Former Deputy Don Collingwood claims he was fired from his job because he questioned the Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office handing out tickets because of a traffic jam near Marsing, Idaho.
A "megaload” of oil refinery equipment was going from Portland, Ore. to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada when it stopped for three days near Marsing last Christmas.
The heavy machinery, which was close to 100 years long, attracted numerous lookey-loos who stopped to take pictures, which in turn created a traffic jam on U.S. 95 and Idaho 55.
According to MagicValley.com, there were several people cited for illegal parking.
However, Collingwood says the Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office also handed out numerous traffic tickets for “illegal” U-Turns to people who couldn't get around the traffic.
Deputy Collingwood reportedly criticized the mass ticketing on his Facebook page on Dec. 28, 2013 (which has since been removed):
I have been listening to my scanner a big part of the day and have been hearing Owyhee County’s Finest stopping people for Idaho Code 49-645, subsection 2 – illegal U-turn over a double yellow. I have also noticed that most of the people have a birth year in the ‘30s and ‘40s.
Now, before that megaload showed up, I would see people make U-turns in downtown Marsing — that has a double yellow line – in front of law enforcement, and nothing was done. Is law enforcement taking advantage of the megaload being at the location to write tickets?
“A few days after I wrote that post, [Sheriff Perry Grant] showed up at my home with a piece of paper, and he basically told me that he wanted me to resign,” Collingwood told Lew Rockwell.com. “I never saw what was on the paper, but I wrote my own resignation.”
“If they had been consistent in enforcing that statute, they would have been writing tickets here on Main Street,” added Collingwood. “Just before the megaload showed up I saw somebody out here do an illegal U-turn across a double yellow line literally in front of a deputy, who did nothing.”
Sheriff Perry Grant would not comment on the situation with LewRockwell.com, except to say, “I am not comfortable discussing personnel issues with you.”
Sources: MagicValley.com and Lew Rockwell.com