My Highway Patrol Uncle Gave His Wife and President McKay Speeding Tickets

“Court Case Friday”

My grandfather’s brother, “Uncle Ted,” served in the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), rising from trooper to acting colonel/superintendent. He had a reputation for absolute integrity. He firmly believed in equal justice – “No one is above the law.”

He Gave His Wife a Ticket

Trooper Ted gave his wife a traffic ticket. She was so angry, she refused to speak to him for three weeks. Decades later, when I asked her about the ticket, she was still mad.

Ted’s Son

Ted’s son said that it was a nightmare having a Dad who was head of the Utah Highway Patrol. He shared: “Whenever an officer stopped me, he would ask for my license. When the officer saw my last name, he would ask if I were related to Ted. When I confirmed that Ted was my father, the officer would reply, ‘Sorry. I was just going to give you a warning. But your dad said that if any officer gave someone a break because of who they were, that officer would have to answer to him. So, I am going to have to give you a ticket.’”

David O. McKay – the “Lead-Foot Prophet”

David O. McKay, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time, had a reputation for graciousness and spirituality. He also had a reputation for speeding. He liked to drive fast.

Trooper Ted vs. the Prophet

Uncle Ted patrolled the canyons east of Ogden, where David O. McKay lived. It was only a matter of time before the honest cop and the speeding prophet would connect. It was like the proverbial irresistible force colliding with the immovable object.

One day, Officer Ted caught President McKay speeding. Ted flipped on the lights of his patrol car and pulled the prophet over.

I pulled you over because you were speeding,” Ted explained, “license and registration.”  

David O. McKay responded, “Have you forgotten who I am?

“Of course not.” Ted replied. “You are David O. McKay — Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and you were speeding. License and registration.”

The Aftermath

When I met Uncle Ted and confirmed these stories. I said, “I can’t believe you gave the prophet a ticket! It’s good he didn’t hold a grudge.”

Ted responded, “What do you mean he didn’t hold a grudge? His secretary telephoned me a few days later and said that President McKay wanted to see me in his office in Salt Lake the following week.”

Ted continued, “As I walked into Church headquarters, a couple of General Authorities recognized me and teased, ‘I hear you gave the Prophet a ticket.’ What do you mean, he didn’t hold a grudge? He sat me down in his office and called me to serve as Bishop.”

Sometimes, integrity comes at a cost.

(Sources: London family folklore; Personal interview with Uncle Ted and his wife and son; David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism,” by G. Prince and Wm. Wright, University of Utah Press, 2005, p. 19, 25, “Ted London, Former UHP Official Dies,” Deseret News, 20 Apr 1990.)

(www.londonedition.net)

(A personal favorite, and popular court case. Initially posted over 3 years ago, but worth repeating.)

2 thoughts on “My Highway Patrol Uncle Gave His Wife and President McKay Speeding Tickets

  1. I am reading your stories to my family as we are driving down the road on a road trip. We are loving your blog! More stories please! We have read all the entries through August 18. This one is my favorite so far.

    Liked by 1 person

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