I was driving my minivan, with my wife in the passenger seat and my high school-aged daughter, in the back with a couple of her friends. I don’t remember where we were going, but I do remember that when I reached a ramp in the freeway that I normally would take to go to work, I took that route. Then I realized that I was not going to work. A quick glance in my side view mirror and I jerked back into the lane where I had been.
But I hadn’t looked closely enough, because as I looked in my rearview mirror, I realized that there was a Highway Patrol vehicle right there and the only way that he could be there is if he had been in my blind spot when I changed lanes back onto the freeway. I took the very next exit.
My wife and the kids suddenly asked where I was going, as that is not where we were headed.
“I’ve got to pull over for the Chippie.”
“But he’s not pulling you over.”
We reached the surface street and I saw a safe location to pull over. Just as I reached that curb, the lights turned on and the siren bleated.
“He is now.”
“Because I cut him off.”
The van became silent. The Chippie approached on the passenger side, as they do, and asked for my documents. He was young, probably on the job for no more than a year or two. I gave him my license, registration, and insurance, which I had ready when he arrived.
“Sir, do you know why I stopped you, today?”
“Yes, officer, I crossed the gore point and then cut you off when I returned to the freeway.” The girls in the back giggled, noticeably.
The Chippie looked confused, but nodded and walked back to his car. The giggling from the back got louder.
Presently, the Chippie returned and showed me the citation (just unsafe lane change) and began to explain that signing the citation was not an admission of guilt.
The giggling erupted again. A voice from the back, “He knows.”
Now the Chippie looked annoyed and he turned toward the back of the van. “How does he know?”
“He’s a cop,” came the response, and now full laughter.
The expression on the Chippie’s face changed and now he looked a little concerned. Was he being set up? Was this some kind of sting, making sure he was doing his job right? He turned to me as I handed back his citation book, now bearing my autograph.
“You didn’t say anything,” he stuttered, unsure of himself now.
“I just need my copy, please.”
He handed it to me and walked away, looking as though he had done something wrong (he had not) and the young women behind me in the van all burst out into raucous laughter.
I got us back on the road and headed to where we were supposed to be. A few weeks later, I received my notice and sent in a check for $248. All in all, I got off easy.