ONLY ON 12: Marshal Caldwell speaks about speeding ticket

By Jeff Ferrell - bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) Questions swirl around Shreveport City Marshal Charlie Caldwell after a Louisiana state trooper said he clocked Caldwell driving 111-miles an hour.  The primary question:  Is it a major breech of the public trust or just a traffic ticket?

Shreveport City Marshal Charlie Caldwell admitted being a bit surprised at all the attention his traffic ticket has generated.  But, he's no stranger to politics.  So, he's also admitted wrongdoing and just wants to put this episode behind him.

We caught up with Caldwell outside a Shreveport restaurant Thursday night.  He told us, "I am guilty as charged and I want to commend that trooper for doing his job.  He did a great job."  Caldwell then recalled, "I was on my way home yes, visiting friends in the Monroe and Haughton area."

Caldwell went on to describe getting off track and lost while taking short cuts driving home.  He said he wanted to avoid Interstate-20 construction on that quiet Sunday morning about 6:30 a.m., July 26th.  Caldwell continued, "got back on the interstate and said, 'hey, I'm headin' home, gotta go.'"  A short time later, the state trooper pulled him over along I-20 inside Bossier City limits.

Bossier and Webster Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin explained, "once you're over a hundred miles an hour the judges here have decided it's a mandatory court appearance as it would be for other types of misdemeanor offenses."

It turns out, Shreveport's City Marshal was then asked by the trooper to take part in a field sobriety test, which he passed.  As for the question of probable cause for such a test, Marvin responded, "the speed would probably be, alone would be enough to cause a police officer to want to know if you're okay."

One law enforcement source told me, in such cases elected officials are typically held to a higher standard, something Marshal Caldwell said he understands.  "I just want to let the public know, and my voters know that I'm a grown man and I'm going to own up to my responsibility."

Caldwell estimated that traffic ticket could cost him about 250-dollars.  "I'm gonna have to pay for what I've done of course.  And, when he administers that fine to me I'm going to pay it, hoping that he would allow me to go to some driving school to get it off my record."

Caldwell will head to a Bossier Parish courtroom on September 9th, on a single charge of speeding.  The city marshal also made a point of telling me this is his first traffic ticket in 25-years.

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