Join Date: Jan 2008
Man accused of wearing monkey mask while speeding talks - Phoenix Arizona news, breaking news, local news, weather radar, traffic from ABC15 News | ABC15.com
PHOENIX -- The Arizona man accused of speeding through dozens of photo radar zones while wearing a monkey mask issued a denial on his Facebook page Wednesday, but admitted to ABC15 that he owns the mask and has worn it in the past.
"I haven't seen proof it was me," David VonTesmar said. "I don't know it was me."
"I have no reason to believe it was me," he added, "because I would never operate my vehicle in an unsafe manner."
Arizona's Department of Public Safety recently served VonTesmar with 37 speed citations totaling approximately $6,700 in fines, according to spokesperson Bart Graves.
"We've had a lot of frequent fliers who think they can get away with this but (VonTesmar) is the most flagrant," said Graves.
Graves said VonTesmar's citations came from photo radar cameras along the entire Interstate 17 corridor as he drove his 2005 white Subaru sedan.
VonTesmar, according to Graves, also occasionally wore a giraffe or gazelle mask.
"They're in the front seat of the car," said VonTesmar, explaining that the masks were gifts from his friends.
"I tell the other people that drive my car, 'Hey, this is what's going on, and if you're going to drive up I-17 or you know, the ones (photo radar cameras) where I know where they're at,' I said, 'If you see that sign (laughs), do what you want to do.'"
VonTesmar said he would never admit to wearing the mask to hide his face while speeding through a photo radar zone.
"Have I worn the mask? Yes," he said. "I'm not admitting anything. I'm just saying the masks are in the car. I drive the car, but so do other people."
VonTesmar said family members and other co-workers have permission to drive his car when he's not in town.
Graves said investigators have seen VonTesmar put on the masks at his West Valley home on more than one occasion.
"Mr. VonTesmar has total disregard for public safety," said Lt. Steve Harrison with DPS. "Taking the mask on and off and then speeding, he's an accident waiting to happen."
Some of those sharing the road with the masked man are calling for him to cut out the monkey business.
"I think its very unsafe," said Kim Hendrix of Phoenix. "They need to catch that guy. They really need to get him off the road."
Others, however, empathize with the disguised driver.
"I'm not a camera fan myself, I could certainly understand the motivation behind it," said Dave Eldridge of Phoenix.
VonTesmar said he drives his vehicle with the flow of traffic, but he stopped short of saying whether he would approve of someone wearing a mask to hide their face from a photo radar camera if they were traveling only 11 or 12 miles over the speed limit.
"I believe in peaceful, civil disobedience," he said. "I am not endangering anyone in the state of Arizona. I wouldn't do that," he added.
"I wouldn't endanger myself. Nobody likes me more than I do."
On his Facebook page, VonTesmar wrote Wednesday:
As the subject of this article, I would like to tell everyone that there is no proof that I am the driver in all of these photos. Several people that have access to my vehicle and have already called in to the Arizona Republic to state that they also drive this vehicle. I am a safe driver with an outstanding driving record. All those that think I am a blatant reckless and dangerous driver are making an uninformed statement using incomplete facts. I will put my driving history against anyone. I operate my vehicle in a safe fashion and drive with the flow of traffic. There has been no admission of guilt on my part nor have I been convicted of these charges or allegations. I appreciate that this is the United States of America and everyone is entitled to their opinion and can freely state it, however, before you condemn me, please get all the facts and make an informed statement.
According to VonTesmar's Facebook page, he works for Southwest Airlines.
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