My First Traffic Stop

This one is a bit vague as I have no existing documentation that I can find, so just my somewhat foggy memory to rely on.

It must have happened during the summer of ’69 when I was working for P.F. Collier trying to sell the Encyclopedia Britannica. I was driving home on Route 422 from Reading after a hard day of once again not selling any encyclopedias and I got to Robesonia.

Now Robesonia, like Norristown, lies directly on Route 422, and it’s one of those small towns that if you’re a passenger in a car and you blink, you’re likely to miss it, or most of it. You just need to slow down from Route 422’s 55 mph speed limit to the borough’s 35 mph limit, probably get stopped by its one and only traffic light, and then continue on your way.

Well, I was continuing on my way that evening, but I started to accelerate above the 35 mph speed just a bit before I hit the speed limit change, and the borough’s one and only police officer was there to pull me over.

After I gave him my driver’s license and owner’s card, and he gave me a ticket (it was probably for doing 45 in a 35 zone), I asked him what the procedure would be.

He explained that the borough’s Justice of the Peace would be sending me a notice, and when I received that in the mail, I could either pay it or ask for a hearing.

Well, I was living at home, meaning my parents’ home, and they were already riled up because I wasn’t making any money at my summer job selling encyclopedias (because I wasn’t selling any), and if I received a notice from the Justice of the Peace (and my father always picked up the mail first so he would be sure to see it), there would be uncomfortable questions that I did not want to answer.

So the following morning before going to P.F. Collier in Reading (where I wasn’t selling encyclopedias), I stopped off at the Robesonia Justice of the Peace’s office. I’m no longer sure exactly what I said to him, but I must have given him my phone number and asked him to just give me a call rather then send me the notice when he received the ticket from the cop.

“But,” I recall him saying, “the paperwork will have to be filed. I’ll have to send it to Harrisburg and they’ll end up sending you the final disposition.” 

“That’s OK,” I replied. “I’ll deal with that when I have to. Just call me rather than sending me the initial notice. Then I’ll come and pay you the fine.” 

He said he would.

And he was as good as his word. A few days later the phone rang, and it was the Justice telling me I better stop in his office to pay the fine or he’d have to send me the notice.

Which I did. And I thanked him.

And then I waited for the notification from Harrisburg to arrive, while I to tried to figure out how I was gonna to explain that when it arrived.

But a funny thing happened.

I never received anything from Harrisburg.

Which led me to believe that maybe that Justice of the Peace perhaps never notified the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of my speeding infraction and it never posted to my record.

Maybe that Justice just pocketed the check that I paid him for himself.

Do you think he might have done such a thing?

Naw. It must have been some mixup in the paperwork.

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