6/7/2007Chicago Red Light Camera Tickets Innocent Columnist
A Chicago, Illinois motorist fights a bogus red light camera ticket by writing a newspaper column about it.
A red light camera issued a violation to an innocent motorist in Chicago, Illinois last week. Unlike most recipients of such tickets who must either take time off of work to dispute citations or just give up and pay them, Arlene Jones decided to fight back. A regular column in her community's newspaper, the Austin Weekly News, offered her a platform to expose the city's practices.
"I was going through my mail the other day when a return address caught my attention. City of Chicago -- Department of Revenue," Jones wrote yesterday. "Red Light Violation! The infamous red light violation taken by the cameras when you run a red light. The camera that the city says 'doesn't lie.'"
The enclosed $90 citation accused her of running a red light at the intersection of Narragansett and Irving Park at 6:49am. One of the ticket's photos showed her truck stopped behind the crosswalk. Another showed an empty intersection. The final photo showed a close up of her license plate. Jones never ran the light.
From past experience with questionable parking tickets, Jones knew that contesting by mail would result in late fees and excuses from the city. She signed up to have a city hearing officer hear her evidence in person the case at the end of June.
"I am going to ask the city to reimburse me for my time and travel expenses to fight their phony ticket," Jones wrote. "I think $90 is a fair amount."