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Traffic ticket tale with a twist
Published Thursday, February 21, 2013 3:37PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, February 21, 2013 6:38PM MST
A Calgary man is trying to understand why he received a traffic ticket from a city he was never in.
Getting a red light or speed on green ticket in the mail is never fun but getting one from a city that neither you nor your car was in is just plain maddening.
Ross Vallee was sent a $287 ticket for running a red light in Strathcona County near Edmonton.
"I looked at the date, January 25th that was somebody's birthday that day so I was in Calgary, I knew that for sure," said Vallee.
The red light Vallee allegedly ran is in Sherwood Park so why did he get the ticket?
His first call was to Calgary RCMP to find out.
“They suggested that, just pay the ticket, well that's not gonna happen, it's not my car, it's not my plate, it's not gonna happen," said Vallee.
Vallee then got in contact with an officer at Strathcona County and was told that the licence plate on the ticket belonged to a silver Mazda that was registered to him.
He told the officer that car and the plate were totaled in an accident years ago.
Strathcona told him that if he didn’t want to pay the ticket he should file a police report stating that plate was stolen.
Vallee called Calgary police and says they agreed with him stating that the Mazda’s plate was removed from their records years ago.
He has spent hours trying to sort out the ticket mess. "I will say at least five or six hours and between 15 to 20 different calls."
CTV Calgary’s Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty checked into the ticket trouble and found out that different police services can search different records when they're looking for registered vehicle owners to send tickets to.
In the end, it was determined that it was all due to a mistake made by the Strathcona County and ACS, the private company that runs its photo enforcement program.
It turns out that three people misread the licence plate in the red light photo and the plate had no connection to Vallee whatsoever.
"I would definitely say it was a clerical error due to the picture, whether it was due to the time of year, it's quite dirty out here now and not all of the plates are the best to read," said SGT Paul Badger.
Lea spoke to a representative at ACS, the private company that prints the photos and does the initial owner search for Strathcona County's photo tickets.
He told her that ACS searches the Alberta Motor Vehicle Department's database to find registered owners and that even if a licence plate is destroyed, it is forever attached to its last registered owner in the records.
"A nice thing someone could've done is said Mr. Vallee, I’m sorry, I apologize, I made a mistake, I’ll remove it, you'll have confirmation within an hour, that's what I expected but that's not what I got, I got nothing," said Vallee.
Vallee's ticket is being cancelled.