Court loss leads to moral victory

A questionably placed stop sign leads to a trial...and a change.

CONWAY, Ark. (KATV) - Moral victories often come at a price.

A recent such win in Faulkner County came with a price tag that tops $5,000.

Tonight, we explain why a loss in court created a win for the community.

Jody Sheppard and her daughter, Caitlin, really didn't think they were going to lose.

And after they did, they really didn't see much chance for a positive outcome.

When 22-year-old Caitlin Simonetta approached this Conway intersection back in July, there was a stop sign, but she says she never saw it primarily because it was on the left.

Almost all stop signs motorists approach are on the right.

In fact, law requires that "the stop or yield sign shall be installed on the near side of the intersection on the right-hand side of the approach to which it applies."

"From my understanding, there was a trial in front of District Court Judge Reynolds,” says Conway City Attorney Charles Clawson. “He listened to all the evidence and testimony that was presented by us and Ms. Simonetta. And she found that she was in violation of the statute and issued her a fine."

"We were disappointed...greatly disappointed that they found her guilty because I feel like the laws were clearly stated,” says Jody Sheppard, Caitlin’s mother. “There was no gray area to rule about. But it was a little bit shocking two weeks later driving up and finding that they had fixed it."

Caitlin was found guilty of running a stop sign and causing an accident.

There are now two stop signs - the old one on the left and a new one on the right.

"How could I be guilty of running a stop sign that technically according to that manual didn't apply to me," says Simonetta.

"Because it was on the left side and not on the right?"

"Yeah," replies Simonetta.

The women agree that the legal fees and fines are worth it if safety has been improved.

When issuing his guilty ruling Judge David Reynolds said he expected an appeal.

But Caitlin and her mother say that won't be necessary now that a new stop sign has been installed.

Air date: January 25th, 2018

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