By Edward Marshall
RANSON, W.Va. — Life tends to move just a little bit faster for most people during the holidays.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, if you find yourself literally breaking the speed limit in the city of Ranson, an innovative program will let you make recompense without having to face a judge or pay a fine.
Instead, during the Slow Down for The Holidays program, if you are pulled over for speeding by the Ranson Police Department, you can see your speeding ticket dismissed if you agree to donate a gift to a toy drive overseen by the department every year.
The program, which has the approval of the Ranson City Council, started about 10 years ago.
Lt. Todd Lutman said that if someone gets a speeding ticket in the city in the days leading up the Christmas holiday, they can choose three different ways to resolve it.
Motorists can choose to contest the citation in court, choose not to contest it and pay a fine and accept the points on their license, or they can simply buy a Christmas gift to donate to the program.
“They have to purchase a new gift and bring that in for a specific aged child, and the value has to be at least $40. They have to bring the receipt in with the gift, and then their citation is dismissed. Nothing says that they have to participate in the program; it’s just there if they want to,” Lutman said.
Officers with the Ranson Police Department accumulate names of deserving children throughout the year and the presents are distributed a couple of days before Christmas to their parents.
“We’ll provide them with wrapping paper and everything so that the kids know that Santa Claus is the one who brought those gifts and not the Ranson Police Department,” Lutman said.
The program usually lasts for about three weeks and begins around Thanksgiving and continues until about the second or third week of December. Even if someone has not received a speeding ticket, they can still choose to donate to the program. The gift drive will benefit about 26 children this year.
“It’s been great. There’s been times where people have exceeded the $40 spending limit and there have been people who have brought in hundreds of dollars worth of gifts just because they believed in the program,” Lutman said…