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Your lifestyle, your quirk
There’s driving with the top down, then there’s driving with your top down. At the beginning of August, one Florida woman took a shirt-free, high-speed ride with the sheriff on her tail. She’s not the only one to flee from the authorities on clothing-optional chases, and she probably won’t be the last. Who knew so many women were running from authorities while half-naked?
Mandy Ramsey was speeding in northern Florida as she was on her way to visit her boyfriend (or husband; reports are conflicting as to whether she is married to the man she was aiming to impress). The reason for speeding may have been that she didn’t want anyone to see her outfit, or lack thereof. Police attempted to pull her over for speeding, but she refused to stop. Ramsey led police on a car chase in which she ran a stop sign and hit an oak tree. The officer wasn’t able to keep up with Ramsey’s truck and lost her, but a sheriff’s helicopter eventually found the truck parked behind a mobile home, complete with oak leaves sticking out of the broken passenger-side mirror.
Police spoke with the truck’s registered owner, James Woodard, who said he last drove the vehicle more than two hours beforehand. Most media outlets report that he is Ramsey’s boyfriend, though The Huffington Post noted that Ramsey’s Facebook is under the name Mandy Ramsey Woodard and lists her as married. It was only after Woodard was questioned that Ramsey admitted she had been driving and that she didn’t want to stop because she had been topless. She ditched her upper body clothing so that she could impress her boyfriend (or possibly her husband) when she arrived at home. Her latest Facebook status suggests that “things are not always as they seem,” so perhaps she was wearing a top and just told police that she wasn’t?
Ramsey was arrested for fleeing and eluding police, and she was released on $5,000 bond. Some wonder if she will be able to keep her teaching assistant job with the charges and all of the negative publicity. The big lessons to take from this are to not speed, to cover up what you wouldn’t want police officers to see, to stop when the police want you to stop, and to change your Facebook privacy settings so that The Huffington Post can’t report on your activities and publish a slideshow of photos of you (unless you’re into that).
Ramsey isn’t the first woman to try to escape the law while topless. A woman in Pennsylvania was caught shoplifting at a Pathmark store in violation of her parole. She struggled to escape, even biting a security guard in an attempt to get away. The security guard removed the woman’s shirt in the struggle, but the thief was able to break away and escape from the store. She left her car in the parking lot, so she must have run away topless. As much as a topless woman running down the street must have attracted attention, a video posted on The Huffington Post suggested that no one had turned the woman in, and that she is still at large.
It turns out that driving nearly naked is more common and less illegal than I would have thought. Erin Holdsworth, a 28-year-old woman from Bainsbridge, Ohio, was driving drunk when she ignored police attempts to pull her over. She led them on a chase that reached speeds of 128 miles per hour. The chase went on for miles until her tires were blown out by “stop sticks,” according to Legally Weird. When she emerged from her vehicle, the police car’s dash cam caught her wearing just a see-through tube top, a thong, and wedge heels. She was charged with “drunk driving, refusing a sobriety test, driving with a suspended license, speeding, and reckless driving,” but not public nudity. According to Legally Weird, being inside your car is not typically considered a public place, since most members of the public can’t tell that you’re naked.
So for future reference, just remember that not wearing a shirt isn’t going to get you out of legal trouble unless you’re also very good at running and hiding, like the Pennsylvania woman. So unless you’re somewhere that toplessness is legal and you don’t fear harassment, you’ll probably want to keep your top on.