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Woman backs into Cedar Rapids police department's red Jeep

Mobile speed unit parked along Cedar Rapids street that had been scene of car-house crash

The Cedar Rapids Police Department's mobile speed camera was parked along 16th Avenue SW on Jan. 4, 2012. (Jeff Raasch/T
The Cedar Rapids Police Department's mobile speed camera was parked along 16th Avenue SW on Jan. 4, 2012. (Jeff Raasch/The Gazette)

At least one person hadn't heard about the Cedar Rapids police department's famous red Jeep.

She knows about it now, though.

The vehicle, which is equipped with a camera system that automatically snaps photos of speeders as they pass by, was damaged in a minor accident Tuesday. Police said a 49-year-old Marion woman backed into it with her vehicle around 5:15 p.m. in the 100 block of Brentwood Drive NE. She then approached a few neighbors, asking if the Jeep was theirs.

They told her it was a police vehicle. It had been parked there to slow down traffic after a car slammed into a house in the same block early Saturday morning.

Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said the woman told officers she was was backing out of a driveway when she hit the Jeep, after picking up a child. The Jeep had a scrape on the rear quarter-panel on the passenger's side, police said.

Because the accident involved a city vehicle, police did a full accident report. Hamblin said the damage was very minor and did not think a repair would be necessary. No charges were filed against the woman.

Police have parked the Jeep in various locations in Cedar Rapids as a form of traffic enforcement for the past two years. The crash Tuesday was the first time it has sustained any damage, Hamblin said. She said someone put cardboard over the windshield shortly after it debuted, but has otherwise not been vandalized.The police department lists the streets where the Jeep will be parked each week on its website. Requests about where the Jeep should be parked to slow down speeders can be made by calling (319) 286-5356.

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