The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

October 2, 2013

Fast-forward: Governor's SUV stopped again for speeding

Apparently not everyone read the memo from Gov. Terry Branstad about following Iowa’s traffic laws.

The governor went out of his way to say the troopers who chauffeur him around Iowa must abide by the state’s speed limit. That it had to be said was unfortunate. The statement came after a Division of Criminal Investigation agent — with an exemplary 25-year record of working on the state’s behalf — was fired after he complained the governor’s vehicle was routinely speeding down the state’s highways.

The agent, Larry Hedlund, spotted an SUV doing 84 mph in a 65 zone. He radioed it in, and when another officer came up behind the car and discovered it was the governor’s vehicle, he let it go about its speeding business.

That was in April. When it became public in July, the Department of Public Safety issued the governor’s driver a speeding ticket. Yet Hedlund remains out of a job. The trooper who didn’t stop the governor’s speeding SUV was cleared.

But now, we read another driver of the governor’s SUV was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy in late August for speeding on Iowa 3 near Hampton. The driver was given a warning because, according to Franklin County Sheriff Larry Richtsmeier, the driver was going less than 10 mph over the speed limit.

Yet the sheriff said he doesn’t know how fast the driver actually was going, and there is no indication of the speed on the warning ticket.

C’mon, do you expect the people of Iowa, especially those who’ve had to pay speeding tickets, to believe that? Of course the deputy knew how fast the vehicle was going. If he didn’t, he would have had no business stopping it.

“The governor has made clear that his security detail is to obey all traffic laws, and he does not tolerate any exceptions,” Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said of this latest incident.

That’s getting harder and harder to believe with each new revelation to the contrary.

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