One woman learned a big lesson the hard way Thursday: never give your fellow driver the finger, especially when that driver is the most powerful member of the sheriff's department - and you are driving with a suspended license! Cheryl Smith was arrested Thursday and cited for driving with a suspended license, and also got a $393 ticket for reckless driving, after she flipped off Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke near 9th and State.
Now, Smith is speaking out, and admitting that sometimes, she can get a little hot-headed behind the wheel.
Smith says it was a look from a fellow driver on I-43 southbound Thursday that provoked her to make a gesture she now regrets. "I jumped from behind him, to the first lane, to the middle lane, and that's when I happened to look over. He had his window down, and he was giving me the 'are you serious?' look. I flipped him off, just so he could see it, and then I put it back, and started driving," Smith said.
It wasn't until Smith saw the flashing lights that she realized the vehicle was an unmarked squad car, and the person she flipped off: Sheriff Clarke! "I even uttered to myself, 'is she giving me the finger?' I mean, she held it up that long, that I could make sure," Sheriff Clarke said.
"He pulled his vehicle in front, and got out, and that's when I was like, I flipped off the police. It's David Clarke I flipped off," Smith said.
"The thing that bothers me is, your average motorist has to put up with that nonsense all the time, from these idiot drivers, and I think she learned a valuable lesson," Sheriff Clarke said.
"I learned a lesson. You never know who is in those tinted-window cars. Never assume it's just a normal person," Smith said.
Smith's license was suspended due to speeding tickets, and she says she knew she shouldn't have been driving, but was running late for class at MATC and the bus wasn't there on time. Smith says she plans to fight th reckless driving citation, and feels it should have been a less expensive speeding ticket instead. Sheriff Clarke predicts she won't fare well in that fight.