Friday, November 5, 2010

Man receives $44,000 toll fine

Updated: Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010, 9:51 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010, 9:32 PM CDT

PFLUGERVILLE (KXAN) - Charles Ackridge was told he owes $44,000 for passing through TxTag tolls without a pre-paid pass and not paying the higher rate to use them. ?

He says Pay By Mail signs led him to believe he'd get bills in the mail but says they never came.

To come and go more quickly from the Meadows of Blackhawk neighborhood, Ackridge used toll road SH-45 or SH-130.
"I think before we bought this house we should have foreseen all that but I thought the toll system would be a lot better," said Ackridge.

Frontage roads that would give him free access to I-35 are not complete, so for 3 years he's used the toll roads without a TxTag and expected to pay? through bills? in the mail--which he says never arrived.

"I don't mind paying the toll but the thing is send me my mail properly on time so I can pay the toll," he said.

During a summons to court Wednesday, a judge told Ackridge he had 1,900? violations and owes $44,000.

"I mean it blew my mind," he said.

Ackridge said the court offered to lower his fine to $7,000 dollars if he agreed to make payments.? But since he says the cost of his toll usage would only have been $1,350 he decided to take the next step.

"I'm taking it to a jury.? I'd like to have my peers decide if I'm guilty or not," he said.

A TxDOT spokesperson would not comment specifically about this case because it is in litigation.

"We don't get any satisfaction and it's a long drawn out process to go to court that's an option of last resort.? It's one we don't like using but it's only fair to the people who are using the toll roads and paying for the toll roads fairly," said TxDOT spokesman Chris Lippincott.

The spokesperson also offered this advice..

"If you're using the toll road and you don't receive a bill from us and you're not a TxTag customer through our pre-paid system you need to give us a call or check in with us on our website.?? Those toll roads are out there for people to use as a choice but you got to pay to be out there.? Most of the drivers out there do and those who don't--we're going to be in touch with them."

TxDOT says by state law the only way they can bill someone is through the address on file with the department of motor vehicles.? So they urge you to have your information up to do date.

Ackridge says his was and he still didn't get billed.


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