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Tow truck driver should get a medal, not a ticket

Re: Driver stops DUI suspect and gets a ticket himself, Jan. 8.

What's happened to our justice system, when a man cares enough to save lives and gets penalized for it? Daniel Drake was concerned about a drunken driver and her ability to keep her car on the road without killing herself or someone else, and he gets a ticket (not cheap either). Things are not always as they seem, so why didn't the state trooper ask questions before citing the wrong person? I'd say his authority went to his head.

I wonder what would have happened to the woman if Drake had not been a concerned and caring citizen? I wonder if she'd be dead or have killed someone else with her drunken driving? Would that ticket-issuing trooper be willing to take the blame? I don't think so.

Daniel Drake should have been given a medal for his efforts, not a ticket, like a common criminal. And we all complain because people see trouble on the roads and drive on without stopping to assist, and who can blame them? The offender gets away scot free and will be back on the roads again in a day or two and possibly kill herself or someone else the next time.

I hope the whole community gets up in arms about this injustice and comes to Daniel Drake's defense. He's a hero, not a lawbreaker.

Fran Glaros, Clearwater

He likely saved lives

Re: Driver stops DUI suspect _ and gets a ticket himself.

There's a saying in government and corporate parlance that "no good deed goes unpunished." This certainly seems to be the case with respect to Daniel Drake.

Yes, Mr. Drake stuck his neck out. But in doing so it is very likely he saved lives. It seems very likely, that, had Jamie Jacko not been stopped, somebody was going to die that day. Daniel Drake was, thankfully, able to prevent that.

I have had my own experiences with trying to get apparently drunken drivers intercepted and off the road. Several years ago, I was following one in Pasco County while speaking with a 911 dispatcher who wanted to terminate the call because "this is not an emergency." What's wrong with this picture?

Rick Spector, Tampa

Lessons in restraint may be needed

I was astounded to read not one but two stories of stupidity on the part of the police. The first (A tense day in court makes teenager's point, Jan. 8) about two students who wanted to visit a former teacher and wound up being handcuffed was bad enough. But the case of the tow truck driver who may have prevented a serious accident getting a ticket is something else!

I realize that nearly 100 percent of the time our police, from local to state, do a fine job. However, incidents like these tarnish the reputations of all law officers. Maybe a course in avoiding stupid overreacting should be a part of their training.

It was good to see the students acquitted. I hope the case of the civic-minded tow truck driver turns out as well.

Donald Hayden, New Port Richey

Handy insurance if you can get it

Re: Deputy drives through stop sign, causes car accident, Jan. 8.

I read with interest the report of a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy who drove through a stop sign and struck another vehicle causing injury. The Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said that a ticket will not be issued to the deputy because the Sheriff's Office is insured for such wrecks.

I would be grateful if the Sheriff's Office could tell me where I can get such insurance as it seems to be a huge help in keeping a clean license.

Frank Styles, Tampa

Needed: freedom from the press

The article Friends step between media glare, victims' kin (Jan. 3) justifies intrusions by the media into private lives with the statement:". . . because competitive pressure to score an exclusive bit of information or a family interview is increasingly intense . . ."

I doubt that the Founding Fathers were concerned with "scoring an exclusive bit of information" when they wrote the First Amendment.

In Justices cloaked in black robes of secrecy (Jan. 6) columnist Ellen Goodman notes that the members of our Supreme Court have a "passion for privacy" for themselves. The court is long overdue to reinterpret the First Amendment to provide a modicum of that privacy to others. What ordinary citizens need is a little freedom from the press.

Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo

Courageous questioning

Re: Praise for Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Unlike in 2000 with Florida, when no senator would stand up and question Florida's election results, Sen. Barbara Boxer from California spoke up last week and supported an initiative to discuss what happened in Ohio's presidential election.

Dirtied by voting irregularities, voter disenfranchisement and illegal actions by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio has taken Florida's place in the spotlight as being the home of shameful partisan politics.

Our representatives failed us by not challenging the actions of Katherine Harris who tainted Florida's election. We can't continue this way if we intend to maintain a democracy.

Clyo Beck, Tarpon Springs

Influencing an election?

Re: Education agency paid commentator, Jan. 8.

This article indicated that nearly a quarter of a million dollars was paid to Armstrong Williams for the promotion of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law. No mention was made that this took place during the runup to the most recent national election. So it likely had an effect on swaying some of our voters.

Since we still have a Republican majority in both houses of Congress we will be unlikely to get a ruling against the present administration for this illegal use of our tax dollars to ensure his election. Incidentally, I refuse to call it re-election because in order to be re-elected you first must be elected, not appointed.

Milton Bronson, Largo

More evidence of bias

Re: Aside from being wrong, AP had Jeb story right, Jan. 8.

Lucy Morgan's recent article about Jeb Bush and the Associated Press confirms something I have long suspected. The wire services, including the AP, UPI, Reuters etc., all actively engage in the same blatant Bush-bashing bias as the rest of the mainstream media.

Of course some wag will attempt to throw Fox News in my face in reply to my assertion. Fox News is a breath of fresh air rising above a stagnant quagmire of liberal media rhetoric.

Anthony J. Surmatis, Holiday

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