Va. man pulled over in funeral procession, misses burial

WASHINGTON – A Virginia man is furious after he was pulled over in Alexandria while driving in a funeral procession. He missed his great-grandmother’s burial because of the delay, his family says.

Now Alexandria police are reviewing the stop.

With their hazard and headlights on, Heather Spinner and her husband were on Duke Street driving to the Mount Comfort Cemetery on June 12 when they noticed red and blue flashing lights in the rear-view mirror.

“My brother-in-law behind us was actually pulled over for running a red light,” Spinner says.

Both her husband and brother-in-law, R.G. Spinner, removed their yellow funeral procession tags from the rear-view mirrors and waved them out the window, hoping the officer would let them continue driving, she says.

But after the fact, Alexandria police Sgt. Seth Weinstein told Spinner her brother-in-law’s behavior escalated the consequences of the traffic stop.

R.G. Spinner now has a summons to appear in court June 18.

“When someone is burying a family member, they’re very raw and emotional. At what point do you give that as much consideration as you do the fact that the person approaching that person is a law enforcement officer?” Spinner asks.

She says her family is disappointed and upset. She has filed a formal complaint with the Alexandria Police department.

“We missed the burial. I mean my husband and brother-in-law were pallbearers … By the time we got to the cemetery, it had already happened. So there’s nothing we can do to get that back at this point,” Spinner says.

The responding officer’s supervisors are reviewing red light tape at the intersection Spinner is accused of running through and will determine if he was in the wrong or the violation stands, says Ashley Hildebrandt with Alexandria Police.

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