Tag Archives: unsafe driving

North Carolina State Trooper Caught on Video Going 100+ MPH Down Wrong Side of Highway

North Carolina State Trooper Reckless Driving

The trooper in the video, who has since been identified as T.J. Williamson, was not only driving on the wrong side of the road, but also reportedly going over one-hundred miles per hour at the time. Typically, the speed limit on rural highways are at least 65 mph. Assuming that the cars driving on that highway are following the legal speed limit, that means Trooper Williamson’s car would be approaching oncoming traffic at 165 mph. (And that’s a pretty conservative estimate.)

Even with his lights and sirens on, someone could have easily not seen him until it was too late at that speed. It’s beyond obvious that Williamson caused much more of a hazard by speeding on the wrong side of the road than any illegal street ever would have.

Via MyFox8.com:

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a video that shows a trooper going the wrong way on a highway while attempting to stop street racers, WBTV reports. A group of people were blocking traffic to race along U.S. 321 around 4:30 p.m. in Newton Sunday. Troopers said they were creating hazardous conditions for other drivers.

The video, which was shot by Carisa Lynn, has been widely shared on social media. “Just freaked out,” Lynn told WSOC. “It was crazy. It was very dangerous.” Lynn said she believes the trooper put more people at risk by the way he responded to the reported street racing. “Street racing isn’t what you should be doing, but it was more reckless in my opinion of the police officer to be driving the way he was driving, in general, to pull over some people racing,” Lynn said.

As many as 10 BMWs were involved in the street racing bust, WSOC reports. Highway Patrol has impounded five of those vehicles. Multiple people face charges that include prearranged speed racing, careless and reckless driving and impeding traffic.

Once that video became public, Trooper Williamson resigned according to WRAL.com in Raleigh, NC. It’ll probably be at least a couple months before he’s working for some other department.

A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has resigned after a video showed him driving the wrong way on a highway as he responded to reports of street racing.

A statement from the patrol on Tuesday said Trooper T.J. Williamson submitted his resignation effective immediately.

Note: This post and the video embedded below were shared with Nevada Cop Block via the NVCopBlock.org submissions page. If you have a personal story, video you took, or link to a story or video you’d like to see posted on the Nevada Cop Block site, send it to us.

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Roseland (IN) Police Chief Uses Position to Influence Child Custody; Drives Unsafely with Child in Police Vehicle

The following post was shared with the Cop Block Network by Jennifer Szymarek, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

In this submission she details how her ex-boyfriend Aaron Catanzarite, the town marshal (police chief) of  Roseland (IN), has used his position as a police officer to influence custody hearings between him and her. In addition, she maintains he has also used his influence to violate their shared custody agreement and prevent her from seeing their daughter.

Jennifer also discusses an accident that Catanzarite was involved with in which their daughter was injured and now has a scar on her face as a result. (You can see a news report on that accident here.) She accuses Catanzarite of not properly securing her daughter’s child seat and also of driving unsafely, both of which she says contributed to the injuries her daughter suffered in the accident. (Embedded below are two videos Ms. Szymarek provided that show Catanzarite picking up their daughter and placing her in the front seat of his police vehicle.)

Date of Incident: March 15, 2016
Officer Involved: Town Marshal Aaron Catanzarite
Department Involved: Roseland Police Department
Department Phone No.: (574) 272-6241

“Jennifer Szymarek (My Story)”

My ex-boyfriend, Aaron Catanzarite, the town marshal for the Roseland Police Department and who lives in South Bend, Indiana, forced me to sign, through tears and a shaky hand, after I had refused for over a-week-and-a-half, a ‘Custody/Stipulation Agreement Order’ in the kitchen of his residence atop the stove, without any legal counsel present, on February 27, 2011.

In the ‘Stipulation Agreement Order’ the document stated that Mr. Catanzarite had ‘Physical Custody’ of our daughter and that I, Jennifer Szymarek, and him, both, shared “Joint Legal Custody.” However, to this day Mr. Catanzarite has never once exercised that right to include me in any matter of my daughter’s future, which is illegal, along with many other matters which he ignores. I continued to live with Mr. Catanzarite back then until March 10, 2012, after signing this document, which I strongly did not agree with, only for the sake of my daughter, Keira.

Later in the year, I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an illness which causes muscle weakness, after a horrific fall that led to a massive head injury and also led to my diagnosis in July of 2011. And then, eight months later, Aaron sternly stated, “I can’t take it anymore,” which led to him kicking me out on March 10, 2012, and, of course, not allowing me to take my daughter with me, even though it was my Saturday to take her.

At that point in time, the schedule was set up to where I practically, on paper, had my daughter every night except for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, to go along with my existing Brown Mackie College schedule. So, even though I was the individual with the muscle illness, and the person who was already fighting to get on disability and changing some things in my life, Mr. Catanzarite thought his life was changing so much more than mine that he would just take my child, even though I knew, for a fact, due to him allowing his ex-wife to ‘kidnap-my-child-several-times-before history,’ that my daughter would just be living at his ex-wife’s house, and would be raised my his ex-wife, as usual.

Every since my daughter, Keira, had been born, I was still always taking care of her on my own 24 hours a-day, while he continued to be gone 24/7, like usual. In fact, the first ten months of Keira’s life I had my own apartment that she and I, both, shared, without Mr. Catanzarite, which he failed to mention in court during our trial ending August 21, 2013.

Our ‘Custody Trial’ was complete perjury committed by Mr. Aaron Catanzarite between him and his seven ‘family’ witnesses, including one witness who was his ‘boss’ from Roseland. I mean, I seriously thought that you were not allowed to have family members testify.

Then, when I tried to put my witnesses on the stand to testify every single one was thrown-out for no ‘good-real reason.’ I had my dad (because I was living with him, but his testimony was thrown-out anyway) and one longtime friend (but her testimony was thrown-out, too). I was told by the probate judge/court, due to Mr. Catanzarite’s attorney (Mr. Vincent Campitti) that we were all talking about the case in the lobby, which, of course, was a flat-out lie.

Mr. Catanzarite’s family was coached, every time one individual walked in. I believe that the trial should have been, and still should be thrown-out for countless reasons. It was just a way to criticize me and to makeup situations that never occurred. But I never once got the chance to say anything bad about Mr. Aaron Catanzarite.

My daughter will be eight on July 2nd. Ever since she was four, she has suffered emotional abuse from being tossed around constantly, as well as being forced to lie by her father and his ex-wife, Kelly Catanzarite. She gets picked up from school and then usually goes straight to the house belonging to Mr. Catanzarite’s ex-wife. Then maybe to Mr. Catanzarite’s residence later at night.

Since the parenting time schedule was changed in the fall of 2012, I have only every Wednesday and every other weekend with my daughter, so it makes it pretty hard to spend much time with Keira and to really be her mother. In 2014, I actually was allowed to have my daughter for two-weeks at a time for the summer, but I have been unable to ever get that again.

Mr. Catanzarite uses excuse after excuse, I truly feel, with the court system when it comes to getting his way. He signs Keira up for five-plus extracurricular-sports-activities per summer without even asking me, which is against our ‘Signed Sports Agreement’ and expects me to take her to every single event, knowing that I rarely have any time with my child. Last summer, I refused to take her and he tried to see if there was any legal action that he could take against me. He failed, but he thinks he can always overpower me and he still has my child due to the court’s failure to properly hear me out.

On March 15, 2016, Mr. Aaron Catanzarite placed my daughter in the front passenger seat of his Roseland police SUV. (I have taken him to court on this issue, but I have lost the fight.) She was in a child restraint seat but it was not tethered down. He also decided not to wear his seat beat, which he has done repeatedly over the years. He also was apparently going over the speed limit. (I do not know the exact speed, but he also does this repeatedly).

All these irresponsible actions of negligence resulted in a car crash that seriously could have been prevented and also hit two other vehicles, injuring another family. Mr. Catanzarite never put his foot down on the break peddle; the SUV only finally came to a stop when it hit a wall. This is a guy that insurance companies will not even insure, so he does not have his own personal vehicle. And he will never have his own personal vehicle.

Roseland Town Marshal Aaron Catanzarite AccidentI would know, because I knew him, personally. I never have approved of my child riding around in a police vehicle. I have always been a good and decent mother to my child. I am Keira’s mother and I have always been. I own my own vehicle. I always have owned my own vehicle. I have a very good driving record. I always have had a good driving record.

My daughter’s father has used his ‘Cop Thing’ to hurt my child since 2011. This year, when he had his car crash, she ended up with a scar from her forehead down to her left eye, as a reminder of how irresponsible and negligent he will always be. And when the car crash occurred, I was not even allowed to take my own daughter home from the hospital. Mr. Catanzarite’s ex-wife was instead. Aaron wanted her to and the hospital allowed that over me, the mother, even though I am on the hospital records.

Now my daughter has suffered physical abuse. The system needs to get over the badge for my daughter’s sake.

As of right now, my daughter spends most of her time at Mr. Catanzarite’s ex-wife’s house, which is illegal. Mr. Catanzarite has yet to change his legal address, which is also illegal. He does not drive, which clearly leaves an open question mark. I am not aware if he even has a license or not, another open question mark. I am sure he does not have a vehicle, due to the fact that he is unable to afford auto insurance, so irresponsible there.

All these issues need to be addressed, but no one seems to want to address these issues with me. It is even difficult for me to take my daughter on ‘Just One Short Summer Vacation’ without it becoming an issue, due to me not getting the two-weeks that I asked for in ‘Summer Parenting Time,’ which was not asking too much. I did not know that it was legal to ‘Commit Perjury in Court’ and to ‘Share Custody with an Ex-Wife’ when there is a ‘Perfectly Good and Decent Mother in a Child’s Life with All the Time in the World.’

– Jennifer Szymarek

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New Jersey State Road Pirates Prey on Helpless Drivers to Generate Revenue and Fill Ticket Quotas

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The person submitting this describes an experience they had while traveling in New Jersey to attend a work related meeting. Instead of being allowed to complete a productive day of work, they were stopped and extorted by a Road Pirate intent on generating revenue for the state.

They also discuss the negative impact and helpless feelings that an average citizen may often feel after being victimized by these Roadside Buccaneers. In addition, they speculate that it was a concerted effort by these New Jersey State Highwaymen to rob and plunder travelers who are from out of state or who otherwise are perceived as an easy target for Revenue Generation.

Date of Incident: May 31, 2016
Department Involved: New Jersey State Police
Email: Contact Us
Phone Number: (609) 882-2000
Address: Office of the Superintendent, New Jersey State Police, PO Box 7068, West Trenton, NJ 08628

I was pulled over at 6:40am on my way to an out-of-state work meeting for “driving faster” than the officer was. Prior to being pulled over, I was in the express lane on the New Jersey Turnpike and the officer was in the local lane, which is separated with a divider. Initially, I was driving in the middle lane and switched to the left lane to pass a car, before moving back to the center lane.

I am an out-of-state licensed driver and was in a brand new car with New York plates (a rental car provided by work for this one meeting) and may have been perceived as a good potential revenue target. It appears a new tactic for New Jersey Troopers is to follow from different lanes, but I saw him a mile back and was driving at the posted speed limit.

Road PiratesAs background, there are a lot of cars on the highway at this hour. Along the whole Turnpike, from Newark all the way thru Philadelphia, you could see the entire New Jersey State Police was out in full force ticketing people – I personally saw at least 25 pull-overs from troopers before and after my own ticket. My ticket is not for a speeding ticket – it is for careless driving – because there is no real record of how fast I was going.

I am writing this post because I feel powerless. The system is stacked against you and from what information I can find online and anecdotally, it seems there is no real way to fight this, it is a pure revenue generator for the state. My options are to pay the fine, but in doing so I am admitting guilt for “careless driving,” which in principle I find to be a hard pill to swallow, or to go to court to plead to a lower misdemeanor of “unsafe driving.” This carries zero points, but has a higher fine associated with it, which is also untrue, unless I pay for an attorney who may have connections or insight to get this ticket thrown out.

Incidentally, within two days of the ticket, I received ten spam letters from New Jersey traffic attorneys in my home state. This seems appalling to me, as well. There is no potential positive outcome for me, nor any potential avenue for vindication or justice. I know this is not a major offense or grievance compared to what others may have seen.  However, as a law-abiding citizen who has a great respect for our country and the law, this experience has been jarring given the sense of helplessness it has created.

Those troopers are supposed to protect our roads, but instead are incentivized to make taxpaying drivers into additional revenue generators for the state and THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO to fix the system.

– Thank you to the CopBlock Network for providing a means to share this experience.

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Massachusetts Police Officer Tailgates Driver, Then Tickets Her For Speeding

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Tammy Shah, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Date of Incident: May 30, 2014
Officers Involved: Officer Artie O’Connell – Badge # M24
Department Involved: Massachusetts Environmental Police
Department Contacts: Major Len Roberts – len.roberts@state.ma.us – Captain Roger Thurlow – roger.thurlow@state.ma.us – Lt. Colonel Chris Baker – chris.baker@massmail.state.ma.us – Lt. Colonel Chris Baker 617-616-1650

On Friday May 30, 2014, at approximately 17:30, I was traveling westbound on the mass pike in the right lane with traffic flow. The traffic was slowing in the right lane due to a large vehicle at the front of the line of cars and trucks when myself and another vehicle ahead of me changed lanes to the left lane to pass. The vehicle in front of me sped away quickly. I increased my speed to about 70 to overtake the vehicles in the line of traffic. While traveling in the passing lane, a vehicle came up quickly to the rear of my car. I could see the headlights in my rearview and little else. The vehicle was traveling so closely to the back of my car that I could not see the license plate, all I could see were the headlights and a sturdy ‘cage’ type device on the front of the SUV. The vehicle was a large SUV type vehicle. I increased my speed to try to get past the line of vehicles quickly, but the SUV also increased speed accordingly and stayed dangerously close to the rear of my Prius. Traveling with my two dogs and my son in the car with me, I became nervous and was only concentrating on getting past the line of traffic and moving to the right so the SUV would no longer be tailgating me.

Once I cleared the end of the line of traffic, I swiftly moved to the right lane; the SUV immediately began to gain momentum to pass me and as I saw them come into my peripheral line of view on my left, I threw my hand up to display my frustration for their unsafe driving. Just as the vehicle came to the side of my car, and saw my hand up, they immediately slowed, flipped on blue lights, merged behind me and pulled me over. My son was in tears, my heart was racing, and I pulled to the side of the highway ASAP. The officer came to the side of my car and started barking orders. “License and registration!” I got my license out and handed it to him and was retrieving my registration when he demanded, “Do you know the speed limit on the Mass Pike?” I said it was 65. He said, “Yes, 65, NOT 80 like you were doing. Immediately I said that I was traveling so fast because he was too close behind me and I was scared; he cut me off before I could continue to speak, demanding my registration. The officer was intimidating and rude. He was intentionally trying to make me feel lesser with both his verbal behavior and his body language. I was clearly not a threat and I was not argumentative.

The officer returned to his SUV, still close behind my vehicle, and I could not identify what agency he was with. He left us sitting in the car for about twenty minutes. He finally returned and in an argumentative voice asked me if I knew what the left lane was for. I said, “Yes, for passing and…” He again cut me off and shouted, “YES, passing AND emergency vehicles! You are meant to enter the lane, pass the vehicle, exit the lane… enter the lane, pass the vehicle, exit the lane.” He was condescending and rude, treating me as if I was a child, and clearly trying to assert his dominance in the situation. I said I understood that, but that the line of traffic was tight and that he was too close to me, scaring me, and he again cut me off telling me that I had plenty of safe chances to make a lane change.

Well, I disagree! How can I safely lane change when someone is driving so close to my tiny vehicle with their huge SUV and any attempt I made to accelerate to give myself some breathing room was met with similar acceleration? The officer said he clocked me doing 80 and that doesn’t shock me, honestly. Anybody would speed to get away from what they feel is a potential danger – an unsafe driver! What if I had to stop quickly? He would have rammed the back of my car so hard everybody would have perished! His enormous SUV would have all but flattened my tiny Prius. Also, it amazes me that he was fully intent on passing me until I threw my hand in the air in disgust of his poor driving safety! Honestly, as far as I was concerned, he was still just some Joe on the highway being unsafe. I had no idea he was with law enforcement until he put the blue lights on. He didn’t like that I did that, so he pulled me over and he asserted his dominance over me the only way he could: to intimidate me, talk over me, and present me with a ticket. When he finished that and we pulled back on the highway, he immediately entered the left lane, accelerated quickly and ran up on the back end of another unsuspecting driver.

This officer is unsafe! His driving practices are unsafe and his actions reflect a poor attitude and a disrespect of other drivers; both on the road and face to face. He knew he was wrong, and he attempted to punish me as one would punish a child who acts out over an adults wrong doing.

Within approximately an hour after receiving my citation, I was at my mother’s house in Westfield, MA and I was placing calls to find out who his superior officer was and to lodge a complaint. It took me approximately four phone calls and around forty-five minutes (and the assistance of a very helpful State Police officer) before I got on the phone with the officer’s supervisor, Major Roberts. Major Roberts has assured me that he would investigate this situation and would be contacting me again on Monday June 2.

Since the issue, I spoke with Major Roberts on June 2nd, and Captain Roger Thurlow on June 3rd. Captain Thurlow had reviewed my driving record (which is clean) and talked with Officer O’Connell about the stop. The officer admitted to Captain Thurlow that he was ‘in a hurry to get to a location in need of a K-9 unit.’ However, Captain Thurlow told me it was not an emergency; a roundabout admission of guilt regarding speeding. Officer O’Connell also told the Captain that I had given him ‘the finger’. Captain Thurlow was careful to let me know that the officers are allowed a certain amount of ‘personal discretion’ when deciding to stop somebody or let them go. I told him that I wanted the ticket forgiven since Officer O’Connell’s hazardous driving was the catalyst for the whole situation.

To date, I have attempted to contact Captain Thurlow an additional two times. Only once did he answer me back, telling me my complaint concerning Officer O’Connell was ‘currently in the investigatory process. Please be assured that you will be contacted as soon as all pertinent reports are submitted and reviewed.” He has disengaged with me since June 6th, and ignored my second email, as did Major Len Roberts who was CC’d on the email. Finally on June 26th, I reached out to the acting Director Lt. Colonel Chris Baker with an email directly to him; but alas no response from him either. On July 17th, I phoned and left a voicemail with his admin/assistant.

My court date for the ticket issued is August 5, 2014 in Palmer, MA. Shame on them!

– Tammy Shah

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