Errors delay delivery of driving citations for years

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Bowers said that other car was a Port Authority police officer, who he said went through a red light. Bowers said that police car not only did not have its lights or sirens activated, but said the car's headlights weren't even on. Then, that officer pulled him over.

"I said, 'Why are you traveling twice the speed with no lights on?' and he said, 'I was just going to give you a warning, I'm not going to write you a ticket'," said Bowers.

Bowers was upset and called Pittsburgh Police, who sent an officer. Bowers said he explained the situation to the Pittsburgh officer, who went back and talked to the Port Authority officer.
 

"About three minutes later or less, the Port Authority officer came up and threw my license and registration at me and got in his car and left," said Bowers.

Bowers filed a complaint with the Port Authority, and was told one week later that the matter was handled. He thought the matter was closed until he got a careless driving citation in the mail four years later.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority said the citation was actually filed four years prior, right after the incident. The court dockets indicate the citation was mailed a month later, but Bowers said he never received it.

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Target 11's Rick Earle went to the District Justice office which issued the citation. A secretary there said hundreds of citations from 2012 and 2013 were never mailed, but wouldn't say why. Target 11 left a message for District Judge Oscar Petite, but never heard back.

The agency which oversees district courts in Allegheny County would not talk on camera, but said that the magistrate's office was supposed to mail out another citation or turn it over to the warrant office, which wasn't done. The mix-up wasn't discovered for four years. In a statement, Deputy Court Administrator Angharad Stock said, "His office was behind. This came to our attention and they addressed it right away and they are continuing to address it".

Over the last five years, Petite's office handled more than four thousand summary citations. The court administrator said she didn't have an exact number of how many sat in the office for years, but would only say hundreds.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: 

  • PITTSBURGH MUNICIPAL COURT:  For information on how to pay a traffic citation, CLICK HERE.

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