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Early 1950 speed traps



While driving back to my base from Jenkins to Sampson Air Base, N.Y., on a three-day pass, I was stopped in a small town for crossing over a yellow line.

I had Texas plates on my car and I was in uniform. I was taken to the courthouse where they wanted me to pay a $50 fine. I only had gas money to get back to my base. They wanted me to get in touch with my base to have them send the $50.

I was at the courthouse most of the day when a police officer came to talk to me. I told him that I had a very important job as noncommissioned officer in charge of the base printing department during wartime, and had to get back to my base.

I was told I could leave, but I would have to send them the money for the fine.

When I got back to Sampson, I went to the base legal office and told them what happened in small town. He called the legal office at the Pentagon and talked to them for some time.

He was told there were many towns in the United States that had what they called ‘speed traps’ that were set up to stop drivers with out-of-state plates, and who were fined.

I was asked to write down everything that happened to me, and they would write a newsletter and send it to all the military bases to warn them to watch out for these speed traps. When the military newsletter came out with my story, I sent a copy to the town that wanted me to send a $50 fine, and that was the last I heard from them.

I found that many military personnel who were assigned to new assignments and had out-of-state plates had been caught in these speed traps.

( I did not name the town or state that I had the trouble with. I was told that they were one of the first towns to do away with speed traps.)

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.



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