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Highway Patrol won't investigate senators' joyride

Posted June 8, 2011

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— The Highway Patrol said Wednesday that troopers won't be investigating a possible speeding case involving two senators last weekend.

At the end of Monday night's Senate session, Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, told a story on the Senate floor about Sen. Don East, R-Surry, and him speeding along mountain roads on motorcycles and a Dodge Charger STR8.

"Don asked me, 'How far do you think it is to the end of the ramp?' I said, 'Three hundred to 400 yards.' God knows, we were hitting 145 mph by the time we hit the end of that ramp," Bingham told his fellow senators. "So, if any of you do not want a hernia or a hemorrhoid, don't ride with Don in his STR8."

Highway Patrol cruiser generic Highway Patrol won't investigate senators' joyride

Bingham said Wednesday that he was trying to get some laughs and didn't actually see the speedometer.

"It was just in fun, and I don't want to get Sen. East in trouble over this because, you know, him being a former law enforcement officer," he said. "I apologize. It wasn't intended, and I didn't certainly come down here to break the law."

Sgt. Jorge Brewer, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said state law provides immunity to lawmakers for comments made while in session, so there are no plans to investigate whether East broke the law. Brewer also said that the patrol doesn't look into speeding violations that a trooper didn't witness unless a death or injury is involved.

Senators said they took Bingham's story with a grain of salt, noting he has a reputation for exaggeration and as a joker. Still, they said, the story was uncalled for since it came one day after three Rolesville teens were killed in a wreck involving excessive speed.

"Even though he's a funny guy, I don't believe I would have told it," said Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake.

"Speed kills and speed and inexperience combined kill even more, and it's something that should be looked at very seriously," said Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake.

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  • dlphnwmn8 Jun 10, 2011

    Sgt. Jorge Brewer, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said state law provides immunity to lawmakers for comments made while in session, so there are no plans to investigate whether East broke the law. Brewer also said that the patrol doesn't look into speeding violations that a trooper didn't witness unless a death or injury is involved. And they have immunity for any comments made while in session??? So someone has to be injured or killed before anything is done? And I guess they can brag about any criminal act they've commited without fear of prosecution as long as they say while in session???

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 9, 2011

    Should we ban fast cars for everybody, then? Also, it's not my responsibility to set an example in driving safety for anybody else's kids....and I didn't think that was funny. Challengers don't kill people, inexperienced drivers do. I've never put a scratch on a car, either.... let alone wrecked one. ;)

  • Das G Jun 9, 2011

    Seriously....this is newsworthy?

  • bluegrass Jun 9, 2011

    Diplomatic immunity.

  • mrruck2u Jun 9, 2011

    Yeah this is really funny! Did ya hear the one about the Challenger and the kids from Rolesville?? Over a 100 before a tree gets in the way!! Or was it 150??
    Really, get a clue!! What kind of example are ya setting here?

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 9, 2011

    ....and no "You're just jealous, you peasant swine" comments, please.....if I had kept my 1971 R/T, it would be worth as much as this one. I got rid of it long ago....you couldn't TOTE gas to it, just the car for somebody with their own refinery. It sure was fun to drive....I miss those old cars I had back then, quick for sure but the handling at full rip was theoretical at best. ;)

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 9, 2011

    Just a click under 13 seconds at 114. Not too shabby for the weight....if only they'd slap a supercharger on that Mopar! It puts out 470 horses at 6000 rpm, and 470 lb-ft at 4200 NOW. I wish I had the 46 grand to drop on one. These legislature dudes must get paid a bunch of our tax money to afford toys like this. I'm glad I could help them out. Cake, anybody? It's all the rage these days....the bread ran out years ago. ;)

  • Inter Alios Jun 9, 2011

    Just another example of "just us" mind set of the Rs.

  • UNC81 Jun 9, 2011

    In unrelated news, Sen. Dan Blue drives a Prius and avoids the sunshine.

    Obviously just a guy trying to tell a funny story. An SRT8 isn't going to hit 145 in less than a quarter mile. Maybe 100.

  • skyyekatfromafar Jun 9, 2011

    miketroll3572---you could be right!! And apparently this "little bit of harmless fun" is just another way to enforce that tired saying of the "only difference between men and boys . .are the price of their toys."

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