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Douglas County sheriff candidate ticketed for driving 107 mph

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OMAHA -- A candidate for Douglas County sheriff was cited for speeding Saturday morning after an officer clocked him driving 42 mph over the speed limit.

George Merithew was pulled over shortly before 9 a.m. on Interstate 80 near 42nd Street on his way to represent his campaign at the Cinco De Mayo parade in South Omaha. According to the citation, an officer was driving east down I-80 near 50th Street when a blue BMW convertible sped past at what the officer estimated to be 110 mph.

Radar clocked Merithew driving 107 mph in a 65 mph zone before he slowed down, according to the citation. 

The officer noted that Merithew presented his retired Omaha Police Department ID when asked if his documents were up to date and to provide his phone number. Merithew worked as an Omaha police officer for 25 years. 

In a Facebook comment posted by Merithew's campaign account, Merithew said he showed his retired police ID because he was armed and required, under the law, to notify the officer he was armed.

"The traffic officer, whom I've known for years, did not acknowledge that he knew me in any way. I showed him my Retired Police ID as I was armed," he said in the Facebook comment. "I did not show a badge nor did I even take my Police ID out of my wallet. It is common practice and good officer safety to show an officer Police ID during an encounter to let that officer know they are dealing with an armed individual."

He was issued a $300 fine for speeding and released.

Merithew will face Republican Aaron Hanson, a sergeant with the Omaha Police Department, in Tuesday's primary election.

Democrats also have two candidates in their primary: Wayne Hudson, Douglas County chief deputy sheriff, and recently retired Omaha deputy police chief Greg Gonzalez.

The top vote-getter in each party will face off in the November general election. The winner of that race will replace Sheriff Tom Wheeler, who was appointed in November 2020 and is not running for election.

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