Thousands Of Drivers About To Get Unwanted Mail - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: General Sessions Court

Thousands Of Drivers About To Get Unwanted Mail

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Letters start going out this week telling drivers they're back on the hook for their traffic tickets. This comes after a NewsChannel 5 investigation into missing tickets.

Melissa Watson is sure she's getting one of the letters. She admits to rolling through a stop sign. 

After a police officer wrote her a ticket, she wanted to go to traffic school.

"I work in insurance so I know having a ticket is not a good thing to have on your record," said Watson.

When she tried to sign up on line, she was told her ticket didn't exist. She spent hours trying to do the right thing.

"It was a lot of work. My concern is my time spent. Everyone's time is valuable," said Watson.

She is not alone. Metro police wrote nearly 5,000 traffic tickets that were never entered into the system. Metro employees have 45 days to enter them into the system or the tickets are dismissed. 

NewsChannel 5 Investigates started asking questions about missing tickets, the circuit court clerk found thousands of unprocessed tickets in the desks of two employees at the Traffic Violations Bureau.

The employees have been fired, and now Metro is sending letters to all ticket holders saying their back on the hook for the tickets.

"I think an apology needs to come from our office to those people explaining the process and what happened, and we are sorry," said Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker.

Rooker said letters start going out to drivers this week telling them they still owe for their tickets.

Investigative Reporter Ben Hall asked, "Do you think it's fair to come back now and ask for this money?"

"Well, I think the process as it stands, they're going through the same process they would have gone through before with a ticket," said Rooker.

The Traffic Violations Bureau recently put new safeguards in place. Now all tickets are scanned into a computer instead of having employees manually enter them. 

In October, another new system goes into place. When an officer writes a ticket it goes directly into the computer. It is something the office has planned for a while.

"I just feel like there should be some kind of compensation for the difficulty that everyone has gone through just like me," said Melissa Watson.

She never tried to get out of her ticket, but Watson is not happy that she must spend more of her time on the issue because Metro's mistake.

"They can come to court and explain that to the court and if the court sees fit to dismiss the ticket because of this, then that will be the court's decision," said Rooker.

The first letters go out Wednesday. If people tried to pay the ticket they will get a slightly different letter than if they never contacted the clerks' office.

There are so many letters to send that the Circuit Court Clerk is spreading them out. The mailings should be finished in about two weeks.

See also: 5,000 Missing Tickets Found Stuffed in Clerks' Desks

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