Woman who thought she was in labor gets ticket

April 06, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

A Taneytown woman who was eight months pregnant and was racing home to phone her doctor because she thought she was in labor got a $260 speeding ticket at a police radar checkpoint set up one quarter-mile from her home on Taneytown Pike.

Shelley Snyder, 25, was issued a ticket by Taneytown city police Officer Daniel P. White on March 24 after his radar gun clocked her driving 65 mph on a stretch of road with a 30-mile-an-hour posted speed limit.

Ms. Snyder said she told Officer White and State Trooper Darrin Wagner, who were working together, that she was in pain. She said she asked them if she could go home and call her doctor.

Instead, she said, she was told to wait in her car while Trooper Wagner processed her license and registration.

She said she was handed the ticket as she was lifted into a waiting ambulance on a stretcher.

Officer White said yesterday that Ms. Snyder never informed him or Trooper Wagner that she was in pain until after the ticket had been written and was about to be issued.

"If she had come right out and said she was in labor, we would have called an ambulance right away," Officer White said. "I wouldn't have written that ticket if I had known. That's just low."

Trooper Wagner could not be reached for comment.

Ms. Snyder said she was not in labor, but she was dehydrated and had dilated to 2 centimeters by the time she arrived at Carroll County General Hospital about an hour after she was stopped for speeding. She was treated and released.

Ms. Snyder said she lost a baby two weeks before her due date last year.

Ms. Snyder said she was returning home from a doctor's appointment in Westminster about 2 p.m. when she began to experience pain in her right side. She was near Taneytown when her pain became so intense she decided that she would speed home as soon as she got outside the city, she said.

But when she got near Wantz Chevrolet, west of Harney Road, she saw the speed checkpoint set up by Officer White and Trooper Wagner.

They stopped her.

"He [Trooper Wagner] walked up to her and she appeared in some discomfort," Officer White said the trooper told him. "She told him, 'I don't feel well. I'm going home,' but that was all. He asked her if she wanted an ambulance and she said no, she just wanted to go home."

Officer White said it was not until he went to Ms. Snyder's car several minutes later that he saw Ms. Snyder crying, asked her what was wrong and called an ambulance.

"I gave it [the ticket] to her, and while she was signing it she was crying," the officer said. "I asked her, did she want an ambulance, but she still said she wanted to go home and call her doctor.

"I told her we couldn't let her drive away in that condition and I called the ambulance on my radio," the officer said. "As soon as she said she was having pains, I called an ambulance.

"It was just a bad incident. I couldn't void the ticket. I felt really bad," Officer White said. "I had no idea she was having trouble."

Doctors anticipate the arrival of her baby girl two weeks before her May 1 due date, Ms. Snyder said.

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