Officer Tim Petrachek (photo by Steve Amster)
  • Officer Tim Petrachek (photo by Steve Amster)
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Encinitas business owner Steve Amster is pissed again. Previously, he has fought with local governments and their code-enforcement regulations. But his July 2012 run-in with a sheriff’s motorcycle officer — when he asked the officer to leave his bagel shop’s parking lot — may have caught up with him.

Amster says at the time of the 2012 incident, the officer said, “I’ll get you down the road.” On August 14 at 6:10 a.m., Amster says deputy Tim Petrachek did just that.

While Amster was pulling out of the 76 station across the street from his bagel shop on El Camino Real, he saw the longtime motorcycle officer pass by, turning left onto El Camino Real. Officer Petrachek was waiting in Amster’s parking lot off El Camino Real when Amster pulled in.

According to Amster, Deputy Petrachek immediately asked for his license and registration. The officer wrote Amster two “fix-it” violations for a non-visible license plate and modified front turn signals on Amster’s Honda motorcycle. Amster claims his license plate is angled toward the rear of the seat but is visible to anyone who looks at it. He also said he installed after-market LED turn signals so his bike’s lights would be brighter and more safe.

“This is clear harassment,” says Amster. “He is a terrorist to the community, just making revenue for the city.”

Amster met with Sgt. Tony O’Boyle, Officer Petrachek’s superior. Amster said that just prior to receiving the ticket, he saw the officer run a red light at the corner of El Camino Real and Via Molina, then make an illegal U-turn over a double yellow line before entering Amster’s parking lot against the directional exit arrow.

Sgt. O’Boyle said that he teaches his officers not to write “attitude tickets” — looking for a violations based solely on a driver's bad attitude. But, based on his one-hour meeting with Amster, Sgt. O’Boyle believes that someone with an attitude, like perhaps what Amster’s may have been the morning of the incident, probably led to him not walking away with just a warning. Amster plans to take the case to trial.

Disclosure: I first met Officer Petrachek “formally” in 1999 while speeding 62 MPH in a 45 MPH zone along Coast Hwy. 101. Unbeknownst to me, Petrachek wrote the ticket “soft” — violating the Basic Speed Law (never drive faster than safe) — vs. 17 MPH over the speed limit. The difference saved me about $100 in court fines and fees.

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