Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lenox, Georgia and Why it Sucks! I-75 Hazard

Sorry folks, but this entry is not about flying. It is about the abuses that an unjust government commits against people passing through its jurisdiction.

Lenox, Georgia is a small town of about 900 people in rural southern Georgia. It isn't a particularly attractive town and it contrasts sharply with the beautiful homes and central town areas of Adel and Hahira just a few miles to the South. It appears that the bulk of the town's business centers on the production of cotton or watermelons although there is a BASF factory just south of town. This is a very poor town.

Just to the west of Lenox is the town's moneymaker, I-75. In December 2005, the town annexed just enough land to include the I-75 overpass at Exit 49. From about 10 miles north of Lenox to 5 miles south, construction barriers have been set up for the apparent widening of I-75. Throughout the construction area, the speed limit is reduced to 60 miles per hour. As I learned in court yesterday, the construction company that is performing the work sets the speed limit. For the entire duration of the construction zone, the speed limit is 60 mph...EXCEPT for Lenox. For the small little bit of I-75 that passes through Lenox, the construction company changes to a Lenox-based company. It seems that the workers for the SCRUGGS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY are just a bit dumber than the rest of the I-75 concrete contractors because they need the speed limit reduced to an absurd 50 MPH.

In court yesterday, I witnessed numerous people, many of whom were unemployed and most of whom were obviously poor testifying before a redneck judge all with the same outcome. All of the speeders were caught using laser. The speeding tickets were for between 74/50 and 84/50. In each case, the judge reduced the speed to 64/50 which prevents points from being assessed against the offender's license. However, the speeding fine is still double the usual amount. In every case, the fine was $550. Yesterday amounted to at least a $10,000 take for the small town, and that doesn't include the people who simply sent in their checks. Unlike Florida where a plea of no lo contendere will generally result in the waiving of the fine and an assessment of court costs, this judge gives no quarter. He assesses the full and excessive fine.

The only good thing about the town is that the police officers are very polite.

Scruggs Construction set the speed limit at 50 MPH. I suppose that once Lenox collects enough tickets, they might actually build a proper courthouse. When that happens, I bet that Scruggs is chosen to build it.

Even though these people were speeding, the punishment does not fit the crime, and furthermore, the creation of a blatant speed trap with very little warning is damn close to entrapment.

Coming from the north, the speed limit drops from 60 to 50 in less than half a mile. The city limit only extends 2/3 of a mile north of the Exit 49 bridge and about a tenth of a mile before the actual off ramp. In my case, I never saw a 50 mph sign until after I was pulled over. Sure I was speeding. But I was driving a reasonable and prudent speed going with the flow of traffic on the interstate. There was no construction going on in the area. Unlike Florida where speeding fines are doubled When Workers are Present, the fines are doubled through the entire 15 mile long construction zone.

The bottom line, Lenox, Georgia is a terrible speed trap. It should be examined by the Justice department for abuse of power and entrapment. Avoid it like the plague that it is. Lenox, Georgia simply sucks!

10 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:09 PM EST

    After receiving one of their tickets this year and going to court, they did reduce it to 64/50 from 74/50 but did not reduce the $550 fine. I made a recent inquiry, using the open records request and here is the amount of revenue the City of Lenox has collected in 2009 as a result of speeding tickets. Essentially it equates to 52 tickets at $550 a month. Here is a piece of the their email response:

    City of Lenox collected $344,693.71
    Fines and fees paid to state -79,387.20
    Retained by City of Lenox $265,306.51

    The whole thing is just about criminal!

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  2. Anonymous3:13 PM EDT

    THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO MY SON......500.00 FINE....A BIT OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE.........

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  3. Your son got off easy. The judge was giving everyone $550. Cash or credit card only. If you use a credit card there was a $27 fee added on.

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  4. Anonymous1:19 PM EDT

    Just got one on a Satuurday, no ongoing construction no statement on the Ticket that it was a construction Zone, the GPS has latest updates for speed limits the 3rd for Garmin 2010 which still lists the area as 60MPH, I showed the officer after being pulled over, he was upset I didn't pull off immediately in to the grass filled with debris since there is no shoulder and I drove another 1/2 mile to get to a clear area to pull over but I digress, when checking there online Bill pay option it states 40-6-188 : SPEEDING IN CONSTRUCTION SITE $572.00

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  5. Anonymous9:21 AM EST

    I cant believe all this that I am reading! 10K in one day worth of fines?? for a town of 900 people? WOW! what's law enforcement doing with the cash? something is shady there! Talk about people going out of there way to avoid Georgia and Not spend our hard earned dollar in that state! that is EXACTLY what's going to happen...what goes around, comes around! Does Governor of Georgia know about this? I've never in my life heard of a $500 speeding ticket! I know someone in my family that just got a ticket and was helping an elderly person get to their destination and flew back for $100 one way...so he couldve flown 5 times back and forth instead of driving. What a bunch of idiots in Lenox, GA! I'm not a fan of this town and now i'm wondering about the state too....FISHY and SHADY!

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  6. Anonymous6:28 PM EST

    I agree. This town SUCKS!!! I went to court yesterday for a speeding ticket from Nov. 2010. When I tried to plead Not guilty, they threatened to put me in jail. But if I pled guilty, I would just pay the fine. They admitted that they do change the speed limit signs and that the construction company 500 ft, before exit 49 to 200 feet after exit 49, they are allowed to follow different rules. The officer that gave me my ticket was a ???cop. I guess because they are a small, poor town and they can do what they want, and sleep with each other and I pleaded not guilty, they wouldn't lower my speed, but everyone else that pled guilty, got a lower fine. Drivers BEWARE, of Lenox, GA I-75 near exit 49

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  7. This just happened to me!!! I just had to pay $572!!! AANNND.. when I charged mt debit card.. it charged twice!!! I don't even know what to do! I wish there was something to be done

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  8. Anonymous3:55 PM EST

    Georgia can suck it. That state is run by greedy backwood redneck politicians who could care less who they crap upon as they climb their ladders to power. My ticket was $250 for only 14 miles over the limit on 75. No construction, just going with the flow of traffic and happened to be the one in the sportscar with an out of state tag. Another little known fact about the state from hell: I used to live there. If you can't afford the fine you are placed on probation at $40 per month (at least in ATlanta) and that's in addition to the original fine and you are on probation until the fine is paid -- every month giving them $40. IF that's not criminalizing poor people I don't know what it is. I'm just glad I no longer have to live in that hellhole of a state. They can take their confederate flags and shove them where the sun doesn't shine.

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  9. Anonymous12:05 PM EDT

    During the construction time there was signs saying reduce speed ahead construction zone. I know cuase I travel this road almost everday. the problem is people doesn't want to slow down. I do believe state law sets the speed during a construction zone and at that time the speed limit that was 65 through lenox and not 70. it was after the completion of the road work that the speed limit was raised to 70. and yes Lenox is small but exit 49 has always been in the city limits.

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    Replies
    1. So much for grammar and spelling. Now, other than the obvious corrections to this person's blatant errors, I must correct a couple of gross misstatements. Yes, Georgia law sets the speed limit in construction zones. However, the usual limit was not slow enough for the Lenox Georgia Speed Trap. They reduced the speed limit to 55 MPH. With only one sign alerting the driver to the reduction and the presence of a tractor-trailer in the right lane, it would be easy for anyone to miss such a sign. As for the original boundaries of the city limits, the anonymous writer would do well to check the history of the city and he or she could easily see that these boundaries were changed from the original 1918 lines. They are clearly gerrymandered in such a manner to provide the city with a revenue stream for its poor residents. This town is a blight on an otherwise beautiful landscape.

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