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House candidate denies trying to blunt traffic ticket | News

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House candidate denies trying to blunt traffic ticket

HOLLY SPRINGS, GA-- "What did I do?" the motorist asks a police officer who'd just stopped him for a traffic violation.

It was a routine traffic stop, a motorist in a minvan who'd run a stop sign at a roundabout in a residential neighborhood in Holly Springs.

"You ran a stop sign right there. Didn't even slow down," answers Holly Springs police officer Danny West, pointing at the stop sign.

The police dashcam video shows the driver getting a bit combative.

"It's a roundabout. You don't have to stop," says the motorist, identified by police as Brian Laurens.

"If the roundabout has a stop sign, that's there, you don't have to obey (it)? Is that what you're saying?" retorts Officer West.

Laurens is now embroiled in a special election runoff for a seat in the state legislature, House district 121. "I did a 'California roll' through a stop sign," Laurens said during a phone interview. Asked about the traffic stop, Laurens said: "Should I have just said 'thank you sir, may I have another?' In hindsight, absolutely."

But Laurens didn't do that.

"That's fine. I'll take care of it with your superiors," Laurens is heard on the video telling Officer West.

As West retreated to his patrol car to write the traffic ticket, Laurens tells him he's calling the mayor of Holly Springs. After West returns, Laurens is heard saying: "He told me he was calling the captain to get it taken care of."

Laurens tells us: "I didn't call the mayor to ask about the ticket. I asked about the stop sign." Laurens contends a yield sign is more appropriate for a roundabout, which is located near his home.

Lauren's opponent in the runoff is Scot Turner, who says Laurens was "trying to leverage a personal relationship in that video to try to get out of that ticket." Prior to the release of the video, Turner says much of the race has been about ethics reform. The traffic stop, he says, speaks to that.

"It's part of, unfortunately, the culture that we're trying to fight against. And I hope that the voters will see that and see that they have a better choice" in the special election, Turner said.

The special election is February 5.


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