A Florida woman who received a super speeder ticket from the Ashburn police Department is saying the associated fine is “just gonna destroy the rest of my life!”
Cindy Brantley Henshaw was stopped for doing 91 MPH by an APD officer.
Ms. Henshaw contacted The Wiregrass through Messenger and asked for a new story. Her remarks are presented as written; profanity in her remarks is edited out.
During the stop, the officer presented her with a ticket and asked her to sign it. She marked the citation and the officer checked that against the signature on her driver’s license. They did not match according to the officer and he told her to sign it again.
Body cam video from the stop shows she took the citation and appeared to do something with it. The citation was inside the car and out of the body cam’s recording area because it was below the truck door in the cab. She handed it back. The officer again instructed her to sign the ticket and she took it back and appeared to sign it. The officer accepted that. He then turned to go back to his vehicle and the stop was over.
“I guess I need to change some things because I did not refuse to sign it. He wanted me to re-sign it because he did not like my signature,” she said.
In a complaint filed with the Police Department via email, Ms. Henshaw says it was deputy who pulled her over. In messages to the newspaper, she says it was a police department officer. She also admits to speeding. She says vehicles around here were doing 80-85 MPH and she sped up to get through the traffic she was in the middle of.
I also took a video of me driving 80 miles an hour with everyone passing me. I was ticketed for doing 91,” she said. She did not say how the video was recorded.
Driving and using a handheld device like a smartphone to record video is illegal in Georgia.
“They also sent me a ticket offering me a reduced price of $600. I had custody of someone else’s children for six years. I was returning them back to Kentucky and of course, passing through Georgia. On my way back home to Florida I was trying to get out of some traffic because everybody’s doing 80 81 mph I accelerated and was told doing 91. After being pulled over by officer, Jeffrey Bell, I apologize to him told him it’s been a long 14 hours to Kentucky and 14 hours back and I was just trying to get out of traffic and I did tell him I was sorry for speeding. Of course he took my information and wrote me a citation and I signed it, and gave it back to him The officer told me that he needed me to sign it again. I said I already signed it and I’m unsure what differences gonna make if I sign it again. He said the difference is going to be whether or not you go to jail today. He explained to me he told me that he wanted my signature, and that was not exactly my signature and for me to sign it again, and I’m sure the citation will show two signatures. I asked him why he would want to take me to jail for that 100s of miles from my home. He said he really didn’t want to, but he would,” she said.
Body cam video of the stop shows the officer asked her three times to sign the citation. The officer also said he did not want to take her to jail, but would if she did not sign the ticket.
“OK so now I’m scared I’m gonna go to jail. If I don’t do everything he tells me. I’ve also in my life never heard of a police department, giving somebody an $800 ticket and offering to reduce it to $600 after being terrorized by the police department, and threaten to be taken to jail on the side of the road. I’m not a criminal. I was just simply speeding and had a minor traffic violation that for some reason has turn in to this. I also emailed a copy of the complaint to Officer bells Police Department and was told it was going to be given to his direct supervisor. Of course I have not heard anything but somebody offering me to pay $600 for a ticket instead of 800 from their judicial Center. I then called their judicial center and explain to them there’s no way I have $600 in two weeks. They gave me a new court date and tell me to up here at the new court date and asked to make payments. It’s just a total set up for people traveling through they know there’s nothing I can do about it they know I have to pay it whatever they tell me it is so I really feel threatened insulted, intimidated, and all this is unnecessary just to give somebody a traffic ticket. Again I have no idea how I’m gonna pay a $600 ticket. I guess they want to tell me how nice they were for taking a super speeder fee of 200 off and only charge me 600 instead of 800. So if they didn’t reduce it, they’re telling me they want to give somebody a speeding ticket for almost $1000. When I got that piece of paper in the mail that told me I had to pay them $600 I cried,” she said.
The officer’s body cam shows him making the stop and then checking to make sure his radar unit was working properly before starting the ticket process.
Ms. Henshaw said the officer was rude, bullied her and threatened to take her to jail for not properly signing the ticket.
The body cam recorded the conversation. The officer in question did say if she did not properly sign the ticket, he would take her to jail. He also said, several times, he did not want to do that and if she would sign the ticket, the stop would be done.
Ms. Henshaw’s ticket was a Super Speeder violation. Under Georgia law anyone doing more that 85 MPH on interstates with a posted speed limit of 70 MPH is a super speeder. The law adds another $200 to the total fine.
“To be bullied, harassed intimidated, and threatened by law-enforcement over a speeding violation is unnecessary and uncalled for. To intimidate a female and have somebody scared that they’re going to jail over signature on a traffic ticket is totally unacceptable!,” she wrote to The Wiregrass Farmer in Messenger. “I did nothing and said nothing to him for him to bully and intimidate and threaten me.”
BOOKED FOR SPEEDING
In the video, Ms. Henshaw says she is tired and is on the way home. She also argues with the officer about her signature. The officer tells her she needs to sign the citation.
Some drivers are taken to the jail to be booked for speeding. They have to post a cash bond to be released immediately. Those people are generally doing more than 100 MPH on the Interstate.
Ms. Henshaw, in a Messenger discussion with The Wiregrass, complained about the amount of the fine too.
“I’m not questioning whether or not they pass the law I’m questioning why somebody feels that that’s acceptable to fine somebody almost $1000 for a speeding ticket. I can’t pay them $600 at once and they know this when people get these fines, they know people can’t afford them, and they also know that I can’t afford to rent a vehicle to drive to Georgia just for their court date,” she wrote.
She does not explain how law enforcement is supposed to know these things.
“My physical limitations and my inability to have any money or work right now is the reason I had to take three foster kids back to Kentucky that I’ve had for six years. I have had custody of three boys other than our two for a total of five children. We had custody of those three boys for six years and due to my inability to be able to financially support them anymore,” she wrote.
In the traffic stop, Ms. Henshaw never mentioned physical disabilities or the reasons why she was taking foster children to Kentucky.
She said she cannot pay the fine and she cannot make payments.
Ms. Henshaw included copies of the Georgia law that states if a person refuses to sign a ticket, they can be taken to jail.
She also said, again, the speeding citation needs to be adjusted.
“If they are going to let everybody on the interstate run 80 mile an hour, then somebody clocked at 91 should get a reduced ticket to 11 over,” she wrote.
State law says local law enforcement using radar cannot use that to write speeding tickets until the speeder is at least 11 MPH over the posted speed limit, except in school zones. The state patrol can write tickets at 1 MPH over the speed limit.
She ended by saying the issue is still the officer’s behavior.
“And really, it’s not about the speeding ticket I was speeding, and I do not mind paying fair price for noncompliance of the speed limit. However, what is not OK is intimidations, bullying, threatening and price gouging. His attitude and his professionalism was pathetic uncalled for, and I will not let it go! He is an intimidating, smart ***, who had no right to treat me the way he did!,” she wrote.
In her complaint filed with the APD, she said the officer “lectured” her and continued to talk as he returned to the patrol car. The body cam shows the officer explaining the citation and asking her to sign it. When she signed the ticket to his approval, he returned to his car without saying anything.
Police Chief Richard Purvis said the matter was investigated and the APD officer did nothing wrong.
“The officer was professional. He handled the matter exactly like he should have. He was not threatening nor intimidating. He did ask Ms. Henshaw to sign the ticket. The first time she ‘signed’ she simply drew a line across the signature space. The second time she just marked it. The third time, she actually signed it with her legal signature,” he said.
“…I’m gonna get a speeding ticket that’s just gonna destroy the rest of my life ! My inability to pay, and there in ability or just neglectfulness in setting up any kind of payment options with me without going to court is just gonna end with me losing my license. Over a speeding ticket in Georgia!” she wrote.
In a prior message, she says she was offered a chance to make payments. Further, she said in that prior message the City’s court system offered to remove the $200 Super Speeder charge.
“Of course I have not heard anything but somebody offering me to pay $600 for a ticket instead of 800 from their judicial Center. I then called their judicial center and explain to them there’s no way I have $600 in two weeks. They gave me a new court date and tell me to up here at the new court date and asked to make payments. “
Ms Henshaw said she is taking her complaint to the state and possibly federal authorities as well.
“I’m going to make some other calls to state federal agencies or something and see how a legislature can pass lol so steep on a traffic violation. Like I said, I have never heard of such fine for a traffic violation. I cannot pay that I have a lot of physical problems and that’s the reason I had to take the foster kids back to Kentucky was because I can no longer physically and financially support them. Now I can’t pay a ridiculous fine imposed by the state of Georgia. And was just treated like **** by the officer. I will probably lose my license. Then get pulled over and fined for driving on a suspended and then a reinstatement fee. I just see that’s this progressing into something I’ll never be able to dig the hell out of. Can’t make it to my doctors appointments. This is pathetic what they have done to me over speeding! Not to mention how I was treated on the side of the road. I just don’t feel like going 20 miles an hour over to get out of traffic which is constantly at 80 to 85 mph is what all the traffic goes on I 75 you cannot go 70 mph on that road! Anytime somebody wants to impose I find that steep they should be able to set up payment arrangements without somebody coming to court. It’s like a set up. They know people traveling through there can’t come back to court. And define should be acceptable with the crime! 14 over does not carry a $600 fine. They need to change the speed limit to 80 or set up some kind of traffic patrols to slow down the traffic you cannot go slower than 80 miles an hour without getting run the **** over there. If they would work better at keeping the traffic at the speed they’re supposed to go people wouldn’t have to go 80 and 90 miles an hour to get out of traffic. I have just never in my life seen a case we’re going 14 miles over is $600. Maybe talk to you later I’m gonna get off and start making more calls. I will not let this rest! Look at my Facebook page. I’m a good person. I’m not a lawbreaker. I’m not a criminal. I’m not a bad person at all! What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong and watch unfair are those ********! They are using the law to run some kind of criminal financial activity into gouging people!”
She repeated the idea of being taken to jail.
“I thought on the side of the road I was going to go to jail and be held till the next court date or till I could see pre-trial for not signing my name on a traffic ticket the way the officer wanted me to, or felt like I should have. I was never rude to him. I never refused to do anything. I was apologetic when he pulled me over he did not like my signature,” she wrote.
As for discounting the ticket, that is something Municipal Court offers if the person agrees to pay without going to court. The chief said if the speeder takes the offer, the ticket is not reported and will not show up on a person’s driving record.