9/14/2006Tennessee: Innocent Woman Forced to Pay Red Light Camera Ticket
Woman proves she is innocent of running red light is nonetheless forced to pay the camera ticket in Red Bank, Tennessee.
Red Bank, Tennessee resident Carol Hile was at work in February when a red light camera claimed her Toyota entered an intersection a split-second after the light had turned red. Although the Red Bank City Court accepted proof that she was at work at the time listed on the photograph, Judge Gary Disheroon nevertheless ordered her to pay $50 for the violation she did not commit and another $100 for challenging the ticket in court.
"Well I was just shocked and I had no idea, just the last thing I expected," Hile told WTVC television.
The Red Bank camera program operates without authorization of the state legislature under a city ordinance. This ordinance allows a private company to mail citations to the owner of a vehicle without proving that an individual is actually responsible. An innocent motorist who receives such a ticket must become a prosecutor on behalf of the city to find someone to admit guilt and accept the ticket. In other words, as long as someone -- anyone -- pays, the city is satisfied.
In this case, Hile was asked to turn in her own daughters and make them pay -- something she was unable or unwilling to do. Hile also told WTVC that when she called to ask her insurance agent about the impact the violation might have on her rate, the company raised her premium. This happened even though she did not commit the offense and Red Bank does not report civil tickets on a driver's record.
Red Bank installed cameras in January, generating $348,500 in revenue. Of this amount, $219,555 went to camera vendor ATS which operates every aspect of the program on the city's behalf for a cut of the profit on each ticket it is able to issue.