First driving infraction in 69 years for Wichita woman

By Dale Goter | February 1, 2022

Cathryn Dye and Belle enjoy an outing at Meridian Dog Park.

Cathryn Dye has lived a long life of following the rules and doing the right thing. For 82 years, that included a strict adherence to driving the speed limit. Learning to drive at age 13 on her family’s farm north of Wichita, she never ran afoul of any speed limit, anytime, anywhere.

That included early years as a Catholic nun with the Blessed Virgin Mary Sisters of Charity, followed by a long career as an educator in Canada, Iowa and Illinois.

But to her great disappointment, her streak ended Nov. 4 as she was driving home to Sherwood Glen in north Wichita, traveling the newly reconstructed segment of I-235 between North Broadway and North Meridian.

Much to her surprise, a Highway Patrolman pulled her over and informed her she had been traveling 70 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour work zone.  

Not one to argue, Cathryn accepted the ticket and later learned the fine would be double because it took place in a work zone. In her defense, it should be noted the signage on that stretch of highway has changed several times over the past several months as construction crews completed the I-235 highway improvements across north Wichita.

“I had no idea I was speeding,” she said. “I thought the officer was going to pull over the car that had just passed me.”

 Cathryn didn’t argue with the Highway Patrol Officer or plead her case as a first offender. But she had better luck before the Sedgwick County Traffic Court.  When she cited her perfect driving record, the court officer took notice.

“He said, ‘You were in a work zone and I can’t do anything about that,’” Cathryn recalled.  But he did waive the $110 docket fee, reducing her penalty to $220.

The fine was financially painful, but Cathryn took it all in stride. She good-naturedly shared her story with her buddies at the Meridian Dog Park, a daily stop for her and Belle, her Basset Hound companion.  And when she told her sisters about it, there was no bitterness.

“We just laughed and laughed about it,” she said.

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