WTOC Special Report: The Eggroll Ticket - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

WTOC Special Report: The Eggroll Ticket


We see it all the time. You know the culprits...folks texting - while driving...but how about eating and driving?

A Statesboro woman was ticketed for just that, while she was driving to the Tanger Outlets in Pooler.  

"My daughter was with me, and she was even like, 'Mom, why are we getting pulled over," Ginger Nevil said. 

"It is incredible to me someone would be given the ticket in the first place," said Michael Schiavone.  

Ginger Nevil and her attorney, Michael Schiavone went to Pooler City Court to battle the ticket in question.

"When you see the ticket, there is one word that stands out: "Eggroll." No question about it. The claim was she was eating an eggroll as she was driving," Schiavone said. 

"I even asked the officer, 'Are you really giving me a ticket for eating an eggroll,' and he said, 'Yes mam, your hands are supposed to be on the wheel; 10 and two at all times."

"It's kind of crazy," Ginger said.  

Rather than pay the ticket, Ginger and Schiavone want to fight it, saying she had one hand on the wheel, and was reaching for an eggroll in a box on the dashboard; no swerving; no speeding noted on the ticket.

"I went to put the thing in my mouth and... and I turn to look and I saw the officer, and he hit hard on the brakes and dropped in behind me like I had just robbed a bank, and put on his lights," Ginger said. 

"I didn't see anything that said she was weaving in the road, or anything of that nature, and I think the statute may be unconstitutional; too broad and too vague," Schiavone said. 

"The law is very broad, and is not written to focus on activities. It does not say you cannot eat while you drive, or put on makeup while you drive," said Joseph D'Agostino, Savannah Law School. 

Pooler Police aren't commenting on the case, which now is waiting to be decided by a jury in state court. Savannah Law School Professor, Joseph D'Agostino isn't so quick to dismiss the validity of the eggroll ticket if it saves lives and curbs bad habits. 

"The first reaction may be, 'This is ridiculous to ticket someone for eating while driving,' but as more are given, people may start to think, 'Maybe it's not so strange to ticket for eating while driving," D'Agostino said. 

If you take a look at the numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation on highway fatalities in the last year, you will see the texting and driving numbers going up. There was 1,374 fatalities in 2015, with 1,170 fatalities in 2014. That's an increase of more than 200 fatal accidents. 

"It seems people are driving more carelessly based on statistics," D'Agostino said. "Maybe it sends a message to drivers: "Don't drive while distracted, don't eat while you drive, put on makeup, read a book. If that works, maybe it will save lives. Maybe a jury trial is not a waste of money."

Last year, a man in Cobb County, Georgia had his case dismissed after he was ticketed for eating a hamburger and driving. 

"The fact is, most people are not going spend the time and money to force a jury trial. They are just going to pay the ticket," said D'Agostino. "People need to keep in mind - driving on public roads is not a legal right. It's a privilege licensed by the state that gives the state a lot more legal right to regulate what people do while driving, than if driving were a legal right."

"I've seen a million situations driving down the road where people could be given a ticket," Schiavone said. 

Schiavone plans to argue the meaning of due care, and hopes a jury will sympathize with Ginger over the eggroll violation. 

"If they want to give a ticket, that is the law they throw it under," Ginger said. 

The ticket and the case are working their way to state court. No trial date has been set. We'll keep you posted and let you know what happens when the jury has their verdict.

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