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Lawmaker questions belated speeding ticket

Posted May 4, 2009

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— A state lawmaker who was stopped by a state trooper a week ago and let go said Monday he would appeal the speeding ticket he received four days after the stop.

Rep. Cary Allred, R-Alamance, apologized for speeding, but called the belated ticket a case of "reverse favoritism."

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Patrol investigating delay in issuing ticket

Trooper Nathan Mitchell pulled Allred over near the split of Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 in Orange County on April 27 after clocking his speed at 102 mph, authorities said. The posted speed limit along the highway is 65 mph.

Allred flashed his legislative identification badge and told Mitchell he was headed to Raleigh for a session of the General Assembly, and the trooper let him off with a warning.

"He asked me why was I going so fast. I said, 'I'm trying to get to the legislature so I can vote,'" Allred said. "I don't think I got preferential treatment."

North Carolina repealed a law in 1992 that prevented police from detaining lawmakers on their way to session. The law dated to colonial days, when authorities would often abuse their power.

When Allred reached Raleigh that night, various lawmakers reported that he appeared intoxicated and inappropriately touched a female page. House Speaker Joe Hackney has asked the chamber's sergeant-at-arms to look into the matter.

Allred denies any wrongdoing, saying he wasn't drunk and that he hugged and kissed a neighbor of his.

Word of the traffic stop became public Thursday along with the investigation of Allred, and the Highway Patrol decided Friday to issue Allred a speeding ticket for the Monday night traffic stop.

Capt. Everett Clendenin, spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said Monday that the agency is investigating why Mitchell didn't issue a speeding ticket during the stop.

Mitchell told his superiors that alcohol wasn't apparent during the stop, but said speed was, Clendenin said.

Troopers enforce with discretion – no state law requires them to issue a speeding ticket in a particular situation – but Highway Patrol policy limits that discretion, Clendenin said.

"A trooper who observes a clear cut and substantial violation, he or she is expected to take action on that violation," he said. "We know this doesn't look good, and that's why we're looking into it, because this, quite frankly, shouldn't have happened."

Gov. Beverly Perdue expects the agency to investigate the matter and take any necessary action, spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said.

The Highway Patrol has battled image problems in recent years. Some troopers have been accused of pulling over single, young women, others have admitted having sex on the job, and one was fired for kicking his K-9 during a training session.

Last year, the Highway Patrol belatedly issued a speeding ticket to Anthony Harris, an off-duty Durham police officer, after Trooper David Smith pulled him over on suspicion of speeding, administered several field sobriety tests because he smelled alcohol and let him go without any charge.

Clendenin said the 1,800 state troopers on the job deserve the public's respect, despite a few missteps.

"Judge us by our actions after we find out about it. We don't try to sweep it under the rug. We don't try to hide it," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • judge May 6, 2009

    I hope that when he appeals it, he gets put through the ringer at traffic court like everyone else. I had to show up several times just to be told the prosecution was not ready to proceed.

  • james27613 May 5, 2009

    Allred is a piece of work, just watch him in the video,
    'I was going with the traffic, it was very crowded'..
    'I don't know how fast I was going'.

    He don't look at the reporter face to face or the camera,
    he is full of it.

    He is lucky he did not cause any accidents.

  • Sumo Vita May 5, 2009

    "He asked me why was I going so fast. I said, 'I'm trying to get to the legislature so I can vote,'" Allred said. "I don't think I got preferential treatment"

    Really? A surgeon on the way to emergency surgery, I can barely see getting off. A state legislator on his way to vote goes 102 in a 65, gets off with a WARNING for crying out loud, and he doesn't think he got preferential treatment?

    Another good old boy who thinks he's entitled to throw his weight around.

  • james27613 May 5, 2009

    The Autobahn pavement is TWICE the thickness of the pavement on I-40 and other US Interstates. The road is kept in top shape to prevent accidents, unlike our interstates that are in constant
    need of repair from overweight trucks and poor construction.

  • james27613 May 5, 2009

    I agree, trooper should have issued the ticket and
    tell him to 'tell it to the Judge' !

    102 in a 65 zone is lethal.

    Allred is a sorry excuse for an elected official.

    If he can't get to Raleigh on time to vote then
    he needs to resign.

  • Milkman May 5, 2009

    I agree with the comments on Clendenin, he's a fine example of what our Highway Patrol should be, and he's the perfect spokesman. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with him a couple of years ago.

    Now, I'm sure the trooper on the beat felt intimidated when he was flashed the State Legislature ID, and he should have said "sir, 80 I could let you go with a warning, but 102, I have to give you a ticket, I'll do it quickly so you can get on your way."

    And I know the next time I get pulled over I'm going to say "don't you recognize me? I'm on my way to vote" and see if I at least get a laugh out of it. Probably not.

  • scottb May 5, 2009

    He apologizes but is going to appeal it. If he did no wrong why apologize? I hope he gets jail time.

  • Bill of Rights May 5, 2009

    webberx101: speeding tickets may be state sanctioned highway robbery, but he still deserves to be ticketed for reckless driving. A state legislator is the last person who should be behaving so recklessly - especially after he admitted he had a cocktail drink. I'd like to see him removed from his office, charged with reckless driving (and possibly even DUI), and jailed accordingly. This is a new low - even for a Republican.

  • webberx101 May 5, 2009

    Speeding tickets are state sanctioned Highway Robbery...

  • fedupin benson May 5, 2009

    hmm 102 in a 65 MPH zone... almost 40 MPH over the speed limit, and this jerk thinks to fight it? HAHAHA! any normal citizen would have been hauled off to jail. It's about time that the people in "authority" set the example instead of believing they are above the laws. I really hope they throw the book at this guy.. what, he couldn't have left 15 mins earlier? Ever seen a copper blow by you when your doing over the limit without his lights going? And they wonder why they get no respect.