Alberta driver fined after flashing high beams at sheriff’s car
Jeff McLenaghan says still can’t believe he got a ticket for trying to be courteous to another driver.
On the night of Monday, Nov. 6, McLenaghan was driving on Centre Street in High River when he said he saw a car coming toward him with very bright headlights and thought the driver had their high beams turned on.
“As I got closer I flicked my high beams on myself, just to kind of give them a heads up — ‘Hey, you’ve got your high beams on, shut them off,'” he told Global News on Thursday.
“As I got closer, as we passed, I realized it was a sheriff.”
He said the sheriff turned around, pulled him over and gave him a ticket for failing to use low-beam headlinghts when an oncoming vehicle is within 300 metres.
The fine was issued under section 56(2)(a) of the Use of Highway and Rules of Road Regulation. Failing to use low beams when following a vehicle within 150 metres is also a punishable violation.
McLenaghan said Thursday he tried to explain the situation to the sheriff, but to no avail.
“You know, if I deserved a ticket truly, and I did something that really warranted some punishment, I’d take the pill, I’d stand up and take the punishment that was due. But this is, I think, a little excessive,” he said.
Charlie Pester, a traffic ticket specialist with Pointts, has been defending tickets for more than 30 years and said this one surprised him.
“I can’t even remember. Honestly, I haven’t seen one [in]… we gotta be talking more than a decade I think,” Pester said. “It’s a long time.”
Pester said it wouldn’t be worth McLenaghan hiring a defense agency for a ticket like his, since the ticket doesn’t carry any demerits.
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, which oversees the province’s sheriff service, said it couldn’t comment on McLenaghan’s particular case, but issued the following statement by email:
“As with tickets for other provincial or bylaw offences, recipients can choose to plead not guilty. If a recipient pleads not guilty, a trial date before a judge or justice of the peace will be set.
“The same standard of proof that applies in criminal cases applies in traffic cases – the Crown must prove the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.”
LISTEN: Jeff McLenaghan joins Newstalk 770’s Rob Breakenridge
McLenaghan said he asked the sheriff if his high beams were on and the officer replied, “No, they’re just that type of light.”
McLenaghan has a dash camera in his car which was filming as the sheriff’s car approached, which he plans to use as evidence to fight the ticket.
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