Texan, 97, jailed briefly for not paying ticket

/ Source: The Associated Press

Police say they had no choice but to go by the book when they handcuffed a 97-year-old woman and took her to jail for failing to pay a traffic ticket.

Harriette Kelton was arrested last week after officers stopped her for having an expired registration and inspection sticker and realized there was a warrant for her arrest for failing to pay a traffic ticket.

Kelton, a former schoolteacher who has lived in the Dallas suburb for decades, was in police custody for about two hours before her attorney arrived and she was released on her own recognizance.

“Our real beef with this is that no real judgment was displayed or actually carried out in this incident,” said Kelton’s son Dr. Phil Kelton Jr., a plastic reconstructive surgeon with Baylor University Medical Center.

But police spokesman Detective Randy Millican said the officers had no choice but to arrest Kelton’s mother.

“A warrant begins with the words ‘You are hereby commanded to arrest,”’ Millican said. “How do you decide who do you arrest and who you don’t? How about at age 90 but not at 91 and up? How about between 17 and 20?”

Phil Kelton Jr. said his mother lives alone, cooks her own meals, goes out to lunch regularly and is involved in the community. She has good eyesight, he said.

“All of our enthusiasm should be tempered with judgment, and therein lies my problem with this, and basically Mother’s problem with it, too,” he said.

Her other son, David, is a state district judge. He said it would be inappropriate for him to discuss the arrest.