A 24-year-old motorist made southwestern Minnesota his own personal drag strip and was pulled over five times on the same night at speeds ranging up to 115 miles per hour, with four of those stops coming within an hour, according to authorities.
“If you feel the need for speed, we feel the need to ticket you … it’s that simple,” read the State Patrol’s posting on Facebook that referenced three of the stops made in the first hour of Feb. 16.
Shedrick Cooper of Sioux Falls offered a range of reasons for why he was zipping around the sparsely populated southwestern corner of the state in his Audi A6, according to the citations filed with courthouses in Lyon, Pipestone and Rock counties.
“Very casual, with no reason for it,” was how trooper Andrew Larsen’s citation characterized Cooper’s demeanor after stopping him at 12:22 a.m. on Hwy. 23 in Eden Township for going 115 mph in a 60 mph zone. “Like it was no big deal.”
Patrol Sgt. Troy Christianson took exception to that attitude, pointing out Wednesday that “speeding is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities on Minnesota roads. In the last five years [2014-2018], 462 people have been killed in speed-related traffic crashes.”
And if Larsen needed more evidence of such disregard for speed limits, the trooper who ticketed and sent Cooper on his way looked up a short time later only to see him “traveling at a high rate of speed,” read his note on the subsequent ticket for going 94 mph. “Driver had no reason for speeding again … and denied the speed.”
Cooper’s tickets spell out the pattern of acceleration on Feb. 15-16 that cut a diagonal 135-mile path south toward Sioux Falls:
• 7:19 p.m.: 70 mph in a 60 mph zone at Hwy. 23 and Lyon County Road in Cottonwood County. Radar had him going 82. Said he was going to a friend’s house.
• 11:55 p.m.: 92 in a 60 mph zone on Hwy. 23 near Holland in Pipestone County. Admitted to speeding, cited for no proof of insurance.
• 12:22 a.m.: 115 in a 60 mph zone on Hwy. 23 in Eden Township in Pipestone County. Thought he was going 70.
• 12:40 a.m.: 94 in a 60 mph zone on Hwy. 23 in Rose Dell Township in Rock County. Trooper noted this was at least the third speeding stop for Cooper that night.
• 12:55 a.m.: 84 in a 60 mph zone on 11th Street in Beaver Creek Township in Rock County. Also cited for no seat belt. Trooper knew of two of the previous stops.
Asked why the troopers who knew of the repeated speeding violations didn’t take Cooper off the road, Christianson said, “There is no state statute allowing us to seize the vehicle when you receive multiple speeding citations.”
Cooper was not available Thursday to explain what all the rush was about.
“Slow down!” was the patrol’s closing admonition on Facebook. “The speed limit is the law, not a suggestion.”