Unsafe at any speed Traffic judge says outfit makes outlaw of 'Grim Reaper'

Saturday, July 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WESTFIELD, Mass. – It was Judgment Day for the Grim Reaper – and he left court $35 poorer.

Frank Major, who picks up a few bucks by appearing at parties wearing a skeleton mask, a hood and gloves, lost a short court fight Friday over a traffic ticket he got for driving in the get-up.

Patrolman Jeffrey Baillargeon said the ghoulish outfit impeded Mr. Major's ability to drive safely.

Mr. Major, 29, pulled up to the brick courthouse Friday in his rusty old hearse with a dented trunk and the license plate UR NEXT. "Someone hit the coffin I used to tow," he said.

He headed up the steps to face the judge in a black robe of his own, but that was not to be. Westfield District Court security guards made him doff his costume and send it through the metal detector.

So Mr. Major stood before the judge in jeans and a polo shirt and explained he had been on his way to a birthday party when Patrolman Baillargeon pulled him over in April.

Mr. Major conceded that the rubber mask makes it hard to see, but he said he wasn't wearing it when he was pulled over.

Patrolman Baillargeon said he was.

"That will be $35," the judge said.

Now, Mr. Major said, he will not drive through the streets of Westfield in anything snazzier than the robe and maybe the hood.

"If I have a party, I'll just change in a telephone booth," he said.