Voters oust Ridgeland mayor who fought for speed cameras

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comNovember 9, 2011 

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In June, Ridgeland Mayor Gary Hodges and other officials decided to pull the plug on the town's controversial speed camera on Interstate 95 after a new law ban the practice.

On Tuesday night, Ridgeland voters pulled the plug on Hodges.

Hodges, who had served as mayor for four years, was defeated 280 to 145 by former mayor and Jasper County Probate Judge Joey Malphrus, according to Penny Daley, town clerk.

Daley said the results will be certified today. A handful of ballots are being protested by Hodges for having addresses outside town limits, but they are too few in number to change the outcome, Daley said.

Attempts Wednesday to reach both Malphrus and Hodges were unsuccessful.

Malphrus had served as county probate judge since 1998 before retiring in June, according to state records.

He served as Ridgeland's mayor from 1988 to 1998, town records show.

Hodges had been the most vocal supporter of the town's controversial speed camera system, which angered some state lawmakers when it was deployed in August 2010. Hodges claimed the cameras reduced speeding and fatal crashes on the stretch of the highway going through Ridgeland.

The program was halted in June after the legislature passed a law banning the cameras and use of photographic evidence to issue speeding tickets.

Also on Tuesday, Ridgeland voters reelected incumbent Grady Woods and selected Gary Mazzanna to fill the second of two vacant at-large seats on the town's five-member council, Daley said.

Former councilman Al Cleland, who died in October, was among three others who received votes Tuesday, town officials said.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

Related content

  1. Haley signs speed camera ban into law, June 17, 2011
  2. Ridgeland's I-95 traffic camera system: Public safety tool or a speed trap?

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