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Masked Speeder Stymies Police

El Gringo Loco

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Arizona not monkeying with masked speeder

State cameras catch lead-footed driver 37 times, but he refuses to pay fines

PHOENIX - Speed camera photos of the man in the monkey and giraffe masks have generated lots of chuckles. But the cops aren't laughing.

Dave VonTesmar, 47, started getting the $181.50 tickets last year, but it took Arizona state police2.gif several months to realize the same driver was repeatedly triggering speed cameras and refusing to pay the fines. By the time they did, more than 50 of the tickets had become invalid because the deadline for prosecution had passed.

VonTesmar, who has now amassed $6,700 in fines, is fighting each citation by claiming he wasn't behind the wheel.

In Arizona, people who receive photo-enforcement tickets in the mail have four options: Agree they were driving and pay the fine, say they weren't driving and send in their driver's license photo as proof, request a court date and fight the ticket, or simply ignore the ticket because law enforcement can't prove they received it. The ticket becomes invalid if a violator who ignores it isn't served in person within three months.

On Aug. 19, DPS served VonTesmar in person with 37 tickets, mostly between 11 and 15 mph over the speed limit. The pictures accompanying the tickets show a driver wearing either a monkey or giraffe masks in VonTesmar's white Subaru, which has black-and-white checkered racing stickers on its sides and a sticker on the windshield that reads "Bucktooth Racin'."

'Peaceful act of resistance'

"It's a peaceful act of resistance

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Best thing they can do if they wnt to really reduce speeds and stop accidents is put a bunch of ghost cop cars out there. People see the cop cars and will slow down. Just change where they are about once a week and throw a body in there every once in a while to keep people honest.

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:rl: :rl:

"It is very funny," he said. "In one sense it shows how silly this whole thing is, so you know I'm glad he's using a sense of humor. The fact that he did it 90 times, I don't want to drive around the guy."

Dow said he finds it interesting that DPS conducted surveillance on VonTesmar.

"They're out staking out a guy with a monkey mask?" he said. "They watched him break the law and didn't do anything about it? If they had pulled him over, they could have pulled the mask off. It just proves photo radar is not about safety, it's about money."

DPS officials say the photo-enforcement program is designed to slow drivers down and keep the roads safer.


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