ASK A COP — Port Arthur Police share New Year’s Eve celebration warnings

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

From the desk of the Chief of Police Tim Duriso and the dedicated employees of the Port Arthur Police Department: We pray you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and safe New Year 2024. We’re encouraging all citizens to be aware of your surroundings and cautious of strangers approaching you. I’m continually stressing ALL motorists to please drive responsibly. I’m well aware of all of the New Year’s Eve celebrations that will be going on within the City of Port Arthur and surrounding communities. A lot of the celebrating will include alcoholic beverages, so I’m encouraging YOU to do so soberly responsibly and safely. As you plan to engage in alcoholic beverages, plan a safe way home. Keep in mind that being charged with (DWI) Driving While Intoxicated can cost upwards of $15,000. With that said, I need to mention a few reminders as you celebrate the New Year. Remember that the lighting (popping) of fireworks in the city limits of Port Arthur is ILLEGAL! Even the mere possession of fireworks in the City of Port Arthur is Illegal.

Fireworks displays are a beautiful show when conducted under the hands of skilled pyrotechnic engineers. There’s a great deal of danger, injury and even death associated with the illegal ignition of fireworks. Reports state many of the injuries are burns, and they also include permanent scarring and blindness. It’s also a noise nuisance to neighbors who are not actively involved with the crime of popping fireworks. It’s difficult to distinguish the difference between fireworks and gunshots. Speaking of gunshots, the act of shooting a gun in the air in celebration of the New Year is ILLEGAL and dangerous. The bullet doesn’t go in the sky and stay there. What goes up must come down. The littering of our city streets from the debris of the used fireworks is embarrassing. ANY law enforcement officer has the authority to confiscate any and all unused fireworks in your possession in the City of Port Arthur. If found guilty in the City of Port Arthur municipal Court for the crime of igniting/popping or possession of fireworks, the fine begins at $500.

Troy from Port Arthur asks: My girlfriend and I are at odds about signaling in a motor vehicle when headed straight but suddenly deciding to turn at a traffic light. Lets say I am the first car in the outside lane at a traffic signal and the light is red, but something come up and I decide I need to turn right. Can I put on my signal and turn right?

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Answer: I’m not certain who, you or your girlfriend, said this can be done legally. But the answer is “NO.” In Texas, operators of a motor vehicle must signal continuously at least 100 feet before making any turn. Failing to properly signal while operating a motor vehicle is a commonly observed violation by law enforcement officers. There’s a very good reason why it’s necessary and a good thing to notify others of your intent by activating your signal. At the heart of it is crash prevention, injury prevention, as well as traffic fatality.

Carol from Port Neches asks: If I am a licensed driver, do I have to have my license in my possession while driving a motor vehicle? My friend was dropping her daughter off to school because she missed the school bus. She was stopped and received a ticket because she didn’t have her license on her. If you can determine if I have a license, why would I get a ticket if you know I have a license? I don’t understand this one. Please help me.

Answer: The state of Texas Transportation Code 521.025 states a driver MUST present a valid driver’s license when demanded by a police officer. Even if the officer checks the status of the name you have given him and the officer has determined you are a state license holder, you still have to be able to produce the license when demanded. It’s so serious about having a license in your possession that a police officer can stop ANY vehicle he/she desires without a traffic violation being committed just to check if the driver has a valid license in their possession. If you left the license at home, you just committed an offense. If you receive a citation from ANY Port Arthur police officer for “failing to display driver’s license,” the total fine in the Municipal Court of Port Arthur is $271. ALWAYS carry your license. If you are involved in a crash and because of your injuries you are unable to communicate to first responders, how are we going to know who is in the vehicle or what family members to contact?

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the crew of Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I. Washington and Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in via the Internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail or mail them to 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”