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203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would you believe I could get a speeding ticket in an el-cheapo homebuilt 72V electric car?

Well I did.

25 mph in a 15 zone - right down the street from my house.

The court date was this past Friday.

A couple of days ago, I was trying to find my speeding ticket. I couldn't find it anywhere, but did remember the court date was the day after Christmas.

I talked to a clerk at the police station about when court was held, exactly. I knew the date but not the time! She wasn't able to dig up any more info for me. (So many municipal offices are closed X-mas week.) We did decide that as long as I showed up by 8:00 AM, I should be fine.


This morning I woke up and drive the Electro-Metro down to the city hall where the Municipal Court is held.

I talked to the balliff, and then had a seat, along with 30 to 40 other people.

The judge got there a little after the official 8:15 am start time, as the roads were icy.

He explained how his court worked, what the pleas were, and all the other basic information needed for any first timer in the court.

The judge was well dressed, well-spoken, and friendly. Later today, I found out that he has an outstanding reputation as a judge, but we'll get to more of that later.

When everyone was called forward to drop off their tickets with the clerk, I had to simply sign in with her instead, since I didn't have my ticket with. This would later play to either my advantage or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it....

Once court was actually in session, it flew by pretty quick. People were called forward alphabetically by last name. (Mines in the middle) Mostly it was speeding tickets, there was also an underage drinking fine, and a few other non-traffic related citations. Right off the bat, the judge said that typically for traffic violations, he won't reduce the fine, but would reduce the points, or change the charge to something more basic. In one case, he reduced the points for a teenager, specifically so he wouldn't loose his driver license and could keep working for his dad. But would this judge be an enviromentalist as well? Is my story too unusual for this court room?

The last names were starting to get closer to the middle of the alphabet. I would be up soon. The clerk called: Benjamin........Some Other Last Name That's Not Mine! I don't remember the last name, but I think it started with a P. They skipped right past me, to somebody else with the same first name!

Since I didn't have the ticket with me, I got put at the END OF THE LIST! I had to wait until everyone else was done! That wasn't too bad, because it was going pretty fast.

Finally, it was my turn.

The judge read the charges, and then looked at the clerk, who usually quickly commented on if the person had a prior record or not. This is the "one person every 20 seconds" approach that got many of the people through the court quicky.

I butted in (stomach lurching) about how I lived just down the street, knew the area, and in fact, committed the crime in a home-built electric car.

The judge's eye-brow lifted with curiousity. "What makes your car go?"

Me: "Six batteries, about this big" (gestures size of batteries)

Judge: "You built this thing?"

Me: "I have pictures." (holding up the print-outs of work on the car, I originally sent to the DMV, which were later returned to me.)

Now the Judge is interested. He comes over, and I hand him the photos. He starts paging through them and leans over to the clerk, showing them to him as well.

Judge: "So how does the motor connect to the car?"

Me: "In this photo, you can see the aluminum plate with holes in it to bolt the motor to the transmission."

The judge and clerk both comment to each other that they have never heard of anyone speeding in an electric car before. He changes the charge from speeding to "Defective Equipment: Speedometer". The fine is still the same, but there are no demerit points involved.

I thank the judge for changing the charge.

He then asks if there is anyone else in the court-room for the morning session, first time appearances. Nope, I was the last one, everyone else there is for call-backs and other things that don't take place in court for another 15 or 20 minutes.

Judge: "In that case, Mr Nelson, why don't I take you across the street to the Newspaper. People need to know about this."

Me: "Um..(gulp)...OK."

What!? Would you say No to a judge?

I pay the fine to the court and the judge puts on his golashes.(Rubber overshoes to you if you aren't from slushy, snowy country.)

We go downstairs and walk across the street to the newspaper office. We see the receptionist.

Judge: "Is there a Reporter in?"

Receptionist: "Nope, sorry."

Me - thinking to myself: "Thank goodness, dodged that one!"

Judge: "How about the Editor, is he in?"

Receptionist: "Oh sure, he'd be happy to see you!"

Me: Gulp....

We head into the Newspaper Editor's office and the Judge introduces himself, and says how I was in his court for getting pulled over in my electric car.

Editor: "Driving an electric car is illegal!?!?!?"

Me: "No, I was going 25."

Judge: "In a 15 zone"

Editor: Hey, this will make a great story! Judge, I have been meaning to call you, we wanted to do a story about the strangest cases you have heard in court. This will make a great lead-in to it. We can do a two-part article!"

Me - thinking - "Why won't this end!!?"

Editor: "Do you have any photos, a web page, or anything?"

I sheepishly admit that not only do I have lots of photos, but also the entire story out on the internet, etc. etc.

Now I am rethinking that incriminating YouTube "Traction Test" video....

Editor: "We'll have a reporter call you on Monday...."

In the movie of this in my mind, the Editor drones on as quirky background music fades up, and the Judge and I walk back to City Hall.

By now, I am wondering if this is some sort of unusual public humiliation..

It gets worse.

When I get home and explain the situation to my ever-faithful wife, she just bursts out laughing.

I call a friend who is in marketing, and a big-time promoter of renewability, and eco-firendly everything, and SHE laughs maniacally. She also asks which judge it was. When I tell her, she says, "Yeah, I know him, I served with him on the School Board. Oh, and did you know he's from your hometown? He probably knows your parents."

My shame continues...

A few minutes later, I get a phone call from my sister. I tell her of my further adventures in court.

My Sister: "Yeah, I used to baby-sit for that Judge!"

It doesn't stop!....

So, finally now, I reveal my story to you, the unwavering Internet Audience and Support Group to my public shame.

Who says electric cars are slow?......

If anyone wants to help support my goal of promoting Electric and Eco-Friendly Transportation, the court fine was $83.8o, but the story is priceless. PayPal is accepted.


4,958 Posts
This deserves a spot in the forum blog. Absolutely priceless!:D

I can't get the video postings to work either for some reason.:confused:

203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The newspaper article just came out.

Actually, the paper came out a day early this week, because of the New Year's Holiday.

I got a call this afternoon from my wife. She works for a large furniture retailer. One of the owners of the company called the woman she carpools with to ask if the guy in the article was her neighbor....

The article was pretty good overall, other than confusing the specs on my motorcycle with that of the Killacycle. (Nope, MY cycle doesn't go to 60 mph in under one second...)

Not only was the article on the bottom of the front page of the local paper, it was also on the TOP of the FRONT page of the county seat paper. Complete with the notorious color self-portrait photo of me and the 15 MPH sign! :eek:

Here is the abbreviated on-line version. You have to be a subscriber to the newspaper to get the Full on-line version.

"Please Your Honor! Give me the other sentence, just make this stop!"

203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here's the local paper

Here's the front page of the county newspaper

Is it just a coincidence that the front page of the same paper also talks about trying to find cheap gas?

PS: I just got facebooked by a guy from my highschool days: "I saw you in the Freeman today. Impressive work."

I just can't escape the internet....

203 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know this is an old thread, but somebody mentioned this speeding ticket to me the other day and I thought I would revisit it.

As an update, just to let you guys know, I have had this car up to 73 MPH in a 55 zone. I know where the cop parks, so I had to slow down before I hit top speed.

I should have gotten to at least 75 mph.

That's using a forklift motor and 12 used batteries.

Imagine what I could do if I had a budget! :D
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