Police: Speeding ticket was mistake

Published 8:50 pm Monday, March 4, 2019

Suffolk Police say that a speeding ticket given on a stretch of Holland Road near Johnson’s Gardens was an isolated mistake, and unspecified corrective action has been taken.

However, the woman who received the ticket is still frustrated by the experience despite the measures the police have taken and despite the ticket being dropped.

Maj. Steve Patterson said police had received multiple complaints about speeding in that area and had stepped up enforcement when a woman, Mechele Johnson Rock, received a ticket for going 62 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone on Feb. 5. However, she contended that the officer who wrote the ticket made a mistake, and that she was driving in a 55-mph zone.

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Patterson confirmed that there was a mistake made in the speed zone in which Rock was driving at the time of the incident, and that she was, indeed, driving in a 55-mph zone.

“We have one citizen who reported a mistake to us and learned that the officer had made a mistake,” Patterson said.

As a result, Patterson said Suffolk Police worked with the Commonwealth’s Attorney office to have Rock’s case not prosecuted. That happened on Feb. 12.

In the area of Holland Road between Manning Bridge and Lummis roads, where the speed limit changes from 45 mph to 55 mph — inclusive of the stretch in front of Johnson’s Gardens — Patterson said 29 tickets have been issued in the past three months. On a longer stretch of the same road, Patterson said Suffolk Police officers have written 96 speeding tickets in the same time span.

Reached Friday, Rock disputes that hers was an isolated situation, based on the statements of the officer who wrote the ticket.

“According to the officer who wrote it, she has written tickets for two months in that same spot and ‘knows it’s 45,’” Rock said.

Having grown up off of Wilroy Road and currently living in Courtland, Rock said she is familiar with Suffolk’s roads and was frustrated that she had to lose a day’s pay from her job as a nurse.

“I had to take a day off work and go tell the judge I didn’t want to keep the ticket,” Rock said.

To his knowledge, Patterson said he was not aware of any other instances of mistaken tickets and has not received any other complaints about the issue.

“We made a mistake,” Patterson said. “We all make mistakes. The question is, do we learn from them?”