Road rage can be a scary thing, and depending on where you live, you could encounter more of it than the average bear. Texas beauty pageant winner, Carmen Ponder, was recently on the receiving end of one such incident in her home town of Commerce, Texas, but it was the aftermath of the situation that’s now making national news, as the beauty queen became the target of a questionable arrest.
According to Ponder, who had embarked on a shopping trip to Walmart, she noticed that a car ahead of her was driving rather erratically. Believing it to be a drunk driver, the Miss Black Texas 2016 winner and pre-law student changed lanes to bypass the car. When she reached her destination and parked, she claims a male passenger got out and began to verbally assault her, saying that he was teaching his 14-year-old daughter how to drive. When ignoring the man didn’t seem to work, Ponder turned around to tell him “It’s illegal.” From there, things seemed to take a turn for the worse, with the man yelling a racial epithet at her.
After trying to shrug off the incident and heading inside to get on with her shopping, the 23-year-old then says that upon returning outside to her car, she was “charged” by a number of people, with one showing her a police badge and informing her that the man she originally had the altercation with was the chief of police. She went on to say that she was instructed to apologize and when she refused, the officer who showed her his badge then detained her until more police arrived on the scene.
The story gets a bit muddled at this point, as the City of Commerce insists that police chief Kerry Crews was not involved in the original dispute, but that he became involved after he had been approached by a bystander in the store during the incident (he was off duty at the time).
The news release says that Ponder “failed to comply with [Crews’] requests, and “[evaded] arrest or detention,” subsequently spending 24 hours in jail.
The beauty queen alum has since conceded that she might have been confused about the identity of her original assailant, but maintains that her civil rights were violated in the incident. Crews has been put on administrative leave.
Ponder has set up a crowdfunding page to help with her criminal case, but her lawyer will be doing much of the civil rights work for free, as they argue that her only crime was “not bowing” to demands.
Sounds like this was one rather unfortunate situation all around.
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(h/t Refinery29; photos via Carmen Ponder Instagram + City of Commerce)