The paper today had a story about a family who was vacationing on the NC coast and their interaction with the local police led to the mother being arrested, ferried off the island, and spending the night in jail. Most officers are simply trying to do their job, but there is a segment of the officer population who are overzealous and charge citizens when no charges are warranted. In the article the woman allowed her son to drive a golf cart when he was too young. The family had dinner nearby and when her son asked to drive back she said yes, but he was five years too young. In the cart was her son, her husband, their younger daughter, and a 22 year-old niece. The woman had some wine with dinner, but no one was intoxicated according to the woman, her husband, and the niece. When police pulled over the golf cart the agitated officer eventually arrested the woman for intoxication, child abuse, and assorted other charges, all because of a poor decision to allow an 11 year-old to drive the golf cart a few blocks home.
The video of the mother’s arrest is here:
Personally I find the police in coastal areas to be overzealous and eager to charge behavior. There was a T-Shirt everyone got back in the day which said Property Of Myrtle Beach Police Department since so many were often arrested for public intoxication. While I never have spent any time behind bars I have seen aggressive police pushing trumped up charges in coastal areas. One night we had two designated drivers taking us back to the house we had rented after a night of consumption. One was driving a new model car which was sporty for the time and the other was driving a 4 cylinder, 4 door, 10 or more year old Chevy Cavalier. The two cars stopped side-by-side and the driver of the Cavalier, the car I was in with three other people, rubbed the dash as if to say my car will beat your car. The driver of the sporty model which was also carrying four people put the car in neutral and revved up the engine and so the driver of the Cavalier did the same. When the light turned green the sporty car squealed a tire and accelerated to the speed limit, 35 mph. The Cavalier drove forward as anyone would leave after a light turns green. Within a half mile a blue light came on and the sporty car was pulled over and because the driver of the Cavalier was not sure of the way home he pulled over as well. They were both told to drive a mile or so away and to follow the police officer and were eventually charged with prearranged racing. Let that sink in, prearranged racing in a 4 door, 4 cylinder, Chevy Cavalier with 4 passengers. On a good day the car might do 0 – 60 mph in 20 second, but with 4 passengers I’ll bet that time would be closer to 30 seconds. It would be impossible to race anything another than another 4 cylinder of the day and even then the race would be about as exciting as watching paint dry. The drivers ended up having to go to court and as ludicrous as it sounds they ended up with community service and for joking around at the stoplight and the sporty car turning over a tire, but neither ever going above the speed limit.
Back in college I was the designated driver once and our agreement was the DD could have a single beer during the night so when we first entered the establishment I ordered my beer and proceeded to consume it over the next hour, but at some point about halfway through the beer it was spilled by someone in the bar so I was dry from that point forward. At the end of the night I was driving four other passengers home in the sporty Honda and because it had a digital speedometer I drove exactly at the posted limit. As I passed a 45 mph sign I checked the speed and was spot on. I knew in about a mile the speed dropped to 35 mph so I began to slow as I passed a police officer coming out a road to my right and then one to my left. As it was after 2 am I expected to be pulled and sure enough a mile or so later I was blue-lighted and pulled into a grocery store parking lot. The police officer ordered me out of the car and asked it I had been drinking and I told them I had drank half a beer all night because it was spilled and I was the DD. They asked if I knew what my speed was and I conveyed the speedometer was digital and exactly where the speed changes occurred and where each of them pulled out to follow our vehicle. They asked me to breathe into a hat which I did. After some difficulty finding the registration, the owner was in the passenger seat, they told us we could go but to slow down. I asked them why because I was driving the speed limit. Luckily the situation did not escalate and end up with me spending a night cuffed and stuffed. Back then there were no dash or body cams.
The moral of the story is to be careful after consuming alcohol if there is a chance you might come in contact with an officer. Follow all the laws and of course comply with instructions and hopefully your interaction will be positive.