Imagine, it is a cloudy, dark and wet winter morning. You are driving down Route 20 in Auburn when a black SUV stopped on the side of the road darts in front of your car. You have to quickly move your car over to the left to avoid an accident. Is your first instinct to beep the horn? It was for Stephanie Kelley of Westborough.
It turns out, the man driving the black SUV was Auburn Police Officer Jason Miglionico. According to Auburn Police, he was in pursuit of another vehicle with an inspection sticker violation, but Stephanie got pulled over as well. She was issued a $55 ticket for using “excessive noise.”
In a complaint filed with the Auburn Police Department, Ms. Kelley stated, “the horn is manufacture issue and was used for its intended purpose, which in this case was to make the driver aware that there was a vehicle in the lane he was pulling into.”
She also calls the entire situation “completely unfair, unscrupulous, unethical and unmerited.”
Kelley alleges the officer misused his power and improperly issued her the traffic citation. She has tried pleading her case to Auburn’s Town Manager, Board of Selectmen and even Chief of Police, but to no avail. Chief Andrew Sluckis replied to her complaint saying the officer was ordered, by him, to patrol and enforce safety on Route 20 in an unmarked SUV. “None of the officer’s actions as you described them were in violation of department policy and were within his professional discretion to issue that civil citation.”
Massachusetts General Law Part 1, Title XIV, Chapter 90, Section 16 titled, Offensive or illegal operation of motor vehicles, states,”no person operating a motor vehicle shall sound a bell, horn or other device, nor in any manner operate such a motor vehicle so as to make a harsh, objectionable or unreasonable noise.”
As you can imagine, Stephanie is quite upset about this. She tells THE LAKE 940 she will be in Worcester District Court on Thursday fight this ticket and try to put this matter behind her once and for all. “I have to use my vacation time to spend a day in court…?” Her plea continued, “I respect and admire police officers, fire fighters and other personnel that put their lives on the line everyday…and I understand the pressure and danger that they face. But that doesn’t give them the right to abuse their power and issue unwarranted citations, especially for something that they caused!”
You might want to think twice before you beep the horn in Auburn, it could cost you.
Do you agree with Officer Miglionico, or do you think Stephanie should be given a break? Leave a comment on our Facebook page.
A copy of the ticket is below.