The Minor Traffic Accident Involving Senator Sonny McCullough’s Son
Regarding the sensational media-driven issue of Senator Sonny McCullough's son having a minor motor vehicle accident (thankfully, it should be noted that absolutely no injuries whatsoever were incurred)...
Yes, Senator McCullough's son was texting on his cell phone while driving, causing him to be a distracted driver. There's no question about it. The Senator's son readily admitted to that from the beginning.
I'm not going to justify texting while driving. It's very dangerous. However, after a careful review of all of the facts, I'm backing Senator McCullough and his son on this one.
Sure, the easy thing to do would be to jump all over this and call out loudly that political favors and unfair influence must have been exercised on behalf of The Senator's son.
But, that's just not true. I've closely and fairly examined the core issues involved. Senator McCullough also did not try to hide this. He sent me a thorough written explanation about this issue and confronted it head-on. I also had a brief conversation with The Senator yesterday about this.
First, if the subject involved was not the son of a high profiled public, elected official ... We wouldn't even be talking about this.
Second, from the beginning, the Senator's son told the Egg Harbor Township Police Officer the whole truth. He didn't attempt to hide anything. No one would have ever known that he was texting, if he wasn't completely honest about it himself.
In my view, he told the truth because he is The Senator's son and he wanted to do the right thing, knowing full well that this would become a public issue. Most people would not have admitted that they were texting while driving. He did so, because he is the son of a prominent elected official. That's the price that children and other relatives have to pay, through no fault of their own. It just comes with the territory, and, they know it, and, they live with it.
Must people get to make their mistakes in private. The son of a prominent elected official gets to see and hear about his on the radio, television, and, in newspapers... in this case, the vast electronic media sent this story around the country in the past 24 hours.
As hard as it will be for some to accept, I do accept and believe the word of the Police Officer, who said that he used his discretion and decided not to issue a ticket.
The Police Officer has an exemplary record of accomplishment. His honesty and integrity are beyond question in my view, and, in the view of everyone who knows him.
Before you jump off the handle about this, and, refuse to see this as anything but a case of privilege and political favors being granted:
The truth is that many factors go into this imperfect process of a police officer exercising judgment. First, the owner, who is a neighbor of McCullough's -whose car was hit - expressly asked the Police Officer not to write a ticket.
That, along with other factors are given significant consideration when a Police Officer is making his ultimate decision, whether or not to issue a ticket.
The matter has already received disproportionate media coverage, simply because of who it involves. And, not because of the facts surrounding what actually happened, which are very minimus in nature.
The simple facts are that someone crashed into a neighbors car. The Neighbor told the police that he didn't want a ticket issued. Under normal circumstances that would end it right there. No harm, no foul. End of story.
You can fairly make the case, that not only did the Senator's son not receive special treatment, he actually received higher public scrutiny (exactly) because of who he is. On occasions such as this, it's actually a disadvantage and not a privilege to be related to a high-profile elected official.
In an insignificant matter such as this, many times a Police Officer would decide not to issue a ticket.
Sure, some would call it the other way and decide to issue a ticket. That's why it's called Officer's discretion. It means you get to call it as you see it.
In the end, this is really a non-issue. So much so in my mind that I haven't mentioned the first name of Senator McCullough's son in my commentary.