From the Archives: San Diego speeders get jail time in 1921

One hundred years ago San Diego police arrested 171 people during a campaign against reckless drivers. In 1921, under the state motor vehicle act it was unlawful to exceed 35 miles per hour on highways, 20 miles per hour in residential areas and 15 miles per hour in business districts

From The San Diego Union, Saturday, Aug. 21, 1921:

171 Autoists Under Arrest; Jail Terms Await Speeders

Alleged Traffic Law Violators Will Be Ushered Into Police court This Morning as Result of Campaign Against Reckless or Negligent Drivers; Several Women in List. Read also : COVID vaccine appointments available across San Diego County despite supply concerns.

Complaints were sworn to yesterday for 171 alleged violators of the traffic laws, who will be brought into police court this morning and punished if they are found guilty.

the arrest are the result of a police drive against negligent or reckless automobile drivers to enforce every phase of the traffic laws for the protection of the public.

Hardly a day passes but the report sheet at the police station shows from six to a dozen accidents, with one or more persons receiving minor injuries and, too often, the injuries are of a serious nature. Most of these accidents, say the police, would have been avoided by a proper regard for traffic regulations; and the wonder is that the damage so often is confined to bent automobile fenders or smashed radiators.

That the jail sentences, until midnight, which Police Judge Ed. L. Davin imposed last Saturday morning to drivers who were caught speeding at Broadway and Sixteenth street, have proved an inestimable benefit to pedestrians at that point is shown by the fact that only two men were caught speeding there in the last week. The complaints give the names of these two men as W.C. Cannon and K. Dublin.


“Speeders in the down town districts,” said Judge Davin yesterday, “or in other dangerous places, can expect jail sentences, and if there is an element of reckless driving included in their offense they will be sent to jail for a longer period than a few hours.”

Most of the arrest that were made in the last week were for driving without a license or a proper permit. Next in order came offenders against the headlight law. Besides the two alleged speeders mentioned, only one man is charged with exceeding the limit. He gave his name as S. Bickerton, and he was arrested on India street. One reckless driving case, that of L. Hancock, who was arrested on India street, is also expected to come before the court.

“Proper headlights are of vast importance in avoiding accidents,” said Georg T. Gilroy, state license inspector, who is co-operating actively with the police in making arrest.

“There is hardly a day that we are not called up and asked, ‘Why don’t you do something? I got run off the road last night.’ Drivers meeting flaring headlights are blinded by the glare and can’t tell which way to turn, and the offender invariably pleads ignorance of the law.


“Then it is important that owners of cars should have their permits, signed by themselves, posted in their car as a protection against theft. It is easy for an auto thief to forge a name to a fake permit and that makes it so much harder for the police to catch him. They have not the owner’s signature to compare with his. About the first thing that is done when a suspected auto thief is arrested is to compare his signature with that on the permit to detect forgery. Dealers doe the same thing when a car is offered them for sale.

The following persons have been cited to appear in police court this morning for driving with illegal headlights: Josephine White, R. Wilson, P. Blanken, G. Martin, S.P. Wood, A.P. Caballaro, L. Swanson, O.E. Newman, H. Rogers, R. Gustaffson, G.E. Carter, E.B. Hare, W.B. Jones, G.J. Horton, M.C. McLean, Fred Tye, W.F. Fulkerson, W.H. Dupee, C. Janas, J. Klicked, H. Nolan, J. Farra, C Braxavon, Mrs. V. Creamer, C.C. Ferrenz, M. Grubir, J.S. Slayton, J.Davis, J.A. Liggett, A.J. Murphy, L. Allen, O.G. Dobbs, F. Maddox, E.F. Stewart, R.D. Brown, L.C. Wilkes, L.C. Schrung, jr., J.A. Mason, A.M. Waltrick.

The following had no permits nor operator’s licenses: E.E. Barlow, B. Myers, Q.R. Telzer, F.W. Stebbling, B.H. Thompson, William Jones, N.A. Hogg, H.W. Turner, J.E. Brown, Mrs. R.G. Buckley, H.E. Moore, P.M. Canfield, C.A. Sherman, P.F. O’Rourke, m.E. Keller, L. Koehler, Ben Rezas, Simon R. Arbalo, Herbert Coates, G.A. Leonard, J.P. Karick, Mrs. W.K. Chitwood, G.L. McClintock, J.A. Bate, O.T. Harding, R.E. Parker, R.C.R. Gresser, R. Bruce, M.S. Stewart, A. Elsterblon, H. Rasbe, R.A. Thompson, J.E. Calstle, E.S. Kenny, P.C. Dunning, P. Nesto, E. Wilson, J. Bunch, D Shields, N. McHale, N. Naylor, L.M. Keller, E. Rowe, E. Grainger, G. Mitchell, N.R. Benton, R. Chase, F. A Goose, G. Parmenter, Mrs. B. A. Clint, R. Blankenbury, J.A. McGraw, R.E. Bail, J. Myensch, L.H. Provost, E.J. Page, R.A Gould, Mrs. E.K. Hughes, E.H. Jones, P. Wampler, A.B. Taran, H.B. Tellyer, H. F. Caldwell, E. Horsch, Dr. Lischner, Miss R. Lischner, E. Clifton, R. Green, Dr. J.A. Parks, Fred Ponsard, jr., James Ries, Ed Swartz, L.B. Tyson, H.R. White, Tony Jarvis, W.M. Harrah, H.K. Huffman, Lieut. E.M. Jones, W.S. Kayes, H.O. Lohr, C.B. Lynch, William McClennaed, J. Morrow, Tom Olson, A.C. Albright, C. Biggerstaff, Art Boden, E.L. Carperner, Row W. Eaton, Ralph Sherick, A. C. Engler, A. rogan, L.C. Henneman, Joe Grover Carter, J.G. Welch, A. Hulse, R. Wlum, H. Yarnell, Pete Thompson, will Fish, H.W. Seaman, W. Clancy, W. Osborne, P. Bird, L.J. Johnson, L.J. Cresswell.

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