Family gets traffic ticket during funeral, misses burial - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Family gets traffic ticket during funeral, misses burial

Donald and Shirley Ross were pulled over and missed the burial Donald and Shirley Ross were pulled over and missed the burial
SPOKANE, Wash. - Sheriff's deputies hear all kinds of stories when writing tickets, but a North Idaho family can't believe theirs didn't prevent a ticket after they truthfully told an officer their sister had just died.

Donald and Shirley Ross were leaving a funeral mass and heading to a burial ceremony in Spokane County when they were pulled over by a corporal with the Sheriff's Office.

"It was obvious we were in a funeral procession," said Shirley.

Church administrators estimate several dozen cars made the trip two miles away to the cemetery where Pat Ross was laid to rest Friday.

Donald and Shirley were pulled over by a corporal conducting a seatbelt emphasis patrol.

"We always wear them," said Shirley, referring to the seatbelts. "It was just a few yards from the church. We were going to put them on."

The Ross family says the corporal wrote 5 tickets for the family. It took approximately 15 minutes.

Donald says those 15 minutes made them miss the burial ceremony.

"We missed the whole thing and it's something that can never be replaced," said Donald. "It's a stage in our life where you want to give your last respects and hear the final prayers and the closing of the ceremony where we missed that and it's something I'll remember for as long as I live and I think it was just uncalled for."

"We're out here trying to prevent funerals, not disrupt them," said Sgt. Dave Reagan with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Reagan says the corporal was working an emphasis patrol on overtime paid by the state. It is an expensive patrol during which warnings are rarely given to anyone.

"You might get a warning on a cracked windshield, you might get a warning on insurance, but if you're not wearing your seatbelt, and that's what we're out looking for, you're more than likely to get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt," said Reagan.

Donald and Shirley say they plan to appeal the tickets and look forward to their day in court.

They have 15 days to appeal the tickets.

The corporal who issued the ticket said he wrote 16 citations that day and issued no warnings.

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