Moral Low Ground


New Hampshire Dad Not Guilty of Speeding Pregnant Wife to Hospital

A good enough excuse for speeding?

John Coughlin of Londonderry, New Hampshire did what probably any man whose wife goes into labor would do. He loaded her in his car and raced to the hospital. While en route, Coughlin noticed the flashing blue lights of a state trooper interceptor in his rear-view mirror. He dialed 911 and explained that Angela, his wife, was in labor and that they were going to the hospital. The state trooper escorted them there, their son Kyle was born six minutes later, and the trooper congratulated the proud papa. Then he wrote him a ticket for going 102 mph (164 km/h) in a 55 mph (89 km/h) zone.

“I didn’t realize how fast I was going until he gave me the ticket,” Coughlin, age 32, recalled on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Wife and new mom Angela said she was shocked when she learned about the ticket. “I thought it would get thrown out,” she said.

But it wasn’t thrown out. The young family faced a $500 fine and the loss of John’s driver’s license. The couple attracted national attention as they fought the ticket, a citation New Hampshire State Police defended. State troopers point out that Coughlin placed his wife, his unborn child, himself and the public in danger with his nearly double-the-speed-limit driving.

In the end, the Coughlins emerged victorious. Judge Jay Boynton of the Manchester District Court found John not guilty, ruling that the Kyle’s imminent birth justified his high-speed driving.

“We are all happy,” Mark Stevens, the couple’s attorney, told the North Andover Eagle-Tribune. “They are glad to put this behind them.”

Couple In labor receives speeding ticket:

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