Sumner council member Matt Richardson cited for speeding, reckless driving

Sumner City Councilmember Matt Richardson was stopped and cited in early August for racing another driver at 77 mph in a 35 mph speed zone along Puyallup’s South Meridian.

He was charged with speeding and reckless driving, which is a criminal infraction.

Puyallup Municipal Court documents indicate that Richardson was ordered to pay $150 in monthly payments of $50 beginning Sept. 12, to complete a defensive driving course and work 10 hours of community service, all within 180 days. Richardson also must maintain law-abiding behavior.

The maximum sentence for one count of reckless driving is 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine and the minimum sentence is a 30-day license revocation.

Richardson’s court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 10, 2011. At that point, if all of his stipulations are met, the case will be dismissed.

Richardson was also required to pay $421 for the speeding violation.

According to a Puyallup police report, Richardson, who is also running for the 31st District senate seat, and the other driver were heading south on South Meridian when they passed by Puyallup Police Sgt. Bob Thompson. The officer was tracking drivers’ speed along the 1800 block of South Meridian.

When Richardson and the other driver didn’t slow down, Thompson radioed to a second officer who was farther down the road. Once pulled over at the intersection of 23rd Avenue and South Meridian, the police report states, Richardson told the officer “that other guy cut me off.”

Thompson asked Richardson if that was a “reason to travel at double the posted speed limit” and Richardson said no. Richardson was then cited for reckless driving and speeding and released.

Richardson said he was rushing to meet his wife, who had called him to alert him that their 3-year-old son was in the hospital, though there is no mention of that in the police report.

Steve Kirkelie, Puyallup’s senior assistant city attorney, said an e-mail from Richardson’s attorney about the visit to the emergency room was sent to the city on Aug. 4, a few days after the citation and more than a week before Richardson appeared in court.

“We demonstrated to them that I was going to the emergency room to get to my son,” Richardson said.

Kirkelie said the content of the e-mail was known at Richardson’s court date and he is still expected to fulfill his sentence.