Well it was kind of an accident. I didn’t mean to get arrested. I wasn’t trying to get arrested. But low and behold, just 6 minutes after stopping by my local police percinct, there I was in cuffs.
It all started with getting robbed. I wasn’t personally robbed, but my stuff was stolen. Well at least part of it was. Recently I was putting some stuff in my trunk one morning on the way to work and realized that about half my license plate was missing. Someone had apparently taken some pretty sharp scissors and decided they needed my annual renewal sticker off of my license plate.
A few days later I saw a police officer at the car wash, told him about the issue and he advised me to head over to the police station and file a report. Then I could take the report to Shelby County and get a new tag.
Well yesterday I scheduled my day to do just that. Plus I needed to get tags for the van, those had just expired, so I was going to kill two tags with one stone. But I didn’t get that chance.
Friday started like most mornings. I got up about 5:30 and worked till 7am. Took a shower and helped with the final prep on the kids getting ready for school. We loaded up and headed out for our three stops.
After that I drove straight to the police station on Union Ave. Parked directly in front of the door. Walked right in. And got arrested.
It didn’t happen quite that fast, but it didn’t take long. I told the officer at the desk what had happened with my tags getting partially stolen. He said he sees this often. Told me it would just take a few minutes to do the paperwork. A couple of minutes in we are just small talking about the new police station being built on Crump and what people will steal these days.
Then he got quite. I thought he was focussing. He asked me if I was headed in to work and I told him I was after I get all the new tags. Then he got up, walked around the desk. Grabbed my left arm and started reading me my rights.
I just started laughing. It was based in a nervous laugh, but I did truly think the situation was funny. He proceeded to put on the cuffs so tight you would of thought I was a well known escape artist.
He put me in a holding area and told me, “Sir, there is a warrant out for your arrest. We are going to be extraditing you to Arkansas.” For a moment I was nervous because the way he said it so nonchalantly it could have been heard as, “We are going to execute you in Arkansas.” Thankfully that was not it.
I sat there with my hands cuffed behind my back trying to make sure all my fingers had blood flow just giggling for about five minutes. I was running through all the options in my head. Trying to figure out what had happened. There is another John Robert Carroll that is on the TSA No Fly List that I used to get confused with after 9/11. I had to submit a few documents to the Federal Government to get that sorted out. Maybe he did something bad.
My next thought was that my identity had been stolen. Someone had been committing crimes in my name maybe.
Then I just started to run through anyone and everyone that could have pulled a prank on me. But no one I know has these type of skills. So I ruled out being Michael Douglas in The Game.
Finally I just figured that it must of been something I had done. But I couldn’t figure out what.
As I sat there I realized that I must be the easiest to catch criminal in the entire world. “Well hello officer. This sure is a nice police station. By the way, there is a warrant out for my arrest. Just thought I would stop by and get arrested.”
The officer came back and said, “Alright, you have an unpaid speeding ticket in Texarkana and you did not appear in court on February 15th. We are working on having an Arkansas State Trooper transport you to Texarkana.”
“Oh No! There has to be a mistake”, I said, “I did get a ticket on Dec 31st, 2011, but I mailed them a check in January.” The police officer replied, “Well they don’t take checks, only cash & money orders. So your fine wasn’t paid and you missed court, thus the warrant.”
My mind was racing. My mouth was still kind of laughing. Then reality set in and I pitched the cop my logic, “Hold on. It’s about 9:00am. I am not going to get to Texarkana till late this afternoon. I could miss seeing a judge today and be in jail all weekend. I have a wife and four kids. I may not get out till Monday. Then how do I get back?”
In the brief pause between that brilliant statement and his response I seriously thought all that I just said was enough to let this man see that sending me to Texarkana for four days for only going 80 in a 70, on a three lane interstate, in the flow of traffic, and a $145.00 fine was a little much. But he just looked right back at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s not my problem.”
Now the giggling just turned to laughing. I started to think about all I would miss this weekend. That day I had a ton of work to do with mission trips coming to Memphis this next week and Choose901.com launching Monday. That night Ashleigh and I were planning to go on our 9 Year Anniversary date. Today we have Donut Morning and then I am speaking in Jackson, TN tonight. Tomorrow I being interviewed in all three services at Christ United Methodist for Churches for Children. Sunday afternoon I am speaking on the “History and Future of Memphis” to two college groups from out-of-state, and then tomorrow evening I am hosting our worship service at Neighborhood Church. Not quite the perfect weekend to be locked up in Arkansas.
Then all of a sudden the officer came in and said, “You are free to go.”
He told me that Texarkana only extradites “outlaws” (he used that word), with-in 200 miles. Fortunately for me, I was arrested 276.3 miles away from justice.
But now I have another set of issues. I can’t go get my tags because I will just get arrested at the DMV when my warrant gets flagged. I was not looking for a second round of “Can your fingers survive a good cuffing” so that is not an option. But both my cars have bad tags. One out of date and the other half missing, so I can’t really drive around either and risk getting pulled over for any reason and getting arrested again.
It was a Friday, so even if I overnighted the fine to Texarkana, it would be Monday, maybe Tuesday before they lift my warrant.
So I did what any 2012 problem solver would do. I tweeted.
I actually tweeted and posted on Facebook.
Jon Sullivan, who I don’t know, but lives in Memphis, saw my post and sent me the name of a good friend of his named Todd Smith who just moved to Texarkana. I called Todd and he was willing to drive over there and pay my fine. And he did. He has the paperwork saying my warrant is cleared, finished, cancelled, or whatever they do to warrants.
The fine was $145 for the ticket and an additional $50 to pay for my 90 day probation. As long as I don’t do anything wrong in the next 90 days in Texarkana, none of this will go on my record. I thankfully talked Texarkana Law Enforcement out of the additional $450 fine for missing court.
I have never met Todd either, but he is driving to Memphis today to see his family, so I will meet him tomorrow, give him a big hug (whether he wants it or not) and pay off my debt to the man who helped keep me out of going back to jail.
But you know what they say, “Once an Outlaw….Always an Outlaw.”