Patrol won’t cite dangerous driver
Last week, I wrote about the “California” Highway Patrol being out of control in Louisiana. This week, I will inform you of some of the recent actions of the “Colorado” State Patrol. I do understand that exposing what certain members of the Colorado State Patrol do, can be hazardous to my driving health. For example, I have exposed the change of testimony of a former trooper in our district, Trooper Christenson. And, awhile back, I defeated Trooper Rutledge in court on a traffic ticket. Rutledge is no longer with the patrol. And I soundly defeated Trooper Koch in court, a three-day trial in which Koch had refused to check out my facts and actually admitted that he doesn’t follow the Constitution. Don’t take my word for that. The trial was audio recorded by the court. Koch no longer serves in our area. (Troopers: are you noticing a pattern here?) The State Patrol has paid me back before with proven false accusations, trials that they have lost, traffic tickets wrongly issued, etc. So be it! So why would I continue to expose their nonsense? OK, I am a courageous fool! Now on to other stories of certain members of the Colorado State Patrol. Recently, I decided to call 911 to report a dangerous driver because he appeared to be driving drunk on Interstate 70 through Dowd Junction near Minturn. I normally wouldn’t bother calling in a speeding car because, frankly, a fast-moving car is not necessarily dangerous. Cars that travel together in packs, using all lanes side by side, scare me more than a car passing me at a higher rate of speed. But I digress, as usual. Anyway, I was traveling eastbound to Vail on a Saturday night, driving the speed limit, when a car came by me at what appeared to be 80-90 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. Again, I normally wouldn’t care, until I saw him fail to brake for the two cars in the two eastbound lanes. He then, amazingly, passed on the right shoulder, next to the guard rail, and sped up to Vail. I called it in and was lucky enough to catch up to him when he was slowed by more traffic in West Vail, and failed to pass on the right shoulder this time. The 24-year-old driver, a Mexican national without any driver’s license, admitted to the Vail police officer that he did pass on the right shoulder. I was glad of that because it would have just been my word against his word, which probably wouldn’t stand up in court like his own admission would. Kudos to the Vail police officer who got the driver’s admission right away. However, the Vail police officer wisely realized that he could not write the ticket, as the location I described was just outside the town of Vail limits. So, the Vail officer contacted the Colorado State Patrol to come and write the ticket. The patrol refused, saying that they only do this when alcohol is involved, and amazingly, this idiot driver that passed on the tiniest of right shoulders was apparently not drunk. He could have killed himself and two innocent drivers in the two other vehicles, but the Colorado State Patrol couldn’t be bothered because it wasn’t “alcohol related.” The Vail officer told me that what the State Patrol told him wasn’t true, that they have written tickets for other drivers that were not alcohol-related. So the Vail officer called the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. They responded, concurred with the Vail Police about the State Patrol’s false claim, and wrote the ticket. I must now testify in court, if the Mexican driver shows up to contest it. On Saturday, Nov. 7, 2004, I was returning home around 12:30 a.m. to Avon from a Humane Society fundraiser in Vail wearing a tuxedo while driving. My radar detector went off, as it usually does, in Eagle-Vail on westbound I-70 along the straight-a-way, with its normal Eagle-Vail spurious readings. I was traveling at the posted speed limit of 65 miles per hour. The detector stopped beeping as I got closer to the newest westbound exit at Eagle-Vail. Then, as I crossed the bridge westbound over the Eagle River on I-70, I noticed a slow-moving car in the right shoulder just after the bridge. I slowed up even more. It was Trooper Smart of the Colorado State Patrol. His first incorrect statement was that I was speeding 85 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone. I knew that wasn’t true, as my speed detector didn’t go off. There were no other vehicles present traveling near me. But I said nothing about his so-called speed detection because I knew I had bigger problems. I was wearing a tuxedo, which I knew he would think is “probable cause” to suspedct alcohol consumption. The trooper demanded that I get out of the car, which I did. It was cold in my thin tux shirt and jacket. The trooper wanted me to take a roadside test. I responded, “Please correct me if I’m wrong, sir, but Colorado Revised Statutes allow me to take a blood test, which I’m perfectly willing to do.” I knew, however, that by taking a blood test, I would be taken to the Vail hospital, given a blood test, and then automatically booked at the county jail to bond out, awaiting test results in a week or two. Normally, this would be OK with me because jail is not the end of the world. Besides, I jokingly say they have a suite with my name on it at the jail. Unfortunately, I had a flight to Mexico the next morning that I knew I would miss if booked in jail. But nevertheless, I would not allow Smart to give me a “subjective” roadside, per legal advice from the law firm of Jim Fahrenholtz and Bruce Carey. Trooper Smart got angry. “Why won’t you take a roadside?” he demanded. “On the advice of attorneys, I choose to do a blood test,” I answered. “Do you always listen to your attorneys?” he asked. “Why wouldn’t I listen to attorneys?” I responded. “It’s a subjective test that you could choose to fail me on.” I really didn’t appreciate Smart suggesting that I had admitted to drinking, which I had not. Smart then angrily wrote the false speeding ticket and let me go. He also ridiculously advised me to send my money into Denver to pay the ticket. However, Bruce Carey advised me to pay it at the Eagle County courthouse and get 2 points off my license instead of 4 points off by sending it into Denver. Normally, I would have fought that ticket and gladly faced off against Smart in court. However, the trial would have been after I left for Mexico. Sometimes, life isn’t fair! Michael Cacioppo, a former radio talk show host and newspaper publisher, is managing director of BookPlayaDelCarmen.com, LLC, a local travel planning consultant on vacations to Mexico. He can be reached at Cacioppo@BookPlayaDelCarmen.com. This column, as with all personal columns, does not necessarily reflect the views of the Vail Daily.Vail, Colorado
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