CLEVELAND, Ohio — Annam Ighneim never thought stopping to help two elderly people the day before Thanksgiving would land her inside a Cleveland Municipal Courtroom facing an impeding traffic charge.
“I am not like a bad woman, who stops traffic,” Ighneim told the judge Tuesday.
Ighneim and her attorney, Paul Cristallo, told visiting Judge Mable Jasper that she received the ticket Nov. 27 after stopping on Lorain to help an elderly couple get inside a car.
She said a car had stopped in front of her to give the couple a ride. They were struggling getting inside the vehicle, so her passenger got out to help.
“We were helping to put people inside the car. They were very old and freezing,” Ighneim said. “I told Amy to give them a few bucks I had left over so they could get something to eat.”
But Cleveland Patrol Officer Matthew Slatkovsky said by stopping her vehicle, Ighneim backed up traffic on a very busy roadway.
“I was in the right hand line, light was green, traffic did not move and someone in front of me honked their horn,” Statkovsky said.
Ighneim said she couldn’t move until the car in front of her started driving. The officer said he didn’t see another car blocking Ighneim’s vehicle.
He testified he was “six to seven” cars behind her’s when the traffic was first backed up.
After hearing all the evidence, the judge found Ighneim not guilty, saying she had reasonable doubt that Ighneim impeded traffic. The decision brought a round of applause from the crowded courtroom.
Ighneim said she is thankful for the judge’s decision and has no resentment toward the officer.
“I support, policemen, teachers, everybody, and I wish him luck with his family,” Ighneim said.
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