President Grant's Speeding Tickets

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
8,294
Location
Central Massachusetts
Grant loved speed, and also to drive his own carriage. While President, he was stopped four times and given citations for speeding in Washington. On the third occasion, African-American Metropolitan Police officer William West flagged him down:

“Mister President,” said West, “I want to tell you that you were violating the law by driving at reckless speed. Your fast driving, sir, has set the example for a lot of other gentlemen. It is endangering the lives of the people who have to cross the street in this locality. Only this evening a lady was knocked down by one of the racing teams.” Duly reprimanded, Grant apologized and promised that it wouldn’t happen again.

Less than twenty-four hours later, it did.

West again caught the Commander in Chief flying at breakneck speed over the same stretch of road. “Do you think, officer, that I was violating the speed laws?” asked Grant.

“I certainly do, Mr. President,” replied West. After reminding Grant of his broken vow, he added, “I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the nation’s chief executive, but my duty is plain, sir: I shall have to place you under arrest!”
Once at the station, the police began to wonder whether they had the authority to arrest a sitting President. But, amidst further apologies, Grant agreed to pay the standard $5 fine, and walked back to the White House ... his team and carriage were impounded.

According to one account:

There were no hard feelings on either man's part. A fellow horse-lover, West ultimately befriended the president. The pair would often get together and, during one of their many chats, the lawman made an awkward admission: before joining the force, he’d been a speed demon himself.
https://ghostsofdc.org/2014/03/04/ulysses-grant-arrested-speeding/
http://mentalfloss.com/article/65855/cop-who-gave-ulysses-s-grant-speeding-ticket
http://dcist.com/2012/10/dc_police_once_gave_the_president_a.php
 
Last edited:

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
10,441
Was President Grant driving a cherry red carriage? I ask only partially in jest. There are things about some modes of transportation that just flag them for attention.

Maybe the President had a flag on his carriage or some such identifier. It would be cool to know. And, of course, the local cops were going to protect him and keep him on a leash to the extent of their ability. To think that Officer West was a black man is even sweeter. Grant wouldn't have cared about the color of West's skin. It's all just too perfect.
 

Borderruffian

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
4,561
Location
Livingston Tn
Was President Grant driving a cherry red carriage? I ask only partially in jest. There are things about some modes of transportation that just flag them for attention.

Maybe the President had a flag on his carriage or some such identifier. It would be cool to know. And, of course, the local cops were going to protect him and keep him on a leash to the extent of their ability. To think that Officer West was a black man is even sweeter. Grant wouldn't have cared about the color of West's skin. It's all just too perfect.
Bet he was runnin a straight pipes with a cherry bomb.......it'll always get you attention.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top