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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cheese Head Truck Driver and the Indiana State Trooper

Cheesehead Driver and the Indiana State Trooper
In over thirty years of professional driving, I’ve gotten three citations (in a tractor trailer).  Two were for speed and one for an illegal U turn (never saw the sign).  Unfortunately, one of those citations came as a result of meeting an Indiana State Trooper.

One Sunday afternoon about 1992, I was running south down I-65 in Indiana with a multi-stop load headed for Ohio and West Virginia.  Back then, in Indiana and several other states, they had a split speed limit, 65 MPH car and 55 MPH for trucks.  Traffic was fairly heavy, but the flow was smooth with everyone cruising at about 65 (of course in the left lane several were driving as fast as they could).  Back in those days, radar detectors were not illegal in trucks and I always ran with one.  Well, suddenly my detector alerted and I looked over in the oncoming lanes and noticed an unmarked blue high performance IROC Camaro, driven by a trooper.  I saw his brake lights come on, but wondered how he would be able nail me with all the traffic I was in.

Sure enough, he came up behind me and put the lights on!  I pulled off on the shoulder and waited, observing a "giant" struggling to get out of that small car.  He had to put both legs out sideways, both feet on the ground to raise him up out of that thing. He had to have been at least 6 foot 5 or better.  He then reached back in, grabbed his Smokey Bear hat, put it on and came walking up to the tractor.  With a big wad of tobacco in his mouth, he asked if I knew how fast I was going and I replied that I wasn’t sure and just going with the flow as not to impede traffic.  In a very annoyed and loud voice, he replied  “Boy!, you ain’t s’pose to go with the flow of traffic, you s’pose to be doing 55!”  “ I’m going to write you up for 65 MPH and do a Level One inspection on you!”  Jeeze, I thought, this guy must have swallowed too much of that tobacco juice, what set him off? So I sat there for 45 minutes while he crawled all over that truck looking for more stuff to write up.  What a great afternoon. With the cost of a lawyer, it was more than $500.00 to keep that ticket off my record!

You won’t believe the rest of this story, but I swear that it is true.  Later that week, on the return trip to Wisconsin, I was on the same route.  It was Wednesday or Thursday, traffic was light and I was running by myself.  I came up over a small rise on the highway and my detector lit up a warning. The same trooper in the same Camaro was sitting in the median and had a dead spot-on reading on my truck!  I had my cruise set at 62 MPH and my heart had to have skipped more than a few beats.  I looked at him and he was glaring right at me.  I must have been within his tolerance, or he just didn't feel like trying to get out of his car, as he let me go by!  You can bet your life that every trip through that area afterwards, I was a very good boy!

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