Tis the season for every merchant who has hired an overpriced marketing firm on TV or radio to suggest the most pedestrian of all holiday gimmicks: a rhyming parody starting with the line “twas the night before Christmas”. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association would never want to be seen as a dissenter in world of yuletide conformity, so allow us to spin you a yarn.
Twas the night before Christmas. Santa was in his sleigh delivering highly incomplete truck GPS systems and overpriced electronic onboard recording devices to all the good little safety managers belonging to the American Trucking Association. Unknown to the jolly old fat man, he was behind on his lease-to-own reindeer payments from his carrier.
Apparently Mrs. Claus was not paying the bills on time. After this story she will blame the shippers. Saint Nick can’t make money (or keep kids happy) if he is sitting at the loading dock watching his hours-of-service tick away waiting, ironically, for the very swag he was delivering.
As Mr. Claus carefully navigated over towns, farmlands and urban blight, the reindeer started to falter. Gravity got the best of the situation and he landed full speed on an interstate in suburban Chicago. Thankfully he had an IPASS, so the toll would only be half of what it could be, yet still more than double that of cars.
This raised an interesting question in the mind of Santa (and the extra-territorial police officer who quickly pulled up behind him). Seeing as how neither the soon-to-be repo’d animals nor the sleigh have any axles, how exactly does the tollway calculate fees. Silly Santa, it doesn’t matter, it’s Illinois!
Here’s when things started to come unglued. Even though the interstate was not within the corporate limits of the Village of Moneylust, the police officer from said municipality took it upon himself to take enforcement action. Hey – the badge does say “State of Illinois” on it, right? Right?
Poor Santa. The list of violations was long. Longer than the list he checked twice. The same list which listed the police officer as naughty, not nice. Here’s the pedigree:
Speeding – even though there was no radar, the officer was able to determine the speed based upon prior knowledge and vast experience as a lawman observing reindeer/sleigh combinations.
Fraudulent driver’s license – unfortunately, the Secretary of State erroneously listed his name as Santa Claus instead of Kris Kringle, his given name on the driver’s license.
Overweight on Registration – even though the SOS wouldn’t register the sleigh because it was non-conforming as a 1st or 2nd Division vehicle, the officer knew better than the SOS. Off to the uncertified scale they went.
Overweight on Blade – since there is no such a law to punish heavy sleigh drivers, the Village council quickly convened and passed an ordinance mandating a $500 fine. Sucker.
Fleeing and Eluding – after exiting his sleigh, Santa’s pants fell down, so he quickly bent over to pick them up. At this point, the officer felt he was trying to create a diversion while devising a plan to run. “Crime attempted,” he mused, “equals crime committed.”
No medical card – well, anyone as robust as Santa could not pass a medical exam. Duh. Who needs the Illinois State Police and their exclusive authority anyhow?
No company name on side of sleigh – Is that a wrench in your sleigh Santa? Obviously, he was a construction sub-contractor. There had been dozens of “reports” of fat men in red suits burgling the town in recent months, all whom had wrenches and sleighs.
DWI – apparently Santa consumed a little eggnog and some magic dust a few weeks prior to Christmas, just to get the party started. He gave some to the reindeer, then a little bit more for Santa Claus (and a little bit more for Santa Claus). Although he passed the tests (contrary to the reports) and there were no signs of impairment, he was dragged to the hospital for a blood and urine specimen, which he refused. Easy $500 admin tow fee.
With a slam dunk case like this, even a judge as merry as Bing Crosby tap-dancing with Danny Kaye could never dump these charges against the big man. However, there was an independent video seized by the assistant state’s attorney.
And to all a good night.
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