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Officer fined in speeding case

The Columbus police captain who was ticketed in October for driving 103 mph in a 65 mph zone, then missed his first appearance hearing and was cited for contempt of court, appeared in Columbus Recorder's Court this morning.

Capt. J.D. Hawk pleaded no contest at this morning's 9 a.m. hearing to the speeding charge and not guilty to the contempt charge. Judge Michael Cielinski accepted Hawk's no contest plea on the speeding charge, but still ordered him to serve 20 days probation. The judge also ordered the Patrol Services Division supervisor to pay $430 on the contempt charge.

Hawk entered the pleas to Cielinski through his attorney Frank Martin who told the judge that his client was speeding in his personal vehicle on Manchester Expressway to get to his 13-year-old daughter the afternoon of Oct. 23, 2007. Hawk said his daughter called him and was "hysterical" because the fire alarm at home had gone off. Hawk was off duty at the time.

"I was acting as a father and not really thinking," Hawk said.

The contempt charge came after Hawk failed to show up for his first appearance hearing at 9 a.m. on Dec. 5. Hawk testified that a female police officer had told him not to come to court. The police officer, standing beside Hawk, testified that she told Hawk not to come to court because Trooper First Class J.D. Perry, who had ticketed Hawk, told her Hawk did not have to come to court.

To this testimony, Perry shook his head no.

The female officer also told Cielinski she had called and spoken to two Recorder's Court clerks who had confirmed that Hawk was not needed in court on Dec. 5.

Cielinski became agitated when she said this and scolded both Hawk and the testifying female officer.

"You've been an officer long enough to know that you can't make those decisions," the judge told Hawk. "You get another ticket, you better be in court."

Turning to look at the female officer, dressed in plain clothes, Cielinski said, "The calls to the clerks office should have never been made."

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