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Authority Abused? Swimmingly...

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Authority Abused? Swimmingly...

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 23, 2008

This morning's paper reports on a McHenry man who allegedly attempted to flee from Island Lake police last Sunday by jumping into the Fox River, although it was just called "the river." He is drying out in McHenry County Jail while he waits for a $25,000 bond to float his way.

Who'd he think he was? Michael Phelps? Did he jump in before the starting gun?

What attracted me to this story was the 18 (EIGHTEEN, according to the story) traffic citations issued to him. Eighteen! No wonder the Island Lake PD didn't have time to return a call to the Northwest Herald reporter; they were probably trying to find the requisition forms to order more tickets!

This is a classic example of "loading up" a person with tickets, and it's totally unnecessary, unfair and expensive, both to the "system" and to the defendant. Eighteen? Is there a quota in Island Lake? Were the officers behind on ticket-writing for the month?

Look at the list:

1. failure to wear a seatbelt
2. not having a head lamp
3. driving with open alcohol
4. no display of company name on a commercial vehicle
5. non-valid registration for the weight of the vehicle
6. unattended motor vehicle
7. driving in the wrong lane
8. driving off the roadway
9. failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident
10. driving too fast for conditions
11. illegal squealing of tires
12. failure to report an accident to police authority
13. failure to give information
14. failure to give information after striking property
15. uninsured motor vehicle
16. disobeying a stop sign
17. leaving the scene of an accident
18. failure to notify Secretary of State of change of address
19. failure to carry a registration card

WAIT! That's 19!

And this is not even including the more serious charges of aggravated battery of a police officer and two counts each of obstructing a police officer and resisting a police officer.

Why would a police chief tolerate the issuance of 19 traffic tickets for what I assume is one driving incident?

I could have fun dissecting the charges, but I won't. Maybe on another day, in another story.


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