local police in McHenry County or to the Sheriff’s Department? Have you ever had the other driver ticketed for a violation that you would later go to court on?

I have, several times. Most of the time the police officers or deputies accepted my complaints and issued tickets.

And, until the last one, every one of those drivers was convicted or pled guilty in McHenry County Traffic Court.

Granted, I might have an edge on the “average” motorist because of my own law enforcement experience.

One of the things I plan to do as Sheriff of McHenry County is offer training to drivers so that they can be effective witnesses in court against reckless and aggressive drivers. And I shall work with the State’s Attorney’s Office and with local police departments to help create smooth working arrangements with any driver who reports a DUI or other reckless, aggressive or dangerous driver.

I believe there should be a good partnership between police and citizens to stop the carnage on our highways. There are traffic violations that you can report to police that will result in tickets to drivers. You must be willing to go to court, if the officer/deputy did not witness it.

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