Chicago man gets $500 ticket after smashing speed bump with pickax

CHICAGO — Speed bumps can be annoying, but a Chicago man took matters into his own hands, removing one behind his garage piece by piece with a pickax, authorities said.

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Nicolas Benitez’s do-it-yourself road construction earned him a $500 fine and a day in court, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The speed bump in question was made of asphalt and was located in an alley outside his garage behind his neighborhood in the Brighton Park neighborhood of the city, the newspaper reported.

Benitez said the large speed bump damaged the suspensions of his vehicles and trapped snow and ice during the winter.

Over the course of a few days, Benitez said he smashed the speed bump and piled the debris neatly against his garage, WBBM reported.

“I did one piece today, another piece tomorrow,” Benitez told the Tribune. “Little by little I took it out.”

Benitez said he wanted the city to install smaller speed bumps and has complained previously to Alderman Ray Lopez about them, WBBM reported.

However, Benitez apparently ran out of patience.

“I’m angry and I’m upset. (A city Department of Transportation inspector) came by and he wrote me a ticket, and I asked him why,” Benitez told the Tribune. “It’s my fault. I broke the rule. But why don’t they pay attention?”

Lopez told the newspaper that he knew Benitez and asked him to meet the alderman at the site of the former speed bump.

“I know him from the ward, he’s a nice guy,” Lopez told the Tribune. “He was very nonchalant, told us ‘Yeah, I took it out. I didn’t want to wait.’

“But that’s not how this works,” Lopez told the newspaper. “I had already told him that if he had a problem with the bump right outside his garage, we could look for ‘menu money’ to see if we have the funds to remove it. Unfortunately, by the summer months, that money is already spoken for.”

Menu money is an allotment of funds aldermen get for projects in their wards, according to the Tribune.

Benitez was cited for digging without a permit and destroying city property in the process, WBBM reported.

“Throw out the ticket,” Benitez told the television station. “Because he needs to replace not just this one -- he needs to replace the whole area.”