The young man had been clocked on radar at 113 mph at 4:30 a.m. The pursuing police officer testified that he caught up to the driver only after the driver pulled over into the parking lot at an IHOP. Asked why he was driving so fast, the subject replied, “My girlfriend called me and said that she wanted some waffles and she wanted ‘em NOW!”
Hearing that story, a young woman was reminded of an instance of her own. She was living in the Miami, Fla., area when she bought what all would agree was a Really Fast Car. The day after taking delivery of R.F.C., she was driving R.F. on the freeway between Hollywood, Fla., and Ft. Lauderdale.
A state trooper wanted to discuss with her the rapidity he and his radar device had detected. Ergo, blue lights, siren, etc. After dutifully pulling over, the young woman heard the officer’s query: “Do you know how fast you were going, ma’am?”
“Yes, sir,” she replied, unable or unwilling to actually utter the phrase “135 miles per hour.” Which is what the speedometer had read just before she noticed the blue lights. And then she heard herself say, “But I thought it was a law that if you had a brand-new car, you got one chance to see how fast it would really go.” The driver of R.F.C. claims to have been let off with a warning by the chuckling trooper.
Not so an old golfing buddy of mine, who also gave a trooper reason for a little healthy laughter. Years ago – when he was accustomed to driving a small car – on a certain business trip, he was obliged to accept the only car available at a rental company, “a large Buick.” With 100 miles to drive before reaching the city of his business meeting, “Dave” set out on the highway, admiring the smoothness of the ride.
“I crested a large hill and then started coasting down the other side,” he told me. “I glanced at the speedometer and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I immediately began to brake. And then I noticed the blue lights flashing in the mirror.” When the officer asked if he knew how fast he was going, Dave said, “Well, I know I was doing 115 for a few seconds there.”
The trooper laughed, Dave said, apparently finding his candor refreshing. After a chat about the fact that Dave was accustomed to the “more honest feel” of speed in the smaller cars that Dave usually drove, the enforcer lowered the alleged speed from 115 to 90.
And then there is the story about the speeder to whom the officer sarcastically quipped, “I’ve been waiting here all day for you,” to which the reply was made, “I’m sorry, but I got here as fast as I could.”
Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.