Deputies and the Karma Bus

“Everybody’s passing me like I’m backing up,” my husband grumbles.

Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that over the lifespan of our marriage. Then I wouldn’t mind hearing it so often.

However, on today’s trip it is undeniably true. “I recently read a news story that said speeding is way up in Utah this year,” I comment.

Just then, the black blur of a sports car passes us on a double yellow line.

“Where’s a cop when you need one?” my husband growls.

I sigh. We’ve had similar discussions before. He claims when he goes the speed limit, he’s holding up traffic, which – he reasons – is just as dangerous as speeding. I generally say something about how we can’t pray for protection in our travels and then expect divine intervention if we’re breaking the law.

“Stay alive at 65,” I singsong. Then I look in my rearview mirror at the line of vehicles trailing closely behind us, all pulling to the left, hoping for a way around. I silently agree with his decision to set the cruise control at 70.

One by one, the vehicles speed up to get past us. One is a motorhome pulling a jeep. My husband’s jaw tightens as he glances at his F-150’s speedometer, wondering if it’s accurate.

A few miles down the road we come upon the black sports car that had previously passed us going about 100 mph. It’s now stopped, a Utah highway patrol car with flashing lights parked behind it.

“Yes! There is justice in this world!” our daughter exclaims from the back seat. Then she adds, “My dream job is driving a karma bus. Mine’s going to be pink with glitter – and I’m going to make sure anyone who is speeding gets pulled over!”

That would be a 24/7 job right now. According to one source, in 2020, Utah saw a 45 percent increase in people caught going 100 mph or more: 5,139 citations.

And it’s not just happening in Utah. It’s across the nation. Related to the overall increase in speed was a jump in nationwide fatalities in 2020: 24 percent per million miles driven, the largest one-year spike in U.S. history.

According to the recent news story I read, 2021 will surpass those numbers. It seems everyone is living life in the fast lane these days.

We crest a hill and start down a long slope. As we near the bottom, a county sheriff’s vehicle at the side of the road flips on its lights. I glance over at the speedometer: 71 mph.

“That’s not for you,” I tell my husband, but there is a question at the end of my sentence.

“It must be,” he replies, “they just pulled onto the highway behind us.”

I am perplexed, as well as having that niggling feeling one gets when those red and blue lights start flashing; however, my bewilderment overrules my anxiety.

My husband stops at the side of the road. From my side mirror I see a young deputy approaching. I roll down my window and look at the ground as he draws closer, hoping he’s not having to walk through weeds. I try to start a friendly conversation but he’s not talkative.

Another deputy approaches my husband’s door and asks for his driver’s license and registration. I fish the registration out of the glove compartment as my husband struggles to free his wallet from his back pocket.

I’m surprised; I thought the most we would get was a verbal warning (we have a Utah Sherriff’s Association membership sticker in our back window, after all).

I say as much to my husband as the officers walk back to their vehicle. “Oh, we got up to 75 before the governor kicked in,” he tells me.

“That’s what happens when you’re going down a steep hill,” I mutter.

Sure enough, when the deputy returns, he hands my husband a written citation for going 75 in a 65 mph zone. I look at the deputy’s name tag as he hands over the warning.

“You have the same surname as our daughter-in-law’s maiden name,” I tell him. “We’re headed to a family reunion where she and our son – who’s a deputy sheriff in another county – will be.”

“That right?” he says, then adds, “Bet he’s going to give you a hard time.”

“Oh, I don’t think it’s us who he’ll give the hard time to,” I laugh without humor, my sense of justice smarting at what I believe is an undeserved citation. Grudgingly, I realize I should be grateful it was just a warning; 10 mph over the posted limit is a $90 fine.

When we arrive at our destination, our deputy son comes out to greet us. He’s already heard about our experience – and, sure enough, he gives us a hard time.

At least we know the speedometer is accurate. And that, my friends, is karma – pink glitter and all.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday