Editor, I drove my tractor to the store for a tank of gas and was incarcerated. My tractor is a Yamaha ATV. I was driving the speed limit, signaling turns and my brake lights work. I was wearing eye protection and obeying all applicable laws as I drove the quarter mile from the Friendly Express to Hardeman and I left the pavement at the airport. It is a short piece of tar and close to home — about a mile from my house.
I crossed the airport on the grass and saw a Liberty County officer waving me down so I crossed the ditch and pulled up to him. Two more officers pulled up, a Walthourville police officer and a Georgia State Patrol trooper.
It was Walthourville’s finest who spoke to me first and he did not quote the law. He complained of my lack of respect for him and then proclaimed to the GSP that he pulled me over for lack of respect.
The Walthourville officer told me I should have left the road and driven to the bottom of the ditch when he assumed command of the highway. There was 400 paved yards of paved road and I was following traffic at the speed limit and no further respect is required and I told the officer that.
My daughter drove up in my pickup truck and saw me surrounded by police. I offered to load my tractor and let her carry it home and never drive it on the road again.
The answer was, no, you will be impounded.
I took my keys and told the officer he may impound my tractor but I would keep my keys.
I got charged with obstruction, no registration, no insurance and no helmet. I was handcuffed, printed and arrested. I was told to “warrant out,” which is to pay the total of my fines up front or sit in jail until Jan. 11.
I was told if I “warranted out,” I could have my tractor back, but that was a lie. In fact, even though I asked for it back, they won’t give it to me.
My tractor is a hostage held by people who wear badges. I paid $1,100 in “warrant” and I go to court on Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m.
I drove my tractor to the store for a tank of gas and I will probably go to prison on Dec. 6.
Patrick Lin Huerd