Sheriff's Office dismisses red-light tickets issued during traffic light malfunction

Traffic light malfunction in Naples

Drivers get red light camera tickets.

In this 2012 file photo, several drivers were ticketed after driving through flashing red traffic lights at the corner of Pine Ridge and Airport Pulling roads. Collier County sheriff's officials said tickets given to the drivers would be dismissed not because there was no violation, but because traffic light cameras can only be used to give citations for those who run steady red lights, not blinking ones.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL, Naples Daily News

In this 2012 file photo, several drivers were ticketed after driving through flashing red traffic lights at the corner of Pine Ridge and Airport Pulling roads. Collier County sheriff's officials said tickets given to the drivers would be dismissed not because there was no violation, but because traffic light cameras can only be used to give citations for those who run steady red lights, not blinking ones.

— A March traffic light malfunction at Collier County's busiest intersection has caused headaches well into April for law enforcement and more than a dozen drivers.

Punta Gorda resident Carl Horsley said his wife, Sasivimol, received a ticket in the mail last week for running a red light on March 28 at the intersection of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads.

When they reviewed the 13-second video clip of the infraction online, they saw flashing red lights on the traffic signals and at least two dozen vehicles pass through the intersection. The lights were flashing red for about 15 minutes before Collier County sheriff's deputies arrived to direct traffic, officials said.

"I know even with the flashing red light there was no way that she could have stopped," Horsley said. "Nobody was stopping. They proceeded cautiously."

The battle of the blinking red lights is the latest in an ongoing dispute over Collier's red-light cameras, which were approved in 2008 and installed in 2009.

Earlier this week, Sheriff's Office officials said tickets given to Horsley and others would be dismissed, not because there was no violation, but because traffic light cameras can only be used to give citations for drivers who run steady red lights, not blinking ones. Blinking red-light runners would have to be cited in person by a deputy, said Sgt. Chris Gonzalez, of the Sheriff's Office's Safety and Traffic Enforcement Bureau.

"At face value, they were violating state statute," Gonzalez said. But "when we dig deeper, the language of the (traffic cameras) bill does not permit it to be used for blinking red."

Still, he said the drivers who went through the intersection "posed a very, very significant safety issue for people in that area."

"The act of going through a red light that's blinking is so inherently dangerous that it's ridiculous," he said.

But Horsley said his wife was moving with traffic flow and was confused without the help of deputies, who had not yet arrived.

"My wife was very upset," he said. "These ladies are visiting Naples for lunch and shopping and they're hassled by 'the man.'"

The tickets were issued by American Traffic Solutions, which operates the cameras, on behalf of the Sheriff's Office after a deputy reviewed the footage and agreed there was a violation, Gonzalez said.

The stoplights at that intersection were in blinking mode for about an hour and a half that day because of a malfunctioning part, said Connie Dean, spokeswoman for the Collier transportation department. Tickets will be dismissed for the 16 drivers who were cited for running the blinking red lights before deputies arrived, Gonzalez said.

Dean said she was unaware of any past malfunctions that had caused drivers to receive incorrect citations.

Gonzalez, who has overseen the division that reviews traffic camera tickets since 2009, said he believed it was the "first time ever" tickets were being dismissed after being given initial approval.

Although the red-light cameras remain an item of contention, recent votes by county commissioners indicate they're not going anywhere anytime soon. In February, the board approved a contract with American Traffic Solutions to operate the cameras for 10 more years.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 36

profiler writes:

This is nazi amerika folks.
Remember..you CAN nullify all the police states BS by serving on juries and voting "NOT GUILTY"! They CANNOT require you to find anyone guilty. You can lie to the gestapo nazi police state officials about your feelings or beliefs and do as you choose when you get onto a jury. This is one of the few ways we CAN start a revolution against this POS nazi police state. FIJA.ORG...go there...read it..bookmark it...and pass it on. Remember...this corrupt government has only one goal...more power over the people. If amerika is such a "great" country..and so "free"...then why do we have more people in jail than any other country in the world? Because the truth is...amerika is a POS nazi police state. It may come to armed revolution..and whose side will you be on? Has the government done more "for" you..or "to" you? Case closed...
acquit...acquit...acquit...lie to the crook judges and the rest of the police state nazis...let them think you will be impartial -- dont lie any more to them than the government lies to you LOL...and then vote "NOT GUILTY"! FIJA.ORG

Sick writes:

And if it were not for you pesky little snooping kids....

shwing writes:

A little off subject, but the word "America" is capitalized and has a 'c' in it, not a 'k'.
Also, all those people went throught the blinking red light without stopping first, very dangerous.

rasputin writes:

in response to profiler:

This is nazi amerika folks.
Remember..you CAN nullify all the police states BS by serving on juries and voting "NOT GUILTY"! They CANNOT require you to find anyone guilty. You can lie to the gestapo nazi police state officials about your feelings or beliefs and do as you choose when you get onto a jury. This is one of the few ways we CAN start a revolution against this POS nazi police state. FIJA.ORG...go there...read it..bookmark it...and pass it on. Remember...this corrupt government has only one goal...more power over the people. If amerika is such a "great" country..and so "free"...then why do we have more people in jail than any other country in the world? Because the truth is...amerika is a POS nazi police state. It may come to armed revolution..and whose side will you be on? Has the government done more "for" you..or "to" you? Case closed...
acquit...acquit...acquit...lie to the crook judges and the rest of the police state nazis...let them think you will be impartial -- dont lie any more to them than the government lies to you LOL...and then vote "NOT GUILTY"! FIJA.ORG

Nazi Florida that is run by republicans, who also were the ones that put the cameras in.

Here4Now writes:

Good old friendly Naples. Hate this hole

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

Most of the time it is the nut behind the wheel that malfunctions, eh?

Tighten up!

flanative writes:

Fascists! Vote rhem all out. They are scared of an alert, awake, educated populace.

jackal76 writes:

in response to profiler:

This is nazi amerika folks.
Remember..you CAN nullify all the police states BS by serving on juries and voting "NOT GUILTY"! They CANNOT require you to find anyone guilty. You can lie to the gestapo nazi police state officials about your feelings or beliefs and do as you choose when you get onto a jury. This is one of the few ways we CAN start a revolution against this POS nazi police state. FIJA.ORG...go there...read it..bookmark it...and pass it on. Remember...this corrupt government has only one goal...more power over the people. If amerika is such a "great" country..and so "free"...then why do we have more people in jail than any other country in the world? Because the truth is...amerika is a POS nazi police state. It may come to armed revolution..and whose side will you be on? Has the government done more "for" you..or "to" you? Case closed...
acquit...acquit...acquit...lie to the crook judges and the rest of the police state nazis...let them think you will be impartial -- dont lie any more to them than the government lies to you LOL...and then vote "NOT GUILTY"! FIJA.ORG

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

cornandbeans writes:

Thanks, Fiala, for the red light cameras.

angrytxpyr writes:

Turd Party Administration is the way to go for the Public servants who want to avoid accountability. Rambosk will sit there and blame Traffic Solutions or if a jail inmate dies he will blame the private medical provider, its just a way to avoid doing the job their elected to do. County Commissioners voted to keep the cameras, Rambosk supported it and let me tell ya they probably spent more manpower and legal fees/TAXES trying to prove the tickets were legitimate than they did on making sure Deputy Todd wasn't under the influence of something when he racked up his second dead driver. NO ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE TOP MEANS NO ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE BOTTOM AND IN BETWEEN!!!!

antares writes:

As it should be.....

joeblow writes:

These things are dumb. Just get rid of them already.

srd275 writes:

Don't TRUST THAT "REVIEW" to much folks. IN Opa Locka ATS and the city cited a FUNERAL PROCESSION UNDER POLICE ESCORT! http://www.wsvn.com/features/articles...

Here is another "reveiw" mistake out of North Bay Village, FL (Miami). http://www.banthecams.org/Red-Light-C...

www.motorists.org
www.banthecams.org

antares writes:

We will find out after a while that these cameras are not necessary.

babbas writes:

Wow...so when these lights malfunction and start blinking, something that everyone in this city has experienced at one time or another, we are supposed to just sit there? LOL. Then, they ACTUALLY issued tickets! LOL.

"Still, he said the drivers who went through the intersection "posed a very, very significant safety issue for people in that area."

"The act of going through a red light that's blinking is so inherently dangerous that it's ridiculous," he said."

---Sgt. Chris Gonzalez, of the Sheriff's Office's Safety and Traffic Enforcement Bureau.(MORON-in-training)

kappa1997 writes:

Collier county has not performed speed studies, which is required by FDOT in order to install red light cameras. Every red light camera in collier has been installed illegally. Every ticket issued has been illegal.

Therealist writes:

I've yet to meet a citizen in this area who likes the red light cameras or wants their tax dollars spent on resources regarding them.

I'd be interested to know how much of our time and money is being wasted on this fake safety mission. Sickening, really.

antares writes:

I really think that an indepent study should be done again and get some real feed-back from cities that HAD red-light cameras and then repealed them and the reasons behind their repeal ....

Therealist writes:

in response to kappa1997:

Collier county has not performed speed studies, which is required by FDOT in order to install red light cameras. Every red light camera in collier has been installed illegally. Every ticket issued has been illegal.

I'm hoping you are right. Is there a statute of some sort you can cite to verify this?

Therealist writes:

in response to Nongeriatric_Redux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So who issues the citations?

profiler writes:

in response to jackal76:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well..yes...if the person killed was a nazi police state official I would let the killer off..the same way I would let anyone off the killed any washington politician. They can tell you certain things you are "supposed" to do or "instructed" to do..but they can't FORCE you to do it once seated on a jury. FIJA.ORG...

blefebvre writes:

I'm confused ~ do you stop for a blinking red? What is the purpose of it? I thought the yellow light warned you of an upcoming red light. Traffic light cameras can only be used to give citations for drivers who run steady red lights, not blinking ones. Blinking red-light runners would have to be cited in person by a deputy, said Sgt. Chris Gonzalez, of the Sheriff's Office's Safety and Traffic Enforcement Bureau. WTF

profiler writes:

TYPICAL NAZI PROPAGANDA! We KNOW who the cops are here to serve and protect..their OWN interests...their free retirement off taxpayers backs, their freedom to break so many laws they accuse others of doing, the police discounts (I am a cop can I get a discount...I already get lots of free stuff...I deserve it! LOL)....
the aholes cops are nothing but lowlifes..most of them are worse than the average citizen...crooked...lying under oath...planting dope...thats what they do! ONE DAY the joke will be on them when their sons or daughters become victims of the nazi police state. $500 says they WONT like the treatment they extend to others...
If you EVER see any nazi or their family hurt, bleeding, being robbed...whatever...you DO have the right to turn your head and walk away. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER help this corrupt nazi police state or any of their jack booted thugs...

spam writes:

in response to Nongeriatric_Redux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The county commission issues the citation as a code violation. Thanks for spreading mis-information.

Geronimo writes:

There were at least 13 cars that went through that flashing light during the video, or one per second. During the 15 minutes it took for the Sheriff Office to arrive, if you can believe them, there would have been at least 900 tickets issued, not the 16 the Sheriff Office claims were issued.

If I had gotten a red light ticket ($158. each) that day you can be sure that I would call Sgt. Chris Gonzalez at 239-774-4434 and check whether or not I had been issued a ticket in error. There is the possibility that the light, or any of the others covered by cameras, has malfunctioned before and maybe 1000s and 1000s of tickets have been issued in error since installation of the cameras.

Therealist writes:

in response to Nongeriatric_Redux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They are authorized to issue traffic citations?

This whole thing stinks, doesn't it?

Therealist writes:

in response to spam:

The county commission issues the citation as a code violation. Thanks for spreading mis-information.

Ah, that makes more sense.

swfl_ff writes:

in response to spam:

The county commission issues the citation as a code violation. Thanks for spreading mis-information.

You are correct. My son received one back when they were still issuing tickets for right turns on red.

The ticket comes in the form of a code violation and you pay the fine to Code Enforcement and not to the Clerk of Courts as with regular traffic tickets. There are also no points issued against your license.

usertom166 writes:

in response to profiler:

This is nazi amerika folks.
Remember..you CAN nullify all the police states BS by serving on juries and voting "NOT GUILTY"! They CANNOT require you to find anyone guilty. You can lie to the gestapo nazi police state officials about your feelings or beliefs and do as you choose when you get onto a jury. This is one of the few ways we CAN start a revolution against this POS nazi police state. FIJA.ORG...go there...read it..bookmark it...and pass it on. Remember...this corrupt government has only one goal...more power over the people. If amerika is such a "great" country..and so "free"...then why do we have more people in jail than any other country in the world? Because the truth is...amerika is a POS nazi police state. It may come to armed revolution..and whose side will you be on? Has the government done more "for" you..or "to" you? Case closed...
acquit...acquit...acquit...lie to the crook judges and the rest of the police state nazis...let them think you will be impartial -- dont lie any more to them than the government lies to you LOL...and then vote "NOT GUILTY"! FIJA.ORG

The jury process and all constitutional rights have been totaly circumvented in the redlight camera process.
THERE IS NO JURY! NO RIGHT TO CONSUL OR PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.
This system dumps on the constitution and no real American should ever support a justice system of this type. This is more like something that would be used in Cuba or China. I never thought this could be possible in the United States?!?!?!!?

usertom166 writes:

in response to swfl_ff:

You are correct. My son received one back when they were still issuing tickets for right turns on red.

The ticket comes in the form of a code violation and you pay the fine to Code Enforcement and not to the Clerk of Courts as with regular traffic tickets. There are also no points issued against your license.

The real money ATF makes is selling the ticket info to car insurance companies. You'll notice a slight (unexplainable)rise in your car insurance premium the next time the policy renews. (reguadless of any points)

usertom166 writes:

in response to ImNstinksBraFitterAtVictoriasSecret:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Absolutly, If any government official REALLY gave rat's rectum about road safety they would propose raising the drivers age to 18 and implementing a driving retest every 10 years.
Also reinstating the helmet laws!! No one really cares about saftey. PPPPLLLLEEEAAASSSSSE

MARK TWAIN said it best: "if a fellow tells you it's for the principal of the thing and not for the money,....it's for the money".

swfl_ff writes:

in response to usertom166:

The real money ATF makes is selling the ticket info to car insurance companies. You'll notice a slight (unexplainable)rise in your car insurance premium the next time the policy renews. (reguadless of any points)

Nope, no change in insurance, in fact it went down a few bucks this year.

spam writes:

in response to Nongeriatric_Redux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey thanks for the education. You did more research the the moron that wrote this article. And thanks for confirming what I wrote. It's a code violation regardless of what crap you dug up on a company website and who sends you the letter.

Geronimo writes:

The sixteen $158. tickets reversed were just the cars in the video. What about the cars going in the other direction? What about the possible 1000+ tickets likely issued in error that day? If I had gotten a ticket anytime in March I'd certainly check with Sgt. Gonzalez and ask him to review my red light camera video.

profiler writes:

in response to usertom166:

The jury process and all constitutional rights have been totaly circumvented in the redlight camera process.
THERE IS NO JURY! NO RIGHT TO CONSUL OR PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.
This system dumps on the constitution and no real American should ever support a justice system of this type. This is more like something that would be used in Cuba or China. I never thought this could be possible in the United States?!?!?!!?

You are correct! If amerika is such a free country...why do they have MORE prisoners than any other country in the world? There are countries with populations many times the size of this but with fewer prisoners--and they don't even make the BS claims that they have freedom, etc like this nazi police state! Now..the entire system revolves ONLY around money..and how much they can screw you out of! Truth..justice..the american way...are out of vogue....
Now..they can accuse you of a crime (or NOT accuse you) and hold you without trial or charges. They now commit murder by drone of amerikan "citizens". They wiretap everyone. They monitor your bank accounts. They monitor you credit cards. What is this government so afraid of that they feel they must spy on everyone? What IS the purpose of keeping files on every amerikan "citizen"? There is only one reason...TOTAL control. Almost every "citizen" breaks laws every day they don't know exist. This gives the gestapo government the ability to fornicate anyone at will. In a country that CLAIMS innocent until proven guilty...why do you have to prove you DONT owe the IRS? Are you seeing a pattern here? The truth is...amerika is now a pos gestapo police state. They hijacked the constitution. The reality is...amerika is now worth NOTHING! Why are many people getting passports and choosing other countries to retire? Did you know the nazi police state of amerika ranks WAY down in the freedom index? So..you can continue to believe in the lies and propaganda if you choose. I want to spread the word..the truth about what happened to a once great and free country. It is no more! FIJA.ORG is one way people can fight the nazi police state. Remember...all this corrupt gestapo government does is LIE...so..you OWE THEM NOTHING...and certainly NO MORE TRUTH THAN THEY OFFER THE MASSES. Welcome to nazi amerika...and it is only going to get MUCH worse!

jbm9 writes:

in response to Pfartologist:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

not all,but i see it all the time by deputies. red light running,speeding talking on the cell phone not paying attention.

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