Despite the blazing wildfires that engulfed parts of northern Arizona over the weekend, it seems the Arizona Department of Public Safety wasn't going to allow a pesky inferno to stop it from dishing out photo-radar speeding tickets.
As the fires raged, a source who was at the scene of the blaze tells New Times that the DPS parked photo-radar vans along a stretch of Highway 89, which had been closed to everyone but emergency vehicles, the media, and a handful of residents who weren't forced to evacuate their homes.
Our source, who got to the high country on Sunday, says the vans weren't in place until Monday -- well after the road already was closed for public use.
"That's what was so ridiculous -- they set up photo-radar on a road that was already shut down to almost everyone," the source says. "If [the vans] were there on Sunday, we didn't notice them."
Our source says he even saw the cameras snap a few shots of motorists as they passed the vans.
"It just added insult to injury," the source says. "People have to deal with photo-radar when speeding to get to their house that may or may not still be there."
So why would the DPS set up photo-radar vans on a road closed to almost everyone but the media, emergency vehicles, and a few private citizens?
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Payback to a reporter for an unflattering story? To meet a quota by ticketing other state agencies knowing there would be vehicles speeding down the highway in the midst of the emergency (while it's probably not that cynical, you can check out how that whole twisted web of accountability breaks down here.)?
For the moment, we don't know the reason. Calls to DPS were not immediately returned this afternoon.
Regardless, this is just the latest testament as to why photo-radar is about as cool as Urkel.