Titans Find Source to Intercept Speeding Tickets - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: The Ticket Fix

Titans Find Source to Intercept Speeding Tickets

(Story created: 2/28/06)

There are new questions about whether some guys on one of Nashville's hometown teams play by different rules than the hometown crowd. And what we discovered has the Metro police department expanding its investigation into possible ticket fixing.

On the Steve Gill show, Middle Tennesseans were buzzing over House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh's speeding ticket -- and General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland's explanation that Naifeh "was lucky."

Down at the traffic bureau, others like Nashville driver Donnis Brown weren't feeling so lucky.

"It's all about money -- and the one's that's got the most money ain't got to pay," Brown tells NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams. "It ain't right."

In fact, NewsChannel 5 reviewed more than 166,000 speeding tickets over the past two years.

We discovered that 120,000 either went to traffic school or just paid the fine.

But 14,000 were dismissed or, in court language, retired.

And get this: More than 700 people had multiple speeding tickets -- and got out of every single one.

"I think it's unfair," says driver Barbar Smith. "They need to let me kow who they know so I can get the hook-up, you know."

One group that definitely knows somebody are the Tennessee Titans.

Court records show that over the past year, the NFL stars have racked up some 25 speeding tickets.

All but a handful were dismissed -- without them having to go to court.

For example, tight end Ben Troupe scored two tickets -- one going 46 in a 35 miles-per-hour zone, the other: speeding through a school zone. Both were dismissed.

Former safety Lance Schulters' tickets -- 53 in a 40 and 76 in a 55 -- were both dismissed.

Defensive tackle Randy Starks got hit for doing 72 in a 55, then 80 in a 65. Both were dismissed.

Linebacker Rocky Boiman's tickets -- 47 in a 30 and 60 in a 45 -- were also dismissed.

"Why should a person that's making a million dollars a year not have to pay," Donnis Brown asks, "when a person like me that ain't had a payday since September, they are ready to take my license.

"Now you tell me how right that is."

Other Titans who also got out of speeding tickets include Chris Brown, Travis Henry, and Tyrone Calico.

In some cases, notes suggest the tickets were withdrawn "ROP" -- request of prosecutor -- or "request of officer."

But there's just one problem:

"There are some officers who wrote these citations who did not withdraw them," says police spokesman Don Aaron.

He adds that if the Titans' tickets are being fixed by a friendly police officer -- as some court officials suggest -- it could be a violation of departmental policy.

"An officer is not to assert himself in something that he or she was not involved with initially unless there's a legitimate governmental reason or interest."

In fact, one caller to Steve Gill admitted he has police friends who fix his speeding tickets.

Which leaves people like Donnis Brown wondering why everybody doesn't have to play by the same rules.

"If you're guilty, you're guilty," he says.

"I mean I love the Titans, but if you're speeding, you're speeding. You should have to pay just like everybody else."

Court records show Brad Hopkins got a speeding ticket and went to traffic school, as did Chris Brown for one of his tickets.

Albert Haynesworth, Antoine Harris, Rich Gardner and Mike Waddell had tickets where they just paid their fines.

As for the rest, those tickets are now the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

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