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Anger over speed trap leads to driver's arrest

LAND O'LAKES — Just before 9 a.m. Wednesday, a man parked his car next to a Florida Highway Patrol speed trap and told the troopers they were trespassing on private property.

He ended up in jail.

Peter Caravette, 49, did not want to talk to a reporter about his arrest, but here is the story as it was compiled from an FHP report and interviews.

Wednesday morning, an FHP pilot circled over State Road 54, just east of Gunn Highway. On the ground, marked patrol cars pulled over speeders spotted from the air.

Caravette, who was not being stopped for speeding, approached the troopers. He became belligerent, insisting they were trespassing. Caravette, who lives in New Port Richey, said he did not own any nearby property, but he knew someone who did.

The FHP said they operated from the right-of-way Wednesday morning.

They also said Caravette, who at that point did not face any charges, was pulled over for speeding at that same spot in November 2007.

According to the patrol, Caravette drove 72 mph in a 55 mph zone Nov. 13. He took the issue to court in March; the ticket was upheld.

The court also tacked on a $500 fine.

"He wasn't the nicest guy in the courthouse, let's put it that way," said Sgt. Miguel Cendan, who attended the March hearing and flew the patrol aircraft Wednesday and the day of Caravette's November arrest.

Wednesday morning, Caravette wanted to speak to the troopers' supervisor.

Capt. Jacqueline Freeman fielded his call.

"He was very irate," she said.

Caravette said he wanted to videotape the troopers.

Freeman hung up the phone, worried. She telephoned Cendan to keep an eye out for Caravette.

"I feared for the safety of our troopers," she said. "When he said he was returning with a video camera, he may as well have come back with a gun."

Caravette returned to the stop around 1:30 p.m. in a rented vehicle.

As the troopers nabbed speeders, Caravette drove by them several times, recording their actions. When he passed with his eye in the camera viewfinder and not on the road, the FHP pulled him over for careless driving.

Caravette refused to give up his license and registration. The troopers told him to leave four times, but he refused. That's when the handcuffs came out.

He was charged with failure to obey a law enforcement officer and resisting an arrest without violence.

After five hours in at the Land O'Lakes jail, Caravette was released on a $300 bond.

Staff researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6518.

Anger over speed trap leads to driver's arrest 04/17/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 8:46am]
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