On the early afternoon of February 16, being a nice day, I decided to walk the four blocks from my home to Homeland Pharmacy to pick up my prescription medication.
As I walked south to the end of East Coffee Ave. and to the well-worn short-cut trail across the railroad tracks, a train approached. I saw it was a rather long train so as I crossed Earl St., I decided to wait for the passing train at the edge of the street at the beginning of the trail.
As I watched the passing train, a Pauls Valley City Police car pulled up to me and stopped. I turned to greet the officer, who I assumed just wanted to have a friendly chat on such a pleasant day.
He asked me if I was just train watching or if I intended to cross the tracks there. A little confused by the question, I answered I was going to cross after the train passed.
The officer advised me that if I continued across the tracks at that location, he would have to consider that a trespass! He further stated I was required to walk the block down to the “public” street crossing to avoid the trespass charge.
With total shock, I pointed to the VERY well worn path that has been used for years as the short-cut access to all the stores and businesses on the south side of the railroad tracks.
The officer just said he had been instructed to enforce the trespass law regarding all pedestrian railroad crossings.
I looked at the officer in total disbelief waiting for him to reveal the joke when it became apparent he was serious.
Many comments entered my mind at that time, all of which would have led to an unpleasant confrontation which I would have undoubtedly been the loser, so I simply started the extra block walk to the “proper” crossing area.
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As a business owner and legislator, I’ve learned that the best government is the kind that doesn’t get in the way when private companies choose to invest in our state to make our lives better and more productive.
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