Man doubles his own fine to protest traffic stop
Officials say the extra money will be returned
By Jack Rooney
Akron Beacon Journal
SHREVE, Ohio — After getting pulled over for rolling a stop sign, Dan McGrew felt the traffic stop was "a money trap."
So, the 81-year-old figured the officer "must need the money more than I do. So I just decided to double the fine."
In an unusual move, McGrew paid his fine twice. He sent his $101 fine to the village for the violation and sent a second check for the same amount made out to officer Chris Colyer, who pulled him over last month.
"I did that just to show my frustration," McGrew said. "... I thought, 'This would make me feel better, to double my fine.'"
McGrew and his wife Dottie, also 81, drove through Shreve on "a beautiful, sunny, late Saturday afternoon," he said. They were making their way home after a visit to the Pine Tree Barn, one of their favorite spots in Wayne County, when they approached a stop sign..
"In my humble opinion, it was a marginal rolling stop, reasonable, and a safe right turn with no living person or moving vehicle in sight," McGrew wrote in a letter to several village officials dated Sept. 10. "Obviously, Officer Colyer saw it differently."
The traffic stop lasted about 35 minutes, he said, during which time he felt Colyer acted unprofessionally.
"We expected a friendly warning and welcome to the Wayne County village of Shreve. Not so," McGrew wrote in his letter.
Shreve police did not return messages seeking comment.
Mayor Yvonne Hendershott, one of the recipients of McGrew's letter, said Friday that she remembers receiving the letter, but didn't know McGrew sent a second check.
"I didn't really think much of it," she said of the letter, adding that a lot of people are upset when they get a traffic ticket.
Hendershott said the small village, which has about 1,500 residents, has not deposited McGrew's second check, which is still at Village Hall. Village officials are checking with Mayor's Court Magistrate William Rickett on how to handle the extra fine, but Hendershott said it will be sent back to McGrew.
"We wouldn't keep it," she said. "That wouldn't be right."
McGrew said he doesn't particularly care what the village does with the extra check.
"What it does, it throws a puzzle to them," he said. "... I think it's a clever thing to do. I'm not trying to buy anyone off. I'm just that unhappy with an occurrence."
Despite his displeasure, McGrew said he and his wife will keep coming back to the area.
"Regardless of this nasty incident, we look forward to returning to all of our favorite travel stops in Wayne and Holmes counties," McGrew wrote in his letter. "God bless you all."
- Bizarre Beat