She’s the mom from Elizabethton, Tennessee whose daughter was brought home by officer Willard Johnson, after he decided it wasn’t safe for a ten year old to ride her bike to school.
While the story hasn’t gotten as much coverage as Beyonce getting knocked up, or Kim Kardashian’s ass, (oops, wedding) it’s gone pretty viral. There are blog posts, news stories, and forum discussions aplenty. Some folks at my old stomping grounds, Bikeforums.net, have taken up a collection to cover legal expenses, should Teresa find herself in a legal battle after officer Johnson “threatened” her with taking the case to Child Protective Services.
I love this. I truly do. You could not script a better story, complete with irony and he-said, she-said. Here is a mom that has taught her daughter that cycling is one of the greatest forms of transportation available. She’s drilled her on bicycle safety and situational awareness. She’s setting an excellent example on so many levels. And then here’s this cop, who thinks that it’s unsafe for a child to ride a bike. Why? Because motorists are a threat to her safety? If that’s the case, get out there each morning and write some tickets! Seriously.
The 2010 Decennial Census indicates Elizabethton has a population of just over 14,000 people. The makes it sound very Mayberry-like, but without Andy Taylor and Barney Fife. Quite the opposite, actually. If you believe the various news articles, the cop and his chief, Matt Bailey, have changed their stories more times than Floyd Landis. And we all know how that turned out.
I’m not going to bother promising any updates, as anyone taking a real interest in this story can find all sorts of info about it on the web. Some of it may even be accurate. And if it gets made into a movie, I expect Julia Roberts to have a part in it somewhere.