One of the state troopers assigned to target aggressive drivers saw a familiar name Tuesday morning -- a name Public Safety Director Dick Kirkland would rather not see on Highway Patrol logs.
The unnamed trooper first noticed the red passenger vehicle in his rear-view mirror because it was following his unmarked car too closely as they headed south through Pleasant Valley.
According to Highway Patrol Col. Dave Hosmer, when the trooper didn't get out of the way, the red car passed it on the right doing about 10 miles over the 50 mph speed limit.
That got Cindy Kirkland, the state public safety director's wife, pulled over near Pagni Lane.
The trooper who made the stop is one of four assigned to the Reno-Carson City area to try reduce incidents of aggressive driving, which studies show cause many accidents. But unlike some stopped by the team, Kirkland didn't get a ticket Tuesday.
"It wasn't like she was doing 80. It was 60. She came up a little close to his rear and she passed on the right so he pulled her over and basically gave her a verbal warning because he didn't feel it deserved a citation."
Hosmer said, however, that doesn't mean Kirkland was given special treatment. He said troopers made a total of 15,121 traffic stops in the Reno-Carson City area during August and that 3,341 of those ended with a verbal warning -- more than 20 percent.
He said the aggressive driving team issues tickets when they believe the conduct of the driver was dangerous or that they committed several minor violations in a row. He said they many times let drivers off with a warning.
He said he has a complete description of what happened because the trooper who made the stop recognized whom he had pulled over and wrote a memo explaining what he did and why.
Hosmer said while it's not an excuse, there were a number of frustrated drivers between Reno and Carson City Tuesday because an oil spill near the Mount Rose Highway junction had slowed and tied up traffic headed south. Like many of those other drivers, Kirkland, a lieutenant colonel with the Nevada National Guard, was headed to work in Carson City.