5/21/2007Missouri: Innocent Man Accused of Red Light Running
Red light camera falsely accuses a St. Louis, Missouri motorist just two weeks after beginning ticketing operations.
Red light cameras have only been billing motorists in St. Louis, Missouri since the beginning of the month. Already, at least one innocent man has been accused of a crime he did not commit. Traffic camera vendor ATS mailed a ticket to Bates in the name of the city of St. Louis. The private company runs the ticketing operation in return for a cut of the payments.
The notice Bates received claimed that his car blew through a light at Hampton Avenue and Chippewa Street. Bates assumed that he must be guilty -- until he looked more closely. Bates drives a 2001 Cadillac, but the car in the mailed photograph was a 2001 Hyundai sedan. A closer look revealed that the automated system misread an "N" for an "M" on his license plate. Although the error is obvious, Bates is not in the clear yet.
"They still expect me to pay a $100 fine, and, uh, no way," Bates told KTVI-TV. "I'm sure there's gonna be some other instances like this. I'm just hoping I can get this thing cleared up."
The total red light camera fine is $150 including a $50 assessment for "court costs."