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SPECIAL FEATURE: A Costly Wrong Turn

Trucker hit with $1,000 city ticket, despite lack of signs forbidding trucks

By Mark H. Reddig, Host, Land Line Now

For trucker Greg Petit, it was just another typical run on another typical day. However, by the end of that day, he was on his way to being $1,000 poorer.

It was mid-August. Petit, an OOIDA life member from Illinois, was scheduled to deliver a load in Southaven, Miss., a town of about 50,000 on the southern edge of the Memphis metropolitan area, right on the Tennessee line.

He was headed south out of Memphis on Goodwell Road, which is State Route 176 in Tennessee. Guided by his truck’s Rand McNally GPS, which he purchased just last year at the Mid-America Trucking Show, he continued as the road crossed the state line and narrowed considerably.

He soon arrived at the first four-way stop in Mississippi – at State Line Road, an east-west route just south of the actual state line.

To the right of him, he saw a “no trucks” sign, and a similar warning going further south.

However, his GPS said to turn left and continue. So he turned east down State Line Road.

A short distance ahead, he came to another four-way stop, this one at Malone Road. This time, Greg said, he saw “no truck” signs in every direction – including the one he just came from.

“Well, what are you going to do at that point?” Petit said.

He found a way to turn his rig around on the narrow, two-lane blacktop. And he headed back the way he came.

And that’s when it happened.

“Well, wasn’t it awful coincidental that there was a cop sitting up there waiting on me,” Petit said. “He pulled me over and I said, look, I’m sorry I’m on this road, but there’s no signs telling me I can’t get on this road.

“Well, he goes, there are signs all over the place; there were signs over there on Getwell Road that you couldn’t come in here.”

Greg contends no signs were present.

However, while talking with the police officer, Greg Petit did not argue about signs on Getwell Road. After all, he says, he could have missed one.

But he was confident – adamant – that the way he came in on State Line Road lacked any signs. When he said that, the officer’s response surprised him.

“And this cop … you ain’t gonna believe what he said to me,” Petit said, “He goes, you truck drivers probably stole it.”

After some more discussion, which Greg says became a little heated at times, he was handed a ticket for a whopping $1,000.

As he drove back the way he came, he said he saw two more trucks headed right where he had just been – and the officer, along with another police vehicle, in pursuit.

More than a little ticked, Greg Petit decided to confirm what he thought he saw in terms of the “no truck” signs on his previous path.

“There are no signs,” he said. “There are no signs whatsoever about any restricted routes or nothing.”

So Petit decided to act, to contest the ticket. Leaving his truck at the Tennessee line, he walked into Southaven and took a video of the exact route he had previously run – the first of two such videos he took.

His video showed exactly what he already knew: The route he had taken had no signs warning of a truck restriction until the point where he turned around. He moved the video to his laptop and prepared to go to court.

His experience in court was not a good one.

As Greg tells it, he and the police officer appeared before a city judge. The officer told his side of the story, Greg told his. Then Greg offered to show the judge the video, demonstrating the lack of signs.

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