Do traffic officers need to chill a bit?
Car Lands In A Pickle At Airport
By THOMAS W. KRAUSE firstname.lastname@example.org BY
: and PETER BERNARD
Published: Apr 16, 2004
TAMPA - As cars crowded Tampa International Airport's ``blue'' arrival area Tuesday, a man sitting in a parked car faced a dilemma. Should he risk getting a ticket for not moving the car or attempt to drive it, even though he didn't know how to use a stick shift?
He decided to try driving the Honda Civic and ended up hitting two people and two cars.
Witnesses said Carmelo Cordero, 29, told the traffic specialist he didn't have a license and couldn't drive a stick shift. He was sitting in the passenger seat while the driver was inside the airport. Despite Cordero's protests, witnesses said, the airport police employee told him to move the car or face getting a ticket.
When Cordero hit the gas, the car lurched forward, struck two women and then wedged between two other cars.
``The poor boy,'' said Beverly King, 74, who was knocked to her back side by the moving car. ``Afterward, he came out and said `I told them I couldn't drive. I told them so.' It really wasn't his fault.''
King suffered bruises and scrapes, and she was still sore Thursday evening. Her daughter-in-law also was knocked down, King said.
King's son, Jeffrey, said he heard Cordero telling the traffic specialist, ``I can't drive.''
Police Chief Paul Sireci said the traffic specialist, identified in the police report as R. Murray, denies Cordero told him he didn't have a license. The report says Murray stuck his hand in the car window to help Cordero with the stick shift.
Sireci said his department will conduct an investigation.
The traffic specialist, who is not a sworn officer, is on leave with pay, Sireci said.