Busted Doing 98 in a 20 MPH Zone
After an excruciating loss for the Springtown Porcupines, my teammates and I went to lick our wounds and commiserate our defeat. I don’t remember where we went. (This story happened almost 30 years ago, cut me some slack.) It could have been Howells Cafe for a chicken fried steak and some pie, or maybe we went to the Roadside Corner gas station to sit on truck beds and swap stories. It’s even possible that we could have even gone to a teammate’s house for some to drown their sorrows. But whatever we did, was unsuccessful in easing the sting of defeat from my memory. So I decided to drive home.
It was 3:30 am when I slipped into my ’65 mustang (nicknamed the Beast) and turned the key. The engine growled to life, and the rumble in my chest revealed what I needed to break free from the pain of this loss…SPEED.
So, I slipped the Beast into gear, and I started killing my demons with white knuckle speed. The faster I went, the better I felt. It was, after all, the middle of the night in our little town, and literally, no one was on the road, or so I thought.
My tires squealed as I dipped off the main road and onto the back road that led to my house. A long straight away lay before me, and I put my foot through the floor and opened her up.
Windows down, Guns n Roses screaming from my 6×9’s and the smell of burnt rubber in the air, I raced home with the wind blowing through my perfect 90s mullet.
I sped through the baseball fields on Old Cottondale road and didn’t think twice about the 20 mph sign that I passed daily. I mean, those rules don’t count at this ungodly hour, right?
Suddenly, I see ‘red and blues’ in my rearview. The Beast must have wakened Springtown’s finest from a deep slumber in his secret hiding spot. I immediately hit the brakes because I knew I was going WAY too fast!
In a split second, I surveyed my situation. I was about to crest a big hill, then only about a half-mile, one left, one right, and I would be in my driveway.
This cop was way behind me, and I had a head-start. I could pull up into my driveway, turn off my lights, and park behind the house before he ever saw me. Then reality struck me.
My parents were mostly cool, and they had eased up on the rules during my senior year. But getting arrested in my own driveway at 3:30 in the morning, while my dad shook his head in his whitey tighties, would most likely be the end of my short unimpressive football career. Because my dad would kill me. (Right in front of the cops if he had to!)
So, I decided to throttle down and get arrested in the privacy afforded by this lonely backroad in the early morning hours.
I stopped the car and turned the key to the off position, so I could hear the officer’s instructions. When he strolled up to the car, he ran his fingers down the side of my speed machine. I found that odd, but my mind was focused on other things, like keeping my hands in plain sight.
The officer shined the light in my eyes. With a disapproving voice, he said, “Any idea how fast you were going, son?”
“Um, I’ve got an idea, yeah.” I retorted.
“I clocked you at 98 a couple of seconds after you hit your brakes.” Said the man with the flashlight.
“Yeah, that sounds about right,” I said as the officer began to shine his flashlight in the backseat of my car. I assumed he was looking for booze. So I said, “I don’t drink, sir. You are welcome to look around all you want.”
He shined the light back in my eyes and said, “Tough loss tonight, son.” My pulse spiked. I was confused. This was not going as I had envisioned.
Was I going to get out of this?! Is he going to have pity on me? I was driving 98+ in a 20 mph zone for crying out loud!
“Yes, sir.” I responded. Now he was investigating the front seat and the dashboard with his flashlight. “This a ‘65?” He asked.
“Step out of the car, son.” Crap, here it is. I’m getting arrested.
As I stepped from the vehicle with my head hanging low I prepared to put my hands on the car, the officer slid into the drivers seat and looked around more with his flashlight.
Then to my surprise, he turned over the ignition and the Beast growled to life. He revved the engine a couple times and said, “This got a 289 or the 302?”
“289″ I sheepishly replied. He swung his legs from the car and got out, then walked to the front with me following a few steps behind. He opened the hood and admired the engine with its finely tuned rumble. My heart was beating out of my chest and I was praying franticly.
Is it possible that the Beast might get me out of a reckless driving ticket?!
After he shut the hood, we walked came back around to the drivers side door, my hands were in my pockets and my eyes glued to the pavement. The engine was still rumbling in a low idle, when the officer raised his voice and said, “You got a really nice car here, son. It’d be a shame if you ruined it by being stupid. Slow it down, and better luck in next week’s game.”
“Yes, sir” was all I could muster. As he strolled back to his patrol car, he turned off the lights and went back to his nap.
As I pulled into my driveway a few minutes later. I put that story in the vault. Of course, my friends heard it numerous times, but I didn’t tell my parents until a couple decades later.
My dad’s response. “Hmm, sounds about right.”
Unfortunately, our season did not end on a good note, but life went on, and my police record was miraculously still clean.
Thank God for small town football, and beautiful hot rods.