I-70 speeders now playing "the game’
David Kingsley on Monday drove more than two hours from Lafayette, near Boulder, to Eagle to contest the $250 speeding ticket he got in East Vail in June.
Dean Yocum, 34, of Denver also came to the Eagle County Justice Center on Monday to get the six point-ticket he received at the same spot during reconstruction on Interstate 70 after the infamous “sinkhole” reduced to four points.
“You play the game,” Yocum said. “You come here and you get it reduced.”
For Kingsley, 52, who got his ticket reduced to $127.80 and his points reduced from six to four, the primary issue wasn’t the money but the points. If a person gets 12 points in a 12-month period he can lose his drivers license for one year.
“Those points could also cost you about $3,000 more in car insurance, and they’ll stay for years,” said Kingsley, adding this was the second ticket he’s ever received.
Indeed, the justice center was swarmed Monday with about 150 people who had been pulled over in a mile-long construction zone where for weeks the speed limit had been drastically reduced, from 65 mph to 35 mph.
Sgt. George Dingfelder said the Colorado State Patrol issued more than 1,400 tickets from June 1 to July 25, doubling fines in the construction zone. Motorists caught driving 10 to 19 mph over the limit received $126 fines and four points on their drivers records; those driving 20 to 24 mph over the limit were handed $250 fines and six points; and those going at 25 mph or more over the limit got immediate summonses for mandatory court appearances.
“I was commuting from Avon to Summit County every day and I saw them stopping three cars at a time,” said Pam Slater, 42, of Aurora. “After watching it everyday, it felt like entrapment.”
Slater, who also got a $250 ticket, said she couldn’t see the 35 mph sign because there were three trucks blocking it.
Jim Thompson, president of Vail Resorts Development Company, said his ticket was “unfair.” Thompson got a four-point ticket for driving at 48 mph.
“It was Sunday morning and nobody was working on the highway,” he said while waiting in line.
Yocum also said he felt entrapped by the situation.
“The signage was poor,” he said.
But Dingfelder said during first few weeks of construction there were signs everywhere. When the construction zone was shortened after a few weeks, it was still posted a maximum speed of 35 mph, standard to working zones, he said.
“It was well-posted,” Dingfelder said. “If you didn’t see it, either you weren’t paying attention or you were going too fast to see it.”
Two court clerks, under direction of an Eagle County judge, offered the violators a reduction of two points on their tickets or another court date to contest it.
But Yocum, like most of the other violators, decided to pay and leave.
“I’m self-employed and I took time off work,” he said. “I’m not coming back.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at