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Grey Ford, 900 8273 = Hot Dog

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Grey Ford, 900 8273 = Hot Dog

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 19, 2009

Thursday morning I was driving into Crystal Lake on U.S. 14, and I noticed a grey Ford sedan (Illinois front license plate 900 8273) coming up fast behind me between Doty Road and Lily Pond Road. It was quickly clear that he was going to "make his point" about my 50MPH speed (in the 50 zone) by closing the distance between his car and mine very quickly and coming up very close behind me.

I tend to drive right on the speed limit and use Cruise Control to maintain my speed. As we approached North Ridgefield Road, he swung out to pass and flew by me right through the intersection, hitting an estimated 70MPH as he went around.

So, where are the deputies? Do they ever monitor locations where drivers frequently violate traffic laws? Does the Sheriff's Department still have the motorcycles? Do they use them for anything besides parades?

That driver quickly caught up to the next car "poking" along at about 50MPH, and then he passed it just east of the law office at 8600 U.S. Hwy. 14, right in the middle of a no-passing zone.

I got a good look at the driver, as he went around me. Maybe it's about time to start going to court again. In this case, since I didn't call to have an arrest made while the driver was still in sight, I'd have to talk a deputy into taking a complaint from me and issuing a ticket to the driver, once he was identified by me. I'd probably have to view a photo line-up and go to court 1-2-3 times, so it just isn't worth it for two no-passing violations.

In the past I've run into resistance from some deputies (and none from others) about issuing tickets when they have been able to stop the driver. Usually, it takes a call to the next jurisdiction to get the driver stopped and detain him (or her) until a deputy can arrive.

I remember one night when a speeder in a pick-up passed me between Huntley and Woodstock in a no-passing zone. Woodstock Police stopped him and held him until a deputy arrived. The deputy talked to the other driver first, then talked to me and told me that the other driver said he hadn't passed me and she wasn't going to give him a ticket. Well, duh, what did she expect him to say? I insisted she ticket him, and she refused and allowed the other driver to leave.

After the deputy left, the Woodstock cop said to me, "She should have just given him the ticket. She has no idea how much grief you are going to cause her."

It turned out not to be that much, because the Sheriff backed her up. Unfortunately, that made the deputy not only the cop, but also the judge. What she should have done was, write the ticket and let the traffic court judge decide. At that time I was batting 100% in McHenry County Traffic Court on cases where I had complained about other drivers' violations.

The next time you see a serious traffic violation, consider calling the police or the sheriff's department, depending on where the violation occurred. If you are willing to go to court, say so. What you may run into is that the dispatcher will tell you that you have to talk to an officer first. This is a dumb requirement, if you are reporting a serious traffic violation, because the violator will be long gone.

The cop needs to get the violator stopped on your telephone complaint, if he can spot him, and then wait for you to arrive and stop a safe distance behind the patrol car. Stay in your car until the officer approaches. Dispatchers should be trained to ask callers, if they want to make a complaint and will stop and talk to the officer, if he can get the violator stopped.

If you just want to report the violator and hope the dispatcher will broadcast the complaint and that a local cop will spot a violation himself, do that.

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