- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2020

A Pennsylvania woman was cited Sunday after she went for a leisurely drive despite a statewide stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Anita Shaffer, 19, of York County, said she left her home Sunday evening just to get some air and was making her way back home when she was pulled over by two state troopers for having a taillight out and window tinting that was apparently too dark, The Patriot-News reported.

The officers ended up citing Ms. Shaffer for violating Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order and for breaking the state’s Disease Control and Prevention Act of 1955, The Patriot-News reported. The citation, obtained by the newspaper, said she “failed to abide by the order of the governor and secretary of health issued to control the spread of a communicable disease, requiring the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses as of 20:00 hours on March 19, 2020. To wit, defendant states that she was ‘going for a drive’ after this violation was in effect.”

Ms. Shaffer said the trooper told her he wasn’t going to fine her for the traffic violation or the dark tinting but said she needed to go home and stay home.

The total cost of the ticket is $227.25, The Patriot-News reported. Ms. Shaffer said she thinks the situation is being overblown and that she plans to plead not guilty and take it up before a magisterial district judge.

State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said Ms. Shaffer’s citation is the first of its kind in the state and that police are primarily focused on voluntary compliance.

“Troopers have been encouraged to use contacts with the public as opportunities to reinforce the necessity to abide by stay-at-home orders,” he told The Patriot-News. “Troopers maintain discretion to warn or issue citations and the decision is specific to the facts and circumstances of a particular encounter.”

Conservatives railed against the news on social media, calling the police citation fascistic in nature.

“This is absurd,” Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted Sunday. “To Dem politicians (and it seems to be only Dems doing this, eg Wolf in PA, DeBlasio in NYC, Cooper in NC), protect public safety, but WE DON’T LIVE IN A POLICE STATE. Resist authoritarianism & don’t abuse power. Driving a car alone is not a public health threat.”

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