On a March morning in 2018 on my way through the village of Amelia following a large fuel truck that blocked my view of a traffic light, I was pulled over by an Amelia police officer (Shane Olson) and accused of “running” the light. In the process of discussing what had just occurred and why I was being pulled over, the officer and I came to the agreement that I indeed had not “ran” the light and the light was changing from yellow to red right as my truck went underneath it. Then the officer proceeds to tell me that he has to give me a ticket.
He states that my license plate light is out. I take the ticket and go about my day understanding that the officer was bound and determined to cite me for something since he had pulled me over, even if it was not for what he originally had intended.
This did not sit night with me and I decided to go to court for the citation.
I go to court, which was standing room only and waited until my name was called. The magistrate asked how I plead and I replied no contest with the intention to explain further what happened that morning. Before I had the chance to speak or tell “my side” of the story the magistrate asked, “Was your light out?” I said, “Yes, guilty as charged.”
That was the end of the interaction, as I was never given the opportunity to explain my frustration.
Then my next move was to pay the minimum payment ($20/month) for the fine for the next four months.
The fine was $20, plus the court cost of $85 for a total of $105.
I talked to the Chief Jeff Wood and the Mayor Todd Hart in the meantime and fell on deaf ears. The fine was paid off completely and on time.
The reason for me writing this publically is because I did not get an opportunity to give specifics in court after my plea. In conversation with Wood after the court date, he insisted the citation issued was not about financial gain for the village. In my opinion, the officer did not have any reason to find an alternate citation to issue after we agreed there was no way for me to have stopped in the situation given that morning. What possible resolution was he looking for by finding some ticket to issue, other than reaping revenue for the village of Amelia?
Money did seem to be the final resolution. Drivers beware of these antics. Individually, you cannot conquer the politics, but as a community, we can. Let our voices be heard!
P.S. As of now, I’m done spending money in Amelia. No more revenue from me!