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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wyoming State Trooper Gets His Man!

Trooper goes "Rambo" to nail a speed violator

9/27/14  Mary and I were on the way back to Utah last Saturday from our fun filled annual Wisconsin vacation. We were crossing Wyoming on I-80 and had just left Laramie after a fuel stop.

On cross country trips in my personal vehicle I always use a Valentine One radar detector, not because I want to speed, but because I want to know when a cop is shooting a radar gun at me. I learned over my thirty plus years in trucking that different states and their troopers have vastly different attitudes toward the motoring public driving on "their" highways. For instance, the state of Ohio has a long history of going after revenue from speeding tickets, harassing truckers especially, with huge fines for going a couple miles an hour over the speed limit. For that reason, I want to know when my "picture" is being taken so I have a better chance of defending myself, if necessary. I always drive within what I feel are law enforcement tolerances in the different states I drive through.

As we left Laramie last Saturday, the speed limit on that stretch of I-80 was 75 MPH and I set my cruise at 80. There was a guy in a vehicle behind me with Colorado plates on it that felt I was going a little too slow for him. He proceeded to pass me and seemed to be doing about 85 MPH as he gradually pulled away from me. There was a another vehicle behind him that also passed but was going a little slower, maybe 1 or 2 MPH faster than I was and he also eventually moved further ahead of us.

Traffic was light on that early Saturday morning and about 40 miles later, as we were nearing Elk Mountain, my detector lit up and I looked over in the oncoming lanes to spot a Wyoming State Trooper in a Charger coming towards me. I didn't even slow as I felt he wouldn't bother with me, but kept my eye on him in the mirror as he continued east. He seemed to be going faster than normal but he was in traffic and had to slow. There are only certain places you can cross over the median in that area and I saw his brake lights come on to make a u-turn from the left lane just as I lost sight of him.

At that point, I figured he was after the guy with Colorado plates and backed it down a couple miles per hour. Well, he came over a hill like a bullet and when he went by us he had to have been well over 100 MPH! If I hadn't known he was coming, he would have probably scared the crap out of me. No lights or siren and there were a few semi trucks ahead running about 65 MPH. He passed those trucks as the road curved to the left and had to hit his brakes to keep control of his car! I figured that there must be an extreme emergency up ahead that he had to get to right away.

What I found a couple miles up the road was that trooper on the side of the highway with the 85 MPH driver from Colorado. I was stunned that he would drive like that to pull over a minor speed violator. What sense does that make? You would think he would at least have had his lights flashing to warn the vehicles ahead that he was approaching at high speed. All it would take for a disaster is for someone to change lanes or drift out of their lane. Closing at such a high speed, most people don't look that far back before deciding to switch lanes. That trooper did not need to do that. There was nowhere for that Colorado guy to go, they were out in the middle of Wyoming sagebrush. The thought actually crossed my mind that I wanted to stop and ask him what the heck he was thinking, but of course that would probably be useless and risky.

Who do you think was the real menace behind the wheel last Saturday in Wyoming? Is writing that speeding ticket worth dying for? The trooper would have gotten him anyway, what a moron, it seems to me. I realize that reasonable speed laws need to be enforced, but that was an amazingly stupid stunt for that "Rambo" Wyoming trooper.

As I was thinking about writing this article, I was trying to remember how long I've had the Valentine One detector. I had a Passport detector that was stolen when I lived in Crivitz. The Valentine One was the state of the art back in the late 80's when I bought it and was amazed that they still sell it today. Twenty-some years ago, I paid $400 for it and they are going for about $480 today. It still performs great! The outer case is the exact same, they have made several upgrades over the years and you can send in an older unit to have it upgraded at the factory for a nominal cost. See the recent newspaper article below for an idea of Wyoming enforcement policies.

From the Casper Star Tribune:

Wyoming troopers ticket generously above 80 mph

September 06, 2014 4:00 pm  •  

The Wyoming Highway Patrol says it has ticketed more than 1,100 people for going over 80 mph since the new speed limit took effect July 1.
The average speed of those cited was between 88 and 89 mph.
Patrol officials say they have zero tolerance for violations of the 80 mph limit. The speeding citations reflect that. One trooper ticketed a driver for going 81 mph in Natrona County on Aug. 23.
The speed limit on Wyoming's interstates was 75 before the Legislature upped it last winter.

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