Houston Woman Busted For Warning Motorists of Speed Trap

Natalie Plummer's handwritten grocery-bag sign warning motorists near downtown of a speed trap led to her arrest for "walking in the roadway." She claims she never left the sidewalk. 
Mon July 2, 2012 8:15 pm
Screenshot | ABC News

A Houston bicyclist and Whole Foods shopper found herself in jail after she made a sign to warn drivers on West Dallas Street of a police speed trap. 

As Kevin Quinn of KTRK originally reported , Natalie Plummer claims she was wrongfully arrested. 

"I was simply just warning other citizens of a situation ahead," Plummer told Quinn. "I felt like he was just pulling random cars over."

Plummer made the sign from her paper grocery bag, and says she never stepped off of the sidewalk as she warned approaching drivers. That's a crucial point, because she was not arrested for felony obstruction of justice (which Plummer says the arresting officer initially threatened to charge her with), but rather, a misdemeanor of "walking in the roadway where there is a sidewalk present."

Plummer spent twelve hours in jail before her bond was posted. 

As Quinn reported:

The Houston Police Department refused our request to talk about this incident on camera. A spokesperson says Plummer was "in the roadway" and "was a danger to herself and others and "...the sum total of which was is an arrestable offense."

Plummer said, "He couldn't take me to jail for holding up this sign or he would have. So all he could do was make up something fake about it."

Police say Plummer was combative and resisted arrest. But our KTRK legal analyst says Plummer should not have been arrested.

At ABC News' national website, the story became part of a series that includes such videos as "Mom Punishes Son With 'I Sell Drug' Sign" and "Boy's Stolen Wallet Returned Because of Sign."  

ABC's Alon Harish reported that Houston executive assistant police chief Michael Dirden issued a statement saying that if "Plummer believes the police acted inappropriately, she should file a complaint with the department's internal affairs division."

Harish also noted that the legality of such warnings in and of themselves vary from state to state. 

Last month, a Florida circuit court judge ruled that flashing headlights to warn of an impending speed trap was protected free speech. 

Below, KTRK's original report:

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week