My story starts with my shitty luck with cars. I’m from a large family with not much money, so us kids either bought or inherited our cars from friends and family as we got our licenses. The first car I inherited was from my brother-in-law; was a Chevy Nova with bad mileage and constantly broken turn signals. I received more than a few tickets for a broken tail light, but I always had the situation taken care of by the next day. Or, so I thought.
A few years later, that car finally died and I got another Chevy POS from another family member. This one’s lights worked, but it would die at the drop of a hat.
One night I went out to the movies with my friends. As usual, we left the theater and decided to go to the diner. Me, my girlfriend at the time, and my friend Dave, got into my car and pulled out of the parking lot and onto the main street. At that point the car decided to die on me. I let it roll it over to the side of the road to get it started again.
A few seconds later a cop car pulled up behind me. One cop gets out and walks right up to my car.
“What’s the problem, son? You know you can’t park here.”
“Sorry officer,” I pleaded, “My car’s just died again and I can’t get it started. I was just going to call my dad to come and tow me away.”
“Are you sure it won’t work? Try it again,” he said as he looked at the three of us sitting there.
“Ok, but it won’t -” As I said this, I turned the key and the car came back to life. Damn, now I look like a liar!
“Now that it’s running, how about you move on?” he sneered. He walked back to his car and waited for me to pull back onto the road.
I got back on and drove a few blocks with the cops following me all the way. I got to an intersection, put on my right turn signal, and made my turn as textbook perfect as I could.
That was when I heard the “whoop-whoop!”, and saw the flashing lights behind me.
I pulled over a quickly as I could without breaking any rule I could think of. I waited with my ID and information in hand as the cop took his time walking up to my window. “License and regisitration please!”
I handed it to him and he walked back to his car as his partner watched our car from the side walk.
At this point my friend Dave is joking and telling me, “That’s it! There taking you to jail now!” My girlfriend sat there worrying about me getting another ticket while I mentally went over what I did wrong. (The light worked BTW.)
A few minutes later he came back and asked me to “Please exit the vehicle.”
The charge? Driving with a suspended license.
The funny part? It was a clerical error from the DMV. Seems they didn’t get one of my broken tail light tickets cleared out of the system, and it flagged me.
To make a long story short (too late), I spent a night in jail, sitting there stewing and trying to figure out the best way to get out of this.
My father came to the precinct in the morning to pick me up and take me home to a mother who wanted to both hug and strangle me. He called around to get me a good lawyer and found a family friend who was one of the best around. He managed not only to get the charges dropped, but he worked it out so that my record was cleared. (Still have him as my personal lawyer.)
The really funny part of all this was the lawyer calling me a week before my trial to ask me for information and give me some good news.
“I got them to drop the ticket, too!”
“Ticket?” I asked, “What ticket?”
“Don’t worry about it. I covered it by pointing out that they never gave you a ticket, and we had witnesses that could attest to that.”
“Ok, but what was the ticket about?”
A broken right turn signal.
Needless to say, for now on, I always replace my lights when they die.