Driver's Water Drinking Mistaken For Cell Phone Use

A local woman said San Diego police abused their power by ticketing her for using her cell phone while driving -- an accusation she said is false.

Angela told 10News she was pulled over by a police officer for something she didn't do.

"I wasn't speeding. I wasn't violating any traffic rules … I was very frightened," said Angela, who did not wish to share her full name.

She received the ticket early Wednesday morning while driving in downtown San Diego. The ticket was for a cell phone violation, but she told 10News she was not on her phone.

"I told him that I was not talking on the cell phone … I was drinking bottled water and that he probably saw me throwing my bottle to the side," said Angela.

Her car has tinted windows, and she said the officer mistook her water bottle for a phone.

Police said they wouldn't comment specifically on Angela's citation, but said there are gray areas.

"A lot of it comes down to what the officer sees and how the officer reacts to what he sees," said Mark McCullough of the San Diego Police Department's Traffic Division.

Angela said she uses the hands-free device that's mounted on her visor and does not have text-messaging on her cell phone plan.

Angela was cited at 1 a.m., and she showed 10News her Verizon phone records to prove her case.

According to the records, the last call she received was at 4:58 p.m. on Tuesday, and the next time she used her phone was 8:12 a.m. the next morning.

Police said it is possible she was using a different phone, and she can fight the ticket in court if she chooses to do so.

Angela said she feels like she was a target.

"He told me in a very threatening way that he was going to keep on looking for something wrong until he found something for which to give me a ticket," said Angela.

Police said the first citation is normally $20, though with penalty assessments, a first citation costs $142. Angela said she plans to go to court to fight the ticket.