Skip to comments.Maryland Woman Fined $310 for Killing Police Officer
Posted on 05/07/2008 2:01:31 PM PDT by Sopater
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. The Howard County State's Attorney's Office says a driver who struck and killed a county police officer last year has paid her traffic fines.
Prosecutors say Stephanie Grissom of Columbia paid $310 in fines for speeding and negligent driving. She also received three points on her driving record.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
She was speeding, but the officer performed the insane practice of stepping out into traffic to flag her down.
Her acts, by themselves, are not criminal (71mph in a 55mph).
It was the officer’s actions that caused this and the Grand Jury saw it that way, as well.
I’d have to agree. I’m not one for huge prison terms for accidents, which this clearly was.
We learn from our mistakes.
I feel for the woman.
Probably nothing she could have done under the circumstances... all for the local government to make a few extra bucks on fines.
The headline makes it sound bad, but it is no worse than cops shooting someone reaching for their wallet, then getting off scot-free.
No such things as accidents.
If she was operating over the posted speed limit it is manslaughter/murder. I am sure the officer did not bound from between two cars. More than likely he checked her speed by radar from a distance and stepped out and began to wave and draw attention. Most departments also require florescent vests in traffic.
Women was driving too fast no doubt with head up rear and probably talking or texting. Had this been a bank robber fleeing or child molester they would have been lynched ( figuratively speaking ). No difference.
All I meant was that if the killing wasn’t intentional, it was an accident. I’m speaking practical definition, not legal.
Oh, and this was on Route 32. Right by where I used to live - EVERYONE goes 70+ on that highway. It’s a 4-6 lane expressway, it’s not a “side road.”
I lived on that same road, too. Howdy, neighbor!
Hi neighbor. I live in Columbia now but used to live right at 32 and Rt. 1.
Whereabouts are you?
I agree completely.
However, he made a fatal mistake when he stepped out in front of a fast moving car, and it's not reasonable to hold the driver responsible for not being able to react quickly enough to avoid hitting him.
It is a shame that such accidents happen, and that an officer died because of a mistake he made while performing his duty.
Manslaughter charges for being a few miles over the speed limit? That is ridiculous. If the cop stepped in front of a vehicle on the road, I don’t care how fast they were going, the burden of responsiblity for him getting killed rests with him.....
No her ability to react was cut in half at that speed as compared to 55.
Apply your logic to your kid stepping in to the street. Sorry she was wrong.
You're right. There are no such things as accidents.
And if the officer didn't step in front of a moving vehicle, he'd be alive today.
This type of law enforcement strategy is designed to generate a huge number of speeding tickets (and thus revenue) in a short amount of time with minimal effort. Well, it cost one officer his life.
Any 6 year old knows that stepping in front of moving vehicles is dangerous. Sadly, the desire for ticket revenue blinded them to the obvious safety risks inherent in such an operation.
The grand jury failed to indict her. The grand jury used a very low bar for evidence that a crime was committed before indicting.
That would seem to indicate that he likely did step out in front of her when she didn't have enough time to stop.
If she had time to stop, or should have been able to stop if she were going more slowly, then I would agree that it was manslaughter. However, if that were the case you would think he would also have had plenty of time to realize she wasn't going to stop in time and would have gotten out of the lane she was driving in.
A car does approach pretty quickly at 71 MPH, but it should be obvious in plenty of time to get out of the way that she isn't slowing down quickly enough to stop before she reached him.
I’m fairly sure that 55 mph limits were imposed to save fuel, not to increase the safety margin.
While I agree that prison is not appropriate for a situation that results in an accident, I can't agree that this was an accident. An accident happens outside of a person's control of a particular situation (e.g., a windstorm blows up debris into the roadway and obscures your vision of an oncoming vehicle). This woman didn't have an "accident". She intentionally committed a vehicle code violation and a man died as a results. The officer may have contributed, but the woman bears responsiblity for what happened above that of a simple traffic violation.
The woman is responsible for her kinetic energy. The officer is responsible for walking onto a highway in a safe manner.
Anyone know what time of day it was? On several occasions I’ve seen officers try to flag people down at night by raising their hand while shining the light in the drivers eyes (and therefore making it hard to see the officer or his hand) rather than shining the light on their hands or otherwise making themselves more visible.
No, manslaughter charges for committing a vehicle code violation which resulted in the death of the officer. While his actions may have contributed to his death, it was ultimately her violation which triggered the incident in the first place, and she bears the bulk of the responsibility IMHO. And 71 in a 55 is 16 MPH above the posted speed limit, which is not "a few miles over" as you characterize it. If you are living on a street where there are children and the posted speed limit is 25, and someone zooms down your street at 41 MPH, are you going to be okay with that? I have a rubber ball in my yard just waiting for those drivers.
Even if a kid stepped in the street. Manslaughter or murder charges would be far too much for being a few miles over the limit. Maybe causing death by reckless or dangerous driving. At the end of the day, it was still an accident...
If this were the case, then why is the Gov. not reducing the present max speed limits to conserve fuel given the current state of the worlds oil prices?
“If you are living on a street where there are children and the posted speed limit is 25, and someone zooms down your street at 41 MPH, are you going to be okay with that? I have a rubber ball in my yard just waiting for those drivers.”
No, I would be screaming for that guy’s blood. But then again, that’s I wouldn’t be responsible for deciding the man’s punishment.....
Manslaughter probably needs some element of reckless, and I don’t know if 71 in a 55 is reckless. Sometimes, it takes 20 over the speed limit for reckless driving, that lack of reckless element kept the grand jury from indicting. Bad judgment all around, however. Painful and enduring lessons for those left living.
Good question. But look up the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act:
The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, signed on January 2, 1974, established a national 55 miles per hour speed limit to reduce gasoline consumption. It was extended indefinitely on January 4, 1975 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1979c). It also provided that Federal-aid highway funds could be used for ridesharing demonstration programs.
Yes, this occured under the Carter regime. Reagan later eliminated this act and allowed states to set their own max speed limits. However, on many state and county roadways, the Max speed limit was not changed (left at 55) due to safety issues (e.g., traffic volume, narrowness of the roadway, number of highway access points, etc). IMHO, it’s time to revisit the issue of max speed limits in order to increase fuel conservation - that would be one approach to the current oil crisis. Other approaches would be to allow drilling of our own oil reserves, increasing the number of nuclear power plants, incentives for new technology that increases fuel economy for vehicles, etc. Until we get away from middle eastern oil, the problem will only get worse.
Doing 71 mph in a 55 mph zone is like doing 32 mph in a 25 mph zone. (29% over the limit)
Doing 41 mph in a 25 mph zone is like doing 90 mph in a 55 mph zone. (64% over the limit)
Tell you what. Drive down a city residential street at 41 mph in a 25 zone, strike and kill a kid playing in the street, and see if you get charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide! 16 mph over the posted speed limit is not a small difference.
16 miles over is not a few miles.
Actually the Act was signed while Nixon was in office. I don’t know when it was eliminated, but my first guess for not raising the limit in certain states is due to revenue generation. Call me cynical.
The distance it takes to reduce your speed or come to a stop at 71 mph versus 41 mph makes your argument invalid.
I agree. Stupid headline. If you step in front of ME, you will die. Just the way it is. What is it with cops nowadays??
Maybe so, but I would like to point out that most places that have a 55 mph or greater limit are limited access highways without intersections, driveways, school cross walks, etc. It’s not often you have to come to a complete stop. 16 mph over the limit on a limited access highway is no where near as bad as doing it in a 25 mph zone, which is typically in a residential area.
I'd go with assisted suicide. Don't stand in front of speeding cars.
So, let’s just forget about the volume of traffic on those limited access highways, and the potential for road hazards (such as a ladder that falls off of a pickup truck). That 16 mph increase does become extremely crucial when there are road hazards (and since no one can predict when something will happen, then if you choose to drive over the posted speed limit the onus is on you if something happens).
The 55 mph speed limit on most Interstate highways is a joke.
Kids don't play on the expressway, and rational adults don't jump out in front of cars on the expressway.
We were driving down a four lane highway one day, when a state trooper pulled off the road ahead of us and lurched herself out of her patrol car into our lane of traffic — she was trying to flag down a motorist behind us and acted as if we were not there.......with a car in the passing lane we had to slam on the brakes and pray.....she got out of the way just in time. Scared the dickens out of us. We were not speeding at all, but it IS 65 MPH on that stretch of the road. The fool was lucky to be alive after that stunt.
No, her ability to react, which is her reaction time, is exactly the same. The distance traveled at 71MPH is greater than at 55MPH, but only 29% more, not 100% more. The distance her car takes to brake from 71 is also greater than from 55, but again, not even close to twice as much.
See post 42. ;^) sometimes the do just that!
>>she bears the bulk of the responsibility IMHO
Clearly the grand jury didn’t see it your way.
Around here, the de facto speed limit is more like 80 mph on 55 mph limited access highways.
The essence of good transportation is speed. Raising revenue using speed limits that are set way too low isn’t very smart, IMHO.
>>why is the Gov. not reducing the present max speed limits to conserve fuel given the current state of the worlds oil prices?
A more conservative approach is to let the market determine the best speed vs. cost trade off, not legislators and bureaucrats.
Li’l Ms trooper doesn’t hit me as being a rational adult.
Carter regime ? Try Nixon - Ford
An even more cynical explanation is that an unrealistic limit exceeded by literally everyone functions as a loophole to void the 4th Amendment and allow fishing stops of literally anyone.
they let her carry a gun, I hope she passed the mental evals to get there! but, no, she did NOT appear rational at all leaping out into traffic like that.......scared me to death I was screaming and hubby was laying on the brakes and the horn.......we were still shaking five minutes later...