A fender-bender causing minimal damage and no injuries created controversy on the Marshall Democrat-News forum after it was discovered that one of the drivers was an off-duty Missouri Highway Patrolman.
The accident occurred at 5:23 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the corner of Salt Pond Avenue and East Vest Street. According to the police report the damage consisted of only paint transfer on the front left corner of the trooper's car and paint transfer on the left rear corner of the other person's vehicle.
According to report information, the trooper admitted the accident was his fault and stated that he failed to stop at the intersection.
The controversy that is driving the story in the forum revolves around whether or not the trooper received a ticket and if that choice was due to favoritism or professional courtesy.
Marshall Police Chief Mike Donnell said the decision on whether or not to issue a ticket is at the officer's discretion.
"We don't have a policy of writing or not writing tickets at the scene of an accident," Donnell said.
A mandatory ticket policy would lead to a number of bad tickets, he said. "Sometimes an accident is just an accident."
The police officer's first responsibility is handling the scene of the accident -- making sure the people needing medical attention get treated and clearing the flow of traffic, Donnell said.
"Quite frequently, we don't write tickets at accident scenes," he said. "When a properly licensed and insured driver admits the accident was his fault and knows what he did wrong, it may not make sense to pile on something else at that moment."
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