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Driver steadfast after police ticket truck covered in lights

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December 11, 2012|By Melissa Scheffler | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — The head of a Wichita charity was ticketed for his Christmas lights.  That's because his display was his truck.  Dave Hill is the CEO of "One Spark Can Start a Fire."

Hill's Christmas spirit is fueled by a gas generator, in the back of a diesel truck, covered in nearly 900 red, blue, and green magnetic, LED lights.

"How could we affect people who really don't get a chance to see the lights?  We'll bring it to them,” Hill said.

For about three weeks now, Wichita drivers have noticed Hill's mobile Christmas display.  But spreading his holiday joy came at price Saturday night, when a Wichita police officer pulled him over.


"He asked me if I knew why I was being pulled over.  And actually I didn't,” Hill said.

Hill got a 90-dollar ticket for his lights.  A city ordinance (see ordinance below) says he can't have red lights showing from the front.  The season's color palette doesn't matter to the state either.

"Red and blue lights are specifically meant for emergency vehicles,” Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Gary Warner said.

Hill says that's not going to stop him from driving his truck.

"If you knew, getting in your car and putting lights on it was going to make a woman with a double mastectomy feel better, would you do it?  Sure you would,” Hill said.

But the Highway Patrol worries about those who might get too caught-up in Hill's radiating ride.

"A vehicle that's this bright, being driven down the road or down a darker street, could very well be distracting,” Trooper Warner said.

"The lights are not bright at all,” Hill said.

He says he will fight this ticket... and maybe more.  Hill doesn't plan to turn off his lights until after the holidays.

There’s another reason behind Hill’s Christmas display.  He’s trying to raise awareness of his charity’s coat drive for the homeless this weekend.

Wichita City Ordinance 11.60.200(b):

Except as provided by Section 11.60.165 and K.S.A. 8-1730, and any amendments thereto, no person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp or device thereon capable of displaying a red light visible from directly in front of the center thereof, nor shall any vehicle or equipment upon any highway have any lamp or device displaying any color of light visible from directly in front of the center thereof except white or amber or any shade of color between white and amber.Driver steadfast after police ticket truck covered in lights

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