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ASK A COP: Road dangerous on Thanksgiving?

By Officer Rickey Antoine  

From the chief of Police and the men and women who are sworn to protect the citizens of Port Arthur and all those who are within, we wish you a safe and  Happy Thanksgiving.

Betty from Port Arthur Asks: Officer Antoine, I have been awakened to the hidden dangers that I was unknowingly involved in daily while driving down the roads. I now understand that driving is not just something fun, fun, fun to do, and it’s a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We have plans to visit family in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and I was wondering is this Thanksgiving holiday a dangerous driving holiday where many people die on the roads?

Answer: Good question Betty! I would say the most traveled period of the year is during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Betty, any time there is an increased number of motorists on the road, the chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash or fatality goes up. Thanksgiving is not a major alcohol consumption holiday, but we still must factor in motorists driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, with the popularity of cell phones and its use while operating a motor vehicle, Betty “YES” this is a dangerous driving holiday. As always, I caution you to always properly wear your safety belts, obey speed law, don’t travel too close, use your turn indicators, don’t disregard a stop sign or red light, and lastly I know it’s a lengthy trip, but don’t allow the driver to become engaged in conversations while operating a motor vehicle. The driver needs to have his/her conscious mind on the road, not conversing with another passenger. I hope you all have a safe and memorable trip to Dallas.

Bob from Port Neches Asks: Rickey, do you mind if I call you Rickey??  I am Bob from Port Neches.  You sure have messed up things for crossing guards since your column of three weeks ago where you stated, “Only an officer has the authority to override a signal light or stop sign.” While this may be true according to you, you have, maybe unintentionally, undermined the authority of us crossing guards. It is most fortunate that the majority of the driving public do obey the crossing guards.  Of course there is that small percentage who do not obey anything.  Those I fear most because I work a very busy four lane intersection. I do direct traffic as authorized by my Supervisor, who is a cop, when the need arises.  Since traffic will back up at the school, I stop traffic to allow those parents to turn left or right, therefore relieving the pressure at the school. And believe me those parents understand and appreciate my efforts. Now in the past week, I’ve had three incidents where drivers ignored me all together, drove right on through my stop sign, with me in the middle of the street.  I blew my whistle at one lady who had in fact stopped, but proceeded anyway, I guess, because I was allowing an 18 wheeler the ability to turn. She told me, you are not a cop, and kept on going.  I also had one individual mutter to me, you must think you’re a cop.  Rickey, when I stop traffic to allow others at the stop sign to turn, it does not take more than 30-40 seconds for this to be accomplished. What is wrong with that? Officer Antoine, I’m trying to do a job and that is to cross children safety.  I use common sense when I see traffic backing up from the school. I have my instructions from my supervisor as to when I direct traffic. Since so many people read your column, some taking it to heart, please choose your words carefully.  I may be an old man, but I don’t want myself or any of my kids to be run over by some idiot who read it in the Tuesday morning News that I have no authority, because Rickey said so.

Answer: Yes Bob you can call me Rickey, that’s the name my mama has called me all of my life! I do appreciate the work ALL Crossing Guards do, as they provide our children the safe crossing the roads to and from school. Bob, I don’t think that ANY reader needed to read “Ask A Cop” column to understand that a crossing guard is NOT a Police Officer! Bob, if you go back a carefully read the answer I provided, you will see that I ONLY said and will continue to say that a “Crossing Guard” doesn’t have the power to override a traffic control device (by the way that is not Rickey’s law, it is the law that we are governed under in the state of Texas). If you don’t agree with that I suggest you contact someone much higher than Rickey, preferably a politician in Austin who has the power to vote and change laws. Bob, you stated that the small percentage who don’t obey anything, are the ones who are disrespecting you. I can guarantee they aren’t the ones who will take time out of their day to read “Ask A Cop.” I have found that those who read “Ask A Cop” in The News are seeking to knowledge to become part of the solution, not the problem! Now Bob, if you are continually experiencing problems at your assigned post, contact your local Police Department and request assistance. Keep in mind Bob we in law enforcement have to endure this type of behavior all the time!

Jay from Groves Asks: Officer Antoine, I have received more than my share of tickets in the past, and Yes a couple of them were from you! My question is that as I speak to you my license is suspended, I may have a bad driving record but my work history is impeccable! I need to go to work is there something I can do, I need to drive?

Answer: Good question Jay! You can start by staying away from the driver’s seat, your license is a privilege, not your right. If the state has your license currently under suspension, I’m sorry Jay you can NOT drive! You will need to contact the state to see if there are any current surcharges that you owe in order for the suspension to be lifted from your license. The other option is to apply for an occupational license, since you are such a hard worker this will allow you to travel from home to work and back from work to home.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for 1 hour from 1p-2p. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Remember to email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com, or call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop