Family given traffic tickets for driving in procession

Published 10:35 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Members of a local family said they were served traffic violations for driving through traffic lights while in a funeral procession.

In early May, the McLean family and friends reflected on the life of Sybil McLean, a beloved grandmother, mother and sister. Nearly a month later, many service attendees were notified of traffic violations for participating in the funeral precession.

“The camera is running 24/7. So when everybody runs the light, it takes the picture,” said SPD chief John Brock. “It can’t tell if there’s a funeral or not. All the camera knows is that there is somebody running the lights.”

Audria is upset because many of those in attendance at Sybil’s funeral traveled from as far as Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and other areas. Many of them now have $60 traffic violations.

The funeral procession for Sybil traveled down Highland Avenue to Bell Road. From there, the group followed Medical Center Parkway down to the cemetery. Audria McLean, Sybil’s daughter in law, said the cameras at Highland Avenue and Bell Road were the ones that ticketed the procession.

“My opinion is that the city of Selma owes the family an apology,” Audria said. “My feeling is that no family should ever be hit with traffic violations when they are led by a police escort.”

Brock said this isn’t the first time traffic tickets have been sent to people traveling in a funeral procession. He said the department usually stops these tickets from being sent out, but occasionally a few slip through the cracks.

He said anyone that gets a ticket while in a funeral procession should contact the funeral home. From there, the funeral home will notify police and the ticket will be dismissed.

“Usually the police officer in charge of issuing the citations, reviewing the citations, can tell there is a funeral procession and we dismiss it before it gets sent out,” Brock said.

“We look for it, but not everything is perfect. There’s no on or off switch for these cameras.”

He said the camera at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Bell Road is one of the worst offenders when it comes to this issue.

“A death [of a loved one] is a low time in a person’s life,” Audria said. “They should not be harassed with half of the family with being hit by a traffic violation.”