The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 18, 2013

Entirely legitimate to utterly ridiculous

EPD officers hear many excuses on traffic stops

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — You might think if you’ve heard one bad excuse you’ve heard them all, but after traffic stops, Enid Police Department officers have been given excuses that range the entirely legitimate to the utterly ridiculous.

“I’m late to work or late to something. That’s the most common one I hear,” Officer Kelly Smith said. ‘I have to go to the bathroom is another. It’s all typical stuff.”

Officer Brian Schwarzkopf said he stopped a woman for speeding and found she had a bloody nose.

“She said she was on her way home,” he said. “I told her to stop and it get it fixed.”

Schwarzkopf said he stopped a speeder going 22 mph over the posted speed. “They said they were on their way to church.”

Officer Michele James said she stopped another churchgoer, this one going 15 mph over the limit. There was no word if the two were heading to the same service.

James and Officer Jeff Suttmiller had stopped a truck with larger tires and a lift kit for speeding.

“He was going 51 in a 35,” Suttmiller said.

James said,” He said he knows he wasn’t speeding because the app on his cellphone says he wasn’t. He pulled his phone out and showed it to me.”

“I told him I was going to go with what my radar says,” Suttmiller said.

Lt. Eric Holtzclaw said he was once told someone was weaving in and out of traffic because they “had to get a text message off” to their friends.

He had another incident involving a driver too focused on their phones.

“There was a girl who was so clued into her texting she didn’t even see me behind her,” he said. “I had my lights on and she didn’t even see me. It wasn’t until I blasted on my siren that she looked up.

“That’s why texting and driving is so dangerous.”

The lieutenant received a civics lesson when he stopped one man for a seat belt violation.

“He said it was his constitutional right to not wear a seat belt,” Holtzclaw said. “I had to remind him that driving was a privilege under the state laws and not a constitutional right.”

But not all reasons for violating traffic violations are bad ones.

Officer Charles Daniels once stopped a woman who said she’d cut her fingers off.

“And she actually did,” he said. “She was one the way to the emergency room. She had cut them at work.”

Some traffic stops have strange endings.

“I stopped a lady once and wrote her a ticket and she offered me a doughnut,” Suttmiller said. While that might upset some officers, Suttmiller said the woman was returning from Krispy Kreme in Oklahoma City after getting the pastries for her parents.

“It was still kind of warm, too.”