6/26/2007Virginia: Woman Faced $1200 in Charges for Tolls She Already Paid
Dulles, Virginia toll road officials attempt to take $1200 from elderly woman for $12.80 in tolls she already paid.
Virginia's Dulles Greenway toll road filed criminal charges earlier this month against an 85-year-old woman over $12.80 in tolls that she had already paid. Greenway officials claimed that Dorothy Neumann skipped out on payment for a total of four trips last September and that they intended to prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law. Neumann was charged with a class two misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $1000 fine, $200 in court fees and up to six months in jail.
According to the account of court proceedings presented in the Leesburg Today newspaper, Neumann had a "Smart Tag" electronic toll transponder, but the account linked to her credit card did not properly deduct enough money to pay the tolls. She faced a red light when she tried to pass through a toll booth. Instead of blowing through the light, Neumann waited for a worker from a nearby toll booth to come over so that she could make her payment in cash.
Nonetheless, the toll road's enforcement cameras registered Neumann as a delinquent since toll booth workers have no way of overriding the automatic ticketing system. Months later, after receiving a court summons, the commonwealth attorney's office told Neumann's son Ric that he could pay $618 to settle the matter out of court.
"My guess is that they get a lot of money from getting people to just settle it and get it to go away, that a lot of people just curse and swear, write a check, curse and swear some more and then just go about their business," Ric Neumann told Leesburg Today. "That's my sense of what's going on. I think the Greenway has just found that this is easy money."
Loudoun County General District Court Judge Julia Taylor Cannon dismissed all charges against Neumann.