What sitting US President was arrested for speeding while in office?
Ulysess S. Grant – 1872 in Washington D.C.
The day before Grant’s arrest a woman with a 6-year-old child had been seriously injured at West’s corner by a driver of fast horses. washington, after a series of such accidents, was conducting the same campaign against “reckless driving” of horses that modern metropolitan cities are engaging in today to check auto speeding. Grant had chosen the wrong time to dash by the corner of 13th and M Sts. his team thundering along at a furious pace. West shouted, the president’s team was brought to a standstill, and West approached him. “Well, officer, what do you want with me?” Grant asked.
“Mr. President,” was the reply, ” I want to tell you that you were violating the law by driving at reckless speed. Your fast driving, sir, has set the example for a lot of other gentlemen. It is endangering the lives of the people who have to cross the street in this locality. Only this evening a lady was knocked down by one of the racing teams.”
“I am very sorry,” said President Grant, “and I’ll promise that hereafter I will hold my team down to the regulation speed. Is the lady who was run down seriously hurt?”
But the very next day, however, the good intentions were forgotten, and General Grant came racing down 13th St. fast as ever. When hailed, he turned into M St. and was almost at 14th before he could stop. As West approached, Grant said, “Do you think, officer, that I was violating the speed laws?”
“I certainly do, Mr. President,” answered West, not a bit softened by the president’s query. “I cautioned you yesterday, Mr. President, about fast driving, and you said, sir, that it would not occur again. I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the nation’s chief executive, but my duty is plain, sir: I shall have to place you under arrest!”
From The Washington Post, written by J. LeCount Chestnut on November 7th, 1925.
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