Police back NDSU football coach Craig Bohl as traffic safety pitch man, despite long speeding record
FARGO, N.D. - It took a while, but Craig Bohl says he gets it now.
The North Dakota State University football coach is the voice of the 30-second radio ad Fargo police began airing Monday as part of a new traffic-safety campaign dubbed, "Are you getting it now?"
Yet Bohl has been ticketed for at least 18 traffic offenses in the region since 2003, the year he was hired, including 10 speeding tickets in the past three years.
Fargo police didn't know about Bohl's traffic record when they tapped him to be the voiceover for a new traffic-safety message and likely wouldn't have picked him if they had known, Chief Keith Ternes said Monday when The Forum told him of Bohl's lead-foot history.
"It certainly does take away from the message when the messenger might be somebody we're trying to reach," Ternes said.
But after first saying on Monday afternoon that the spot would likely be re-recorded with a different spokesman, Ternes called The Forum back. He said after talking to the football coach about the matter, the police would stick with the Bohl-voiced commercial.
Ternes said Bohl admitted he was a target of the campaign, which was designed to be a blunt appeal to repeated offenders who'd ignored prior warnings.
"We're happy with where we're at. Hopefully, that does even more to emphasize the message," Ternes said of the coach's driving record.
Bohl told The Forum on Monday that his own history of speeding was part of the reason he agreed to lend his voice to the public service announcement.
"This message applies to everybody. I looked myself in the mirror and said, 'I need to slow down,' " Bohl said.
When told Ternes said he would likely pull Bohl's commercials for another voiceover, Bohl declined to comment.
Bohl, who is not named in the PSA, was selected because Ternes said he was looking for a well-known community voice not associated with law enforcement or city government.
Police also discussed having Mayor Dennis Walaker or Ternes reading the copy, which details the string of fatal crashes in Fargo that killed five people in a span of less than three weeks in September and October.
Bohl's list of tickets includes at least 19 citations for speeding in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota, the only states' records The Forum was able to check Monday afternoon.
Bohl has had five citations in four traffic stops in 2010 alone. He was most recently cited on Sept. 18 for driving without an operator's license in Traill County, N.D., though Bohl said he does have a valid driver's license.
Court records show the highest speed Bohl was cited for was in 2005 in Stearns County, Minnesota, when he was clocked going 95 mph in a 70-mph zone.
Craig Bohl's citations
Here are the traffic citations issued to NDSU head football coach Craig Bohl found in a statewide court record search in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska. No citations were found in a record search of Fargo Municipal Court.
- Sept. 18, 2010; North Dakota citations for driving without an operator's license and speeding in Traill County.
- June 1, 2010; South Dakota ticket for speeding on the interstate; 89 in 75-mph zone.
- May 19, 2010; North Dakota citation for driving 79 in a 65-mph zone.
- Feb. 13, 2010; Nebraska ticket for speeding 16 to 20 mph over the limit in Burt County.
- Nov. 10, 2009; North Dakota speeding citation in Cass County.
- July 29, 2008; North Dakota citation for driving 82 in a 75-mph zone in Grand Forks County.
- May 14, 2008; North Dakota citation for speeding in a construction zone with workers present in Pierce County.
- May 11, 2008; Nebraska ticket for driving 6 to 10 mph over the limit in Dakota County.
- March 28, 2008; Nebraska ticket for speeding 6 to 10 mph over the limit.
- Feb. 12, 2008; North Dakota citation for driving 70 in a 55-mph zone in Cass County.
- June 17, 2007; South Dakota ticket for speeding on the interstate; 85 in 75-mph zone.
- May 16, 2007; North Dakota citation for driving 85 in a 75-mph zone.
- April 26, 2006; North Dakota citation for driving 90 in a 75-mph zone in Traill County.
- Oct. 21, 2005; Minnesota citation for driving 95 in a 70-mph zone in Stearns County.
- Sept. 15, 2004; Minnesota citation for driving 75 in a 55-mph zone in Polk County.
- Feb. 11, 2004; Minnesota citation for driving 89 in a 70-mph zone in Douglas County.
- Feb. 10, 2003; Nebraska ticket for speeding 16 to 20 mph over the limit in Lancaster County.
- Dec. 16, 1996; Nebraska ticket for speeding 11 to 15 mph over the limit in Lancaster County.
- Dec, 13, 1996; Nebraska ticket for speeding 11 to 15 mph over the limit in Lancaster County.