Skip to comments.Traffic stop by EPA agent upsets woman (TEXAS)
Posted on 10/29/2004 6:56:10 AM PDT by Dubya
EULESS - Ashley Owen White never dreamed that one day she would be pulled over and accused of speeding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
But on Oct. 21, that's what happened, leaving the 26-year-old family counselor scared and perplexed. All she wanted, she said Thursday, "was to vote early."
Euless police reports state that an EPA special agent pulled White over in the parking lot of Trinity High School. White, of Bedford, said the agent never gave her a badge number or name after he stopped her in an unmarked sports utility vehicle.
A Tarrant county prosecutor said the EPA agent had authority to stop her, but state laws appear to say different.
The incident is an internal matter, said Warren Amburn of the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in Dallas, where the agent, Carlton Patton, works.
Patton could not be reached Thursday for comment.
White said she plans to file a complaint against the agent with Euless police.
"I was crying after Euless police arrived because I still didn't know what his intentions were at that time," White said. "I was shaking."
Patton saw White driving a BMW traveling 30 to 35 mph in a 25 mph school zone in front of Euless Junior High about 3 p.m. Oct. 21, according to Euless police reports.
In an interview Thursday, White said she wasn't speeding. She said she was on the access road heading toward the Euless Library for early voting.
At the next traffic signal, Patton pulled up beside White, waved at her and rolled down his window, reports state. He told her that she needed to slow down in the school zone. She looked away, but he got her attention again by waving, and then flashed a badge. White saw the badge but didn't get the number, she said.
White drove through the intersection, and reports say Patton followed and turned on his emergency lights. He stopped her in the parking lot of Trinity High School, the reports state.
The reports say Patton and White accused each other of refusing to provide identification.
"He finally said he was a special agent with the EPA," White said Thursday. "That's when I answered, 'And you pulled me over for what?' Patton said he was heading up a program to keep kids safe in school zones, White said.
"I had heard of people impersonating officers and then raping female victims," White said. "I kept asking him for his badge and name, and he wouldn't give it to me. I was on the phone with my husband and Dad, and they kept telling me to drive off, but I wanted to get his badge number and name."
Although she never got the badge number and name, Patton's business card was attached to police reports.
Sometime during the incident, Patton called Euless police for backup, according to reports. Two patrol officers arrived. White was allowed to leave without being issued a speeding ticket. Patton also left after talking to officers.
Euless police Lt. Steve Eskew said Thursday that the department was not investigating.
A Tarrant County prosecutor said Thursday that the EPA agent did have authority.
"His version was that there was a breach of peace because she was speeding and almost hit a vehicle," said Kurt Stallings, a Tarrant County assistant district attorney who spoke to EPA officials in Washington about the matter Thursday.
The Euless police report does not mention White nearly hitting a vehicle.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure defines 34 types of peace officers in the state, including police officers and deputies, who may arrest someone without a warrant if the offense is a felony or an offense against the public peace, including traffic offenses.
The code of criminal procedure also notes that criminal investigators of the United States are not peace officers of the state, but they have the power to arrest, search or seizure during a felony.
Under the Texas Penal Code, speeding in a school zone is not a felony.
Sounds like a case of a federal bureaucrat thinking he has a responsibility to run other people's lives.
It sure does.
I wouldn't have stopped. Find a cop and flag them down first. Maybe this guy needs to be investigated. What is an EPA guy doing serveillance at a SCHOOL. More than meets the eye.
I've seen 'rat cars with the anti-Bush slogan, "There is a village in Texas, missing its idiot". Well I guess he has been found, and he works for the EPA.
How does he know how fast she was going? I doubt that EPA agents have radar detectors in their trucks.
LOL very good.
Last night an agent with the Federal Marshall service shot and killed another driver in Rockville, MD over a traffic altercation. I don't know the details.
Thats very good advise.
The EPA 'agent' is not likely commissioned by the state - any state - to enforce laws. His head needs to be on a pike.
Was he armed? United we stand but divided we shall surely fall. We are divided, armed First Class citizens from mere second class citizens expected to die quietly.
I was thinking the same thing. How could he possibly know?
The Barney Fife of Euless.
Thats so sad. There was need in that.
An EPA agent? WTF?
I'd probably have my driver beat the stuffings out of him while I called the real cops.
I off to show a house. Back later.
EPA agents are armed these days. A bureaucrat this arrogant might have opened fire.
It sounds to me like part of a de-facto 'national police force'.
I just want to note that USPS gets my mail back and forth, and does it cheaply enough. That's probably due to their economy of scale and monopoly on letters. But, Postal Inspectors, despite what you may think, are actually very competent at what they do (a lot of fraud investigation, along with all the other stuff like stolen mail, theft of postal property, etc.). If I was the victim of mail fraud or identity theft involving the mail, I'd rather have a Postal Inspector on it that my local police.
You think this is bad? If Kerry is elected this will be a guy with a blue hat.
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