Illegal speed traps in Wardensville...??
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bawalker
December 14, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
I came across something today that I thought *ANYONE* who drives through Wardensville should know. It pertains to what appears to be illegal speedtraps enforced by the Wardensville town police outside of the Wardensville town limits. While I have seen the end result of this, i.e. cars pulled over by the town police on Sandy Ridge, I wasn't sure what was going on until today.

Actually all of this goes back about a month when I was driving to a friends house up on Pine Ridge. After leaving Wardensville and climbing up Sandy Ridge, I noticed a cop car had a U-Haul mini-truck pulled over at the first 180* turn on Sandy Ridge. As I drove by I was able to identify the cop car as a new unmarked police vehicle used by the town of Wardensville.

Anyway it wasn't until today when I was doing I.T. work for a local businessman, that I heard a conversation in the office he was having with several employees. It was in regards to his wife coming home from a funeral several nights ago. As he told it, his wife noticed a car pull out behind her as she was driving past Jerry's Autobody (outside of the town limits on the left, see below). This vehicle drove behind her as any normal vehicle would for approximately 1.5 miles until she finished the second turn on Sandy Ridge and reached Squirrel Gap Road. Instantly blue lights came on behind her so she pulled off thinking this cop needed to pass her. Instead this cop pulled in behind her and approached her vehicle.

After approaching her vehicle the cop asked her why she thought she was pulled over. She said she had absolutely no clue why. The town police officer informed her that she was doing 58 in a 55 zone and that then when driving up the Sandy Ridge turns, her right side wheels crossed across the white line by a small margin. The officer concluded she was drunk and pulled her over.

Regardless of what the town cop gave as an excuse, her husband was furious for the officer working outside his jurisdiction. The officer plainly stated that he caught her going 58 in a 55, and there are no 55mph speed limits inside the town limits of Wardensville. If this truely is the case, then this officer was trying to enforce a law outside of his jurisdiction, and on top of that, not pulling her over immediately after pulling out behind her but instead waiting for 1.5 miles before turning the lights on.

I wanted to send a heads up to everyone on DCSki.com letting you know that whether this is illegal or not, KEEP UNDER ALL SPEED LIMITS when entering, driving through, and leaving Wardensville for at least a 2 mile radius surrounding Wardensville. If you are driving through Wardensville towards CV or TL and get pulled over outside of the town limits and believe something is fishy. I would urge you to push it legally to validate whether the cop is doing an illegal speed trap.

Keep in mind, the town limits are as follows:

When approaching Wardensville from Virginia via Rt. 55 - The bridge (Waites Run) where the speed goes from 55mph to 45mph is the beginning of the town limits. Maintain 45mph until reaching the stop sign at the Rt 55/259 intersection. The speedlimit drops to 35mph. MAINTAIN THIS AT ALL COST! The limit will drop again at the Barr's Market IGA grocery store and will drop to a 25mph limit. The speed limit stays at 25mph until you go past main street Wardensville and make the turn past Trout Run Road. At the Mountaineer Restraunt the speed limit goes to 40mph and stays 40mph until about 500 yards outside of the town limits. The final bridge crossing Trout Run is the official end of town limits.
Swimmer
December 15, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
For years now folks in the whitewater boating community have been dealing with Wardensville. We pass through it on the way out to Canaan Valley, or even closer runs over on the Cacapon, the Lost..etc etc.

We've had lawyers, law enforcment officials, all sorts of people get pulled over and ticketed there over the years. They went to the court apperances only to find a "kangaroo court" to the worse degree. The judge wouldn't even let the accused speak before closing the case, finding them guilty.

The best action we've been able to figure out is to boycot the town. No gas, no snacks, no food, no stopping in or around their town. In addition, we've written letters to all the businesses in town informing them that they will not get one red cent of our money because of the over zealous police action.

So best of luck. I try to just avoid the town all together. Living up in Germantown I usually have other routes available to me so I can avoid that place.

Steve
TOMF
December 15, 2005
Member since 11/17/2003 🔗
60 posts
Thanks for the heads up, Brad. I have always been careful about my speed going through Wardensville, but now I will also watch it on either side of town.

Tom
Redman
December 15, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
106 posts
I saw that yahoo this past weekend about a mile outside of Wardensville on my way back from the Valley. He was pulled over and appeared to be checking all his lights to make sure they are working. An imposing jack-booted thug for sure...probably just didn't have the mustard to be a State boy. I kept checking my rear view just in case he was looking for another chunk of change for the town coffers. At least it isn't 25 mph through the town like it used to be. Thanks for the heads up!
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SCWVA
December 15, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
I think the cops need to be on the look out for people just like you.

Oh BTW, the person with the gun makes rules.
Jim
December 15, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Thanks for the heads up BAWalker. Although I'm not out that way much, still nice to know as I've ridden my motorcycle through there in warmer weather. As for the legality, probably doesn't matter since the court and the police are obviously in cahoots. Regardless, as an FYI to DCSki members, police departments usually have a "buffer" zone that extends outside their jurisdiction. It can be up to several miles. The purpose of these is to allow full police coverage in border areas and is usually done by agreement between police departments. Of course, there is also the doctrine of "hot pursuit" that allows any police officer to chase a fleeing criminal (or suspected criminal) across jurisdictional lines within in the United States for an unlimited distance. Typically, such chases are joined to the police of the jurisdiction into which they cross meaning even more cops on the tail of the fleeing criminal (or suspected criminal).

My own view - most "speed enforcement" is nothing more than an exercise in revenue generation. Speed does not kill - recklessness kills.

JC
gatkinso
December 15, 2005
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
I am informing the WV State Police about this.

edit: I also will join the boycott of Wardenville. They will never again get a penny of my money.
hockeydave
December 15, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I had a similar incident happen to me in Thurmont, Md in 1991. I also heard similar stories from people who lived there or near there about speed traps in Thurmont. After protesting in court, and getting absolutely nowhere with Frederick County, I have never and will never spend 1 dime in Frederick, County, MD for as long as I live. I guess what I am trying to say is that a boycott of a small town like Wardensville from travelers heading to/from the mountains can impact businesses. With the advent of a forum like DCSki, it may bring about change in that town if passers-by are not spending money. One can only hope.
gatkinso
December 15, 2005
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
It will have even greater impact when Corridor H is finished - there will be no reason to stop there at all.
kennedy
December 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
I've also heard the the town of Accident (hell of a name) on the way to Wisp is a notorious speed trap. Not a big deal for me because all of Fairfax county is a big speed trap.
gatkinso
December 15, 2005
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
In Emmittsburg, the cop like to come to a dead stop in the middle of Seton Ave ( a little short cut to Liberty).

He will sit there. Not moving. No hazards nothing.

If you pass him, on come the lights, ticket (it is a no passing zone).

Talk about some BS. (My sister in law lives in Emmittsburg and told me this - the town is very hostile to skiiers so be extra careful).
RyanC
December 15, 2005
Member since 11/28/2003 🔗
160 posts
Ahh, southern small town hospitality (or corruption) at it's finest! Unfortunately, all it takes is a few bad apples to give a crappy impression of a whole town. Can't believe someone hasn't filed a lawsuit and raised a major stink about this. Thanks for the heads up. Personally, I won't go anywhere near Wardensville until that crap stops. Fortunately I always travel the 'northern route' to Canaan.
gatkinso
December 15, 2005
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Well then, be careful on US 220 between Cumberland and Creasptown, particularly by the prison. This is called the "Celanese Flat" after the textile mill that used to be there - and the cops are ALL OVER that stretch.

I grew up in La Vale, and we would go there for an impromptu drag race on a slow Friday night.

Hey, atleast in this case the enforncement is warranted!
tomimcmillar
December 15, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
Quote:

Well then, be careful on US 220 between Cumberland and Creasptown, particularly by the prison. This is called the "Celanese Flat" after the textile mill that used to be there - and the cops are ALL OVER that stretch.






Oooh, this is good to know. I don't recall seeing any coppers through there, but it is a stretch that always feels 'spooky'.

Another spot to cut her back is down around New Creek, I got pinched in there two years ago, 53 in a 40. It's tricky because once you go thru that last stoplight at the MallWart the limit jumps up to 50, but then they knock it down to 40 thru that residential stretch, from the sawmill/lumber supply that had the fire last year to pretty much the next intersection....I don't know the Route #'s off the top of my head. The officer was cool and kinda sheepish about giving me the ticket, we talked skiing a bit and he explained that there had been some accidents, so they stepped up the oversight. Made me feel kinda ok knowing that they weren't specifically targeting the 'tourists' that roll thru there on the wknds, and the fine was relatively cheap, compared to what they nail ya for in PA......
yellowdog
December 15, 2005
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
Pretty scary about Wardensville since we pass through it every time we go to TLine.

I have to contrast that to my experience with a state trooper on Rte. 93 (between Davis and Mt. Storm) last year. He had me cold and I was fully expecting to be contributing to the state's coffers. I couldn't believe it when he lets me off with a warning! Coulda kissed the dude (but didn't since I figured that would have probably resulted in a hickory shampoo).

What ticks me off more than predatory cops are locals who have some kind of passive/aggressive thing with outsiders. I mean, has anyone else had the experience of WV drivers who drive at or below the speed limit in no passing zones and then stomp on the gas when you try to pass them. This has happened to me several times. This, more than petty police harrassment, makes me pray that Corridor H is completed as soon as possible thru Moorefield so that I can bypass some of these (fine country gentlemen).
tgd
December 15, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I've encountered 2 types of local drivers heading up to Canaan over the past few years. First there are those who drive at a speed whereby they can make it through all the hairpins without touching their brakes. Needless to say, this is usually quite below the speed limit. The other type flies down those twisty-turny mountain roads at speeds that seem to defy the physical laws governing velocity, friction, and momentum. Ever been passed at high speeds going downhill on the steep stretch of 55 just below Allegheny Mountain heading towards Seneca Rocks?

After having the rotors on my truck turned three or four times the first winter after we bought our place in Canaan, I have adopted a driving style closer to the former than the latter (having two car-sick girls and one car-sick lab along for the ride also tends to slow me down).

As for Wardensville, we've been lucky - but have always kept to the speed limit near town (thanks to earlier warnings I read on this board). I was bagged on Corridor H one night a couple years ago going 73 in a 65 - ended up being a $145 ticket - $10 fine, $135 court costs (I don't know how a guilty plea via a phone call to the Hardy County Courthouse adds up to $135 in court costs, but as the comptroller said "that's West Virginia for ya"). I also heard from some of the Tline ski instructors about an overzealous State Trooper staking out Timberline Road last season. That's a 35MPH zone that everyone drives 50+ on - talk about shooting ducks on a pond....
yellowsnow
December 15, 2005
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
267 posts
Hmmm....just wondering....if they're doing 55+ in a 35, why is the trooper overzealous? !!
fishnski
December 15, 2005
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Anybody hear of Waldo FL?? The worst...written up by AAA..Been there done that ...Got the ticket! Why not go 55(at least 45) on Timberline road? Nothing but Wetlands & Canaan balsam firs on either side.Canaan vly & the outer Banks of NC have been the only places that i felt safe leaving the pub or bars. 20 years of doing so with 0 problems...pure freedom!
bawalker
December 15, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Jim - You are welcome for the info. You are possibly right too regarding the Town of Wardensville having a possible agreement with the Hardy County Sheriff's department. If that is the case then the sheriff's department could legally be using the town cops to conduct county work. However I don't know if such an agreement exsists. The only way to find out I guess is to test the system.

I definately can't disagree with the 'hot pursuit' doctrine and that is legally binding in all states as well if you are caught doing an infraction in the jurisdiction of one town, and are pursuied by that cop into another county. The issue at hand seems to be that the Wardensville town police (all 2 officers total) are following vehicles several miles outside of the limits, with suspected infractions taking place outside the town limits. If there is no working agreement, this is definately illegal and out of the police jurisdiction.

Now with all of that said, I wanted to point out the several known spots that the police park in checking speeders. These spots are defined as if a traveler is arriving into Wardensville from Virginia:

1.) At the intersection of Rt. 55 and Rt. 259 at 'Capon Valley Used Cars'. Since the speed limit entering/leaving the outskirts of town is 45mph, the cop has parked at the used car lot to hid himself from unsuspecting travelers. Do NOT gun the accelerator until well past Kerr's Shell.

2.) Less than 75 yards from the KaKaPon Restraunt at the entrance to the old Wardensville school beside the dugout at the baseball field. The cop will park there looking at both angles from that turn, a straight shot upto mainstreet and back down towards the used car lot.

3.) At the gravel pull off between the storage units and Barr's IGA. Recently the cop has been parking here facing west catching travelers leaving Wardensville. It's hard to spot the unmarked car here due to the constant traffic flow between Freeze King, IGA, and the storage units.

4.) At the Methodist church (brick church) on the turn right before getting to 7-11. He will back himself way up in their parking lot located behind the white house (realtor office) beside the church. Speed past here faster than 26mph, he'll zip out of this hidden spot and nail you before the town limits.

5.) As you go past 7-11 and go past Trout Run Road on the final turn to leaving town, the cop will sit on another street behind the insurance office at the corner looking down on main street. This spot is hidden from view on mainstreet. Go around that turn faster than 26mph and you will be nailed.

6.) At the Mountaineer Restraunt. The cop will sit there in the unmarked gray crown vic mingling with the other cars parked there.

7.) As you pass the Mountaineer Restraunt and enter the 40mph zone, there are several houses to your right. One of these houses is a red brick box house with lots of kids toys in the yard. Beside their house is an entrance road to a state equipment shed. The cop will park on this front yard/state shed road and face west nailing anyone as they cross Trout Run coming into town.

Quote:

Thanks for the heads up BAWalker. Although I'm not out that way much, still nice to know as I've ridden my motorcycle through there in warmer weather. As for the legality, probably doesn't matter since the court and the police are obviously in cahoots. Regardless, as an FYI to DCSki members, police departments usually have a "buffer" zone that extends outside their jurisdiction. It can be up to several miles. The purpose of these is to allow full police coverage in border areas and is usually done by agreement between police departments. Of course, there is also the doctrine of "hot pursuit" that allows any police officer to chase a fleeing criminal (or suspected criminal) across jurisdictional lines within in the United States for an unlimited distance. Typically, such chases are joined to the police of the jurisdiction into which they cross meaning even more cops on the tail of the fleeing criminal (or suspected criminal).

My own view - most "speed enforcement" is nothing more than an exercise in revenue generation. Speed does not kill - recklessness kills.

JC


Jim
December 15, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Hockeydave - not had a problem with Thurmont and I go up and down Route 15 at least once a week. I regularly set the cruise control at 63mph (in a 55mph) and been pinged numerous times by radar - never got pulled over doing that. I did get pulled over one time doing 72mph (not paying attention - my fault) and the sheriff wrote me a warning. I was courteous to him and admitted I wasn't paying close attention to my speed.

Gatkinso - Never experienced the problem in Emmitsburg either, although did get a warning for a burned out headlamp. Course this was not too long after 9/11 and I was driving by the Fire Academy/FEMA building on S.Seton. I agree that Emmitsburgh has a hate/love thing going with skiers/boarders. They like the revenue (notice the new left turn signal from S.Seton Avenue to Route 140?), but at the same time, the traffic probably isn't their favorite.

As with all things, YMMV.

JC
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 15, 2005
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,132 posts
Well, I stopped going through Wardensville several years ago. Literally -- I will not drive through that town on the way to Snowshoe, not anymore.

I received my first and only speeding ticket in my life in that town, and I was not speeding. I knew about the 25 mph speed limit and slowed way down before I got close to the town. There isn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind: I was going below the speed limit the whole time.

Just past the town, suddenly a Wardensville cop shows up, and says he saw me speeding after I pulled out of a gas station.

I hadn't ever pulled into a gas station.

At any rate, the skis on top of the car and out-of-state tags undoubtedly made me his prey. He gave me a ticket, and at the same time gave me a date and time I could come to the courthouse to contest the ticket, which he wrote right on the ticket -- 7 p.m. on a weekday. I asked whether the date could be changed, and he said no. I had a trip scheduled for Colorado for that date.

Searching on the Internet after this, I remember finding a site with dozens and dozens of stories about Wardensville and the little racket they have going on. Many people complained that the policeman giving the ticket *was also the presiding judge* at the courthouse when they tried to contest the ticket. (Guess how far they got.) I think AAA even rated Wardensville one of the top speed traps in the country. I was disgusted by what happened, but the lesson I took away was to avoid that town like a plague. Even if it means it takes longer to drive to Snowshoe, I'm fine with that.

(In retrospect, I shouldn't have been so upset about an undeserved ticket when, in the greater scheme of things, that's a pretty minor thing to go wrong in life. But I was pretty upset at the time since I had always been a very careful driver.)
tgd
December 15, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Tline Road's pretty much a straight shot with plenty of visibility. 55 is not an unsafe speed by any means on that road. "Overzealous" was simply the opinion of Tline regulars who encountered him. Yes it is exceeding the speed limit and we never do that.
tgd
December 15, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
That is a scary story. I have driven through Wardensville dozens of times, always watching my speed - never had a problem - but now I'm concerned. I really prefer that route to Canaan in bad weather (vs. 50-to-93), so avoiding Wardensville presents a safety issue in my mind versus merely losing time. Anyone had a similar experience (bogus ticket) in W-ville? Is there an easy bypass from NVA that still allows you to take the southern route to Canaan via Seneca Rocks?
bawalker
December 16, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
************************************************************
HOW TO BY-PASS WARDENSVILLE MAINSTREET
************************************************************

There are several ways to bypass Wardensville if your goal is to get to the ski resorts without feeling like you are living an episode of Smokey and the Bandit. The obvious bypass routes are to take Rt 50 to Rt 93 and drop down that way. For those heading to SnowShoe then it might be best to take I-81 south to Rt 33 west. Although there are some destinations you just can't bypass Wardensville with out loosing hours of your time. So Here is some backroads that can get you around Wardensville while still being in Wardensville. Mostly locals know about these. Good thing you got a local on here eh?

When crossing into WV at the top of North Mountain, you will want to get ready in about 2 miles for a back road that will take you right into the heart of Wardensville, or can let you bypass mainstreet. As you are driving down the mountain on the WV side you will go past notable landmark such as Hawks Nest Road (national forrest) on your right. A few hundred yards beyond that you will see a high fenced in area to the left titled North Mountain Elk Farm. When you reach this point you are less than a quarter mile from what is called North Mountain Road. Keep and eye for the road on your left because it has a very hidden entrace. Get on this road and take it straight into Wardensville. Be warned, this is a 1.5 lane, non painted, barely kept up state road that is only 4-5 miles long as it's longest.

Once you reach the better pavement that is divided with a yellow line, you are nearly into Wardensville. DO follow the speed limit on this road, not because of the cops, but because you will wreck if you try to play mr evil knivel. Just as you are about to enter Wardensvilles Mainstreet, you will take a hard right in the road beside two churches. You will now be beside the Post Office and 7-11. But before you exit onto Rt 259 by the post Office, take a right behind the PO and take this paved but unpainted road behind all the buildings and stores on mainstreet. This will exit you out to Trout run Road where you can then getout on Rt 259. While you still will drive past 2 of the 7 known cop parking spots, this would help decrease chances of getting busted.
hockeydave
December 16, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Hi Jim,

It's been 14 years since I've driven thru Thurmont... it was a little podunk town then. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd bet it's a bedroom community now for Balt/Wash, which means it has undergone gentrification. So I'm sure the town has upgraded its police also. I always thought it was a bucolic hamlet at the foot of the Catoctin Mountain, it just left a bad impression on me because of a hick cop.
Jim
December 16, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Hey HD:

DC/Balt sprawl certainly has spread. In the past several years alone, I've watched developments just outside Emmitsburg go up with houses starting - get this: STARTING - in the low $200,000's. Translation - you want a decent house, expect to pay well over a quarter million! Thurmont doesn't seem to be an exception with lots of growth as well (generally, I just stop at the Sheetz at the first Thurmont exist to fill up and get coffee). The upside is that I think your hicktown cops are pretty rare - not saying they aren't out there! Instead, its mostly state troopers on 15 with the locals sticking to the side roads.

That said, don't mess with the Troopers either! The state has seen fit to outfit Troopers with LASER speed devices. There's a little rise on 15 northbound about ten miles or so north of Frederick where the shoulder gets really wide. Troopers regularly stand there with hand held laser guns tagging people as they come up the hill. Luckily, they are also reasonable so if you're below 65mph (clear roads, no inclement weather), chances are you'll not even be looked at twice.

JC
Bumps
December 17, 2005
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
Since I was a small kid in Petersburg, everyone knew to watchout for the speedtrap in Wardensville. My Dad use to tell me everytime I headed back to VA when I started working overhere to slow down in wardensville. It is also an old cop trick to ride you at night with lights in your mirrors to try and get you to speed up. Anymore I just assume its a cop and slow down (if its just an ahole, i still get satisfaction ). This is the first I heard of someone lying about people speeding. I'm betting one thing though, if he's doing it to locals he won't last long in that job.
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