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He'll serve as human traffic sign

A man convicted after street racing will wear a sandwich board to deter other speed demons.

Associated Press
Published March 2, 2005

ORLANDO - If drivers can't read Erik Rivera's sign, they might be going too fast.

Rivera used to speed and street race late at night through south Orange County. Now he will go at a slower pace - walking - wearing a sandwich board sign: "Don't Street Race. I Lost my Drivers License for 3 Years."

Orange Circuit Judge John H. Adams Sr. ordered Rivera, 24, of Kissimmee, to wear the sign as a deterrent to other racers.

Rivera was arrested in June and convicted in November of fleeing and eluding deputies and resisting law enforcement without violence.

Along with losing his license and being placed on three years' probation, he has to wear the sign where he used to race: the Waterbridge Shopping Center parking lot near the Florida Mall.

Rivera will wear the two-sided 2- by 3-foot sign for 50 consecutive Sundays from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. He must also pay for the sign - about $372 - and attend driving school.

"It's them (other racers) that I want to see the sign," Adams told Rivera Monday. "We're going to have somebody out there to make sure you're there."

"Not a problem," said Rivera, who earlier emphasized that he didn't want to spend more time in jail. He had spent 107 days at the Orange County Jail. He was released Monday. Rivera's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Aramis Donell, said her client had some initial reservations about the sign.

"There is a level of humiliation. But it beats going to the Department of Corrections," Donell said.

Adams said Rivera had better not get caught driving during the next three years. If he does, the judge said, "you'll come back, and I'll lock you up."

Not everyone viewed the sentence as helpful. "It's more of a public humiliation than a public service," said Kimberly Lavender, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, Florida, in Miami. "... Wouldn't it serve the community better if this person was doing community service in a hospital?"

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

[Last modified March 2, 2005, 00:46:17]

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