Anybody who has driven through Smalltown, USA knows the probability of getting pulled over for speeding is high.
After all, these little towns scattered across the country depend on speeding tickets for revenue. And they prey on out-of-towners who rarely bother to challenge the ticket.
And then there’s Scott Colley, a former Air Force flight officer who began challenging his ticket from the moment he was pulled over in La Crosse, Virginia last month.
With a video camera, nonetheless.
And the surprising part is that even though the cop initially ordered him to stop filming, the cop ended up ignoring the camera altogether after Colley stood up for his right to film him.
In fact, Colley filmed him for almost 20 minutes as he debated the accuracy of the cop’s pacing method that was used to pull him over. The videos are below.
Although it appears he was lying about Colley’s speed, the cop comes across as a decent guy.
But that hasn’t stopped Colley from making an issue over the ticket, launching a website highlighting the speed trap in La Crosse, a lonely town of less than 600 people in south-central Virginia.
Colley’s beef is that the officer used the pacing method to pull him over instead of a radar gun, which means the cop supposedly followed Colley’s car using his calibrated speedometer to determine his speed.
The cop told Colley he was driving 64 mph, 14 miles over the posted speed limit. Colley insists he had his car set on cruise control at 50 mph.
Colley swears the officer never paced him, but kept gaining on him from the moment he passed him in a Walmart parking lot.
The exchange between Colley and the officer is interesting because the officer even agrees to clock him using the radar gun to determine whether Colley’s cruise control is working. The radar gun clocked Colley traveling at 52 mph. Colley had his cruise control set at 51 mph.
The question is, why didn’t the cop use his radar gun the first time around?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
After Colley launched his website, he began contacting the local media about his findings, including sending an email to WAVY 10, an NBC affiliate in Virginia.
He received an email confirming they had received his message. And shortly after, someone named “Jeff” left a comment on his site, stating the following:
The only thing annoying on that video is you.
The officer should have kicked your dumb ass.
The IP address on the comment matched the IP address on the return email from the TV station. Click on the image below to see the details.
Colley called the station for an explanation and received an apology from the station manager seven days later, informing him that the matter had been “handled internally.”
It probably also means they are not going to report on the speed trap story.
Meanwhile, a local newspaper called the South Hill Enterprise that has an extremely difficult to navigate website wrote a story about the speed trap, discovering the town of La Crosse brought in more than $79,000 in traffic fines during the last six months of 2009, a significant number for a town with a dwindling population of 589.
Colley cut and pasted the story on his site, which is good because it’s impossible to find it on their site.
The December La Crosse Profit & Loss Budget vs. Actual report presented by La Crosse Clerk/Treasurer Tina Evans shows that from July 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2009, the current fiscal year, that the town collected $79,703 in fines.
During that same time period the town also collected $1,935.02 in Selective Enforcement Income. The town has in its budget to collect $94,300 through fines, this fiscal year.
The report shows the town is currently $180,045.25 over budget for this fiscal year, when anticipated revenue and expenses are subtracted from the actual thus far. There are additional revenues expected over the next six months.
Check out the videos Colley shot during the traffic stop.