Remembering Judge Tucker
By Donald Griffith
Special to the Times
I was in high school, 1951, and playing football. We had practice after school, and Harold Woodley had left his uniform at home. He convinced me to run him by his house after school and let him pick up his uniform. It was well known that Coach Mobley would be on your case if you were even a tiny bit late for practice. Practice time after school did not give you much time to spare, so taking Harold to his house, which was on the east side of Winter Garden, could have made us late for practice.
The quickest way for us to get to his house was from Lakeview to Ninth Street, then to his house. I was running a little faster than usual but still not at breakneck speed. When we got on Ninth Street headed south, I picked up my speed after I crossed the railroad tracks at Heller Bros. Packing House. We were just a very short distance down the road when a siren went off behind me. It was Coca-Cola Bob, a policeman in Winter Garden. We called him that because he formerly was the Coca-Cola deliveryman for Winter Garden before joining the police force. He gave me a ticket for going 45 mph. I tried to talk him out of it by pointing out that the city-limits sign was just north of the railroad tracks. He informed me that if I had been going north, I would not have been in Winter Garden until I passed the railroad tracks but since I was going south on Ninth Street, the city limits didn’t end until you passed Story Road. The Winter Garden city limits ran down the middle of Ninth Street.
Needless to say, we were late and had to run a few extra laps after practice. I did not tell Coach Mobley why we were late, as I knew he did not accept any excuses that were based on our neglect.
Next was my court date in front of Judge Tucker. When my time came to present my case, I told him the story of believing I was outside the city limits because of where the sign was on Ninth Street just north of the railroad tracks. He agreed that it could be a confusing situation but noted that there was a city-limit sign at Story Road. He told me that he had to give me a fine, as it costs money to operate the court, but he would fine me only for court costs plus 25 cents for a total of $5.25. Five-dollar fine and 25 cents to remind me that the speed limit in Winter Garden was 25 mph.
I cannot tell you how many times I have told this story about Judge Tucker.