Recently, while travelling through Pennsylvania, we had the misfortune of experiencing one of those so-called ‘police traps.’
I am writing this in hopes of alerting other drivers so they may avoid this potentially costly situation.
We were travelling south on Pennsylvania Route 119 just north of Connellsville in Fayette County when we noticed a sign along the road indicating a bridge with a weight restriction.
A little further down the road was another bridge weight restriction sign, this time with an additional sign that read “Truck Route” and an arrow pointing the direction of the exit ramp.
Believing there must be a bridge ahead on Rt. 119 in need of repairs and unsafe to cross, we followed the truck route sign.
We drove several miles, staying on the truck route and found ourselves out in the middle of the countryside on a narrow and winding road, at which point there was a sign indicating that the truck route ended.
With nowhere to turn and no idea where we were, the only thing we could do was continue. We travelled down a large hill while the road curved to the right and suddenly found ourselves at the bottom with a small weight-restricted bridge right in front of us.
There was nothing we could do but cross it, as backing around the curve and up the hill would have been next to impossible.
There, sitting right next to the bridge were four state trooper vehicles equipped with portable scales for their perfect little trap.
We were informed that the sign on Rt. 119 warning of the weight restriction was for the bridge we just crossed, which is on an entirely different road.
We were then informed the fine was $11,000 and we were taken in one of the trooper’s cars to see the magistrate.
The magistrate and senior trooper held a private meeting and decided that $2,000 would be a sufficient amount to allow us to leave and come back at a later date for a hearing.
We were informed that if we could not come up with the $2,000,then the truck would be impounded.
With $2,000 in hand, we were back in front of the magistrate and told that if the plea was changed to guilty, then the $2,000 would suffice and we could go.
When being escorted in the cruiser back to the truck, the trooper asked my husband if his company would reimburse him for the fine.
My husband replied that this would be all his.
My response to the trooper was “There goes Christmas.”
So, if you ever find yourself on Rt. 119, do yourself a favour and IGNORE the truck route detour! •
Bob and Jane Townsend Clear Creek, Ont.
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