NOLANVILLE — It’s routine for Nolanville Police to ask people they pull over for their Social Security number, but that didn’t sit well with one driver earlier this week.
On Tuesday night Kempner resident Manuel Lopez, 37, was driving through Nolanville on Interstate 14 toward Temple when he was pulled over for speeding after he had crossed into Belton city limits.
“My first question to this officer was why a Nolanville Police officer is pulling me over in Belton. He proceeded to tell me that he was radaring on a bridge over the highway in Nolanville and informed me that I was going 82 in a 65; I was in a 75 mph zone when he pulled me over,” according to Lopez, an area director for a restaurant chain. “When he came back to my vehicle with the citation he asked me for my Social Security number. I told him that I would not give him my Social Security number and he said that he needed to have at least the last four of my number for court purposes.”
Lopez said he ended up giving the officer his “last four.” However, when the officer handed him the printout of the ticket, another person’s ticket also was attached to it.
That ticket had the other driver’s “full SSN, birthdate, address, DL number, license plate number, make and model of her car, and height,” according to Lopez. “Last time I checked identity theft is a much bigger concern than the accused offense of speeding. This officer is a fine example of the problem with the eagerness of trying so hard to be concerned about such a small offense of going 7 (mph) over the speed limit that he did not do his due diligence in ensuring that he gave the correct information to the correct person or to ensuring that he used the minimum amount of information necessary to do his job.”
Nolanville Police Chief Michael Hatton on Thursday said it is routine for Nolanville Police to ask drivers for their Social Security number because the city uses the numbers to track down old citations that need to be paid.
Hatton said officers typically will ask for the last four digits of the Social Security number if drivers are uncomfortable with giving their full number, but drivers will not be forced to give the number to police.
With the other driver’s ticket being attached to Lopez’s citation, Hatton said it’s possible the officer printed out a previous ticket prior to printing out Lopez’s ticket and didn’t notice the two were connected.
“That’s something we will address,” Hatton said.
Lopez and Hatton are planning a meeting next week to talk about the situation.
Speed limit recently reduced
As previously reported, the speed limit on Interstate 14 officially was reduced Jan. 6 from 75 mph to 65 mph between FM 3423 (Indian Trail) in Harker Heights through Nolanville to the overpass at FM 2410 in Belton.
The change occurred due to a I-14 widening project taking place through that area.
The Nolanville City Council approved the speed limit change Oct. 17 at the recommendation of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Construction began Sept. 9 in the area to expand I-14 to three lanes in both directions from Indian Trail in Harker Heights to the top of Nolanville Hill.
The total project — being constructed by J.D. Abrams LP of Austin — spans more than 7 miles and will cost around $45 million, according to TxDOT.
The project is expected to take about two years. Following construction, the speed limit is expected to revert back to 75 mph unless the Nolanville City Council takes action to make the reduction permanent.