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Solicitor to dismiss River Watch tickets where signs were wrong

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Richmond County State Court Solicitor Kellie McIntyre said she expects to dismiss speeding tickets issued on a part of River Watch Parkway where the speed limit signs were wrong.

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The speed limit of a section of River Watch Parkway was reduced to 45 mph Thursday, but the change was correct this time because a lane was closed.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
The speed limit of a section of River Watch Parkway was reduced to 45 mph Thursday, but the change was correct this time because a lane was closed.

In a statement issued Thursday, McIntyre said that in the interest of fairness, her office will try to identify any of the questionable citations issued on River Watch for review.

“It is important to note that this does not include all citations issued on River Watch Park­way; however, we anticipate that those that were issued because of the error will be dismissed,” her statement said.

The citations were called into question this week after The Augusta Chronicle reported that Richmond County sheriff’s officers had been enforcing a speed limit on a portion of River Watch that was marked incorrectly for months.

Deputies issued an unknown number of tickets to motorists for violating the posted 45 mph limit. Officials said the limit should have been 55 mph but that it was changed in error by a contractor working on improvements to the Augusta Canal towpath.

Sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew said the traffic officers were not aware the signs were wrong at the time the tickets were issued.

Augusta Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said the contractor had authorization from the Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit to 45 mph, but only during specific hours and under certain conditions. According to a plan approved by the DOT, the speed limit could be reduced between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and only when a lane was closed for construction purposes.

The speed limit was reduced again under those conditions Thursday, one of a handful of occasions since February when a lane needed to be closed.

McIntyre said her office had been inundated by calls from drivers asking about tickets since reports were published in the newspaper.

She said it would be very difficult for her staff to identify every ticket that was issued under the erroneous speed limit, so it will be up to individual drivers to bring the matter to the attention of the court.

She said the number of citations in general has risen dramatically since Sheriff Richard Roundtree established a new traffic division in January.

“We have no early idea how many were issued on River Watch during that time,” Mc­Intyre said. “We had a calendar today that had over 300 citations on it.”

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Riverman1
79476
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Riverman1 06/28/13 - 05:12 am
11
0
"She said it would be very

"She said it would be very difficult for her staff to identify every ticket that was issued under the erroneous speed limit, so it will be up to individual drivers to bring the matter to the attention of the court."

Many will be too busy to go to court and lose their money, etc. It's a case of it was our fault an ILLEGAL sign was posted, but it's up to you to straighten it out. I don't agree with that.

walrus4ever
354
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walrus4ever 06/28/13 - 06:03 am
6
0
Isn't this the sheriff that

Isn't this the sheriff that made the campaign statement that everyone deserves a second chance? Rc is gaining the reputation long held across the river as a "speed trap". I am curious as to the day to day method of putting these speed checks on the roads. Is it a decision left to the individual officers or do they get daily assignments from their supervisors. Seems they pick advantageous stretches to rack up cash for the county.

corgimom
27961
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corgimom 06/28/13 - 07:03 am
2
6
But you know what, they can't

But you know what, they can't issue tickets if people don't speed.

That's pretty simple.

nocnoc
38559
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nocnoc 06/28/13 - 07:07 am
6
0
A lot of drivers will owe 1 to the AC Staff.

The Header really says it all.

soapy_725
43555
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soapy_725 06/28/13 - 07:57 am
0
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That is right white of her. LOL LOL No harm. No foul.
Unpublished

That is right white of her. LOL LOL No harm. No foul.

...point to ponder
714
Points
...point to ponder 06/28/13 - 08:16 am
5
0
Seems tickets could be found...

Seems the Sheriff's department could help out identifying the tickets issued... They wrote them. They must have a system in place that keeps tabs of tickets from each shift and precinct?

Each deputy can go into their ticket book and identify those issued on Riverwatch....

Surely there is someone bright enough in the Solititor's office to get the job done with the Sheriffs help.

This is a government/beaucratic problem which they caused. They need to fix it for all those issued tickets and not put it on their backs to come forward. *think about it... What if they don't live here...what if they don't get the newspaper except for weekends?

The pressure is on our elected officials to get it right.

JRC2024
8036
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JRC2024 06/28/13 - 08:24 am
5
0
Tickets cost. I got a ticket

Tickets cost. I got a ticket last July going 80 on a 70 mph interstate. Ticket cost $125.00 but my insurance went up $400 a year and in Georgia it stays on your record for 5 years. Total cost $2125.00. Travelers took away my safe driver discount and also penalized me for the ticket. Never mind no ticket in the past 25+ years. Money money money

Riverman1
79476
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Riverman1 06/28/13 - 09:03 am
4
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As JTF noted, LL first

As JTF noted, LL first brought this issue of the bogus speed limit sign up. Thanks to Steve Crawford for the article.

thauch12
6138
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thauch12 06/28/13 - 09:07 am
4
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On a more philosophical

On a more philosophical level, this just goes to show there is really no rhyme or reason why any speed is set as a "speed limit." Is there anyone who seriously believes there is a logical reason why I would be "safer" doing 45 on Riverwatch instead of 55? Or better yet why the speed limit on that same road suddenly dips to 35 below the I-20 bridge? It's all a money-making racket in the name of "public safety." While I'm not saying it's prudent to drive recklessly, I have to question the underlying logic of these tickets when their main aim seems to be to line the coffers of the RCSO/county.

dizzy dictator
87
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dizzy dictator 06/28/13 - 09:08 am
5
0
Kudos to Augusta Chronicle

Why should anyone have to miss work in order to correct this. I wonder if you have to go back to court or maybe send in the information with a letter explaining your situation. Why not communicate through e-mail. How do the out of town visitors handle this matter? Really, the courts have to decide how they want to handle this, emails, letters, phone calls, or a bunch of people showing up. If your insurance already went up, you may want a copy of this article and a letter from the courts to show your ticket was thrown out.

Little Lamb
43847
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Little Lamb 06/28/13 - 09:23 am
5
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Look at the photo

Read the caption under the photo. These speed limit signs are supposed to be temporary. The city should not allow the contractor to use a normal-looking city speed limit sign for construction activity. The contractor should use a special construction sign, like those orange signs that reputable construction contractors use. When they put up a temporary sign, there should be orange warnings put up before the actual speed limit changes.

In Alabama, the temporary signs say something like, "Speed limit reduced to 45 when workers are present."

But then, this is Augusta.

GiantsAllDay
9063
Points
GiantsAllDay 06/28/13 - 11:11 am
2
3
What if someone was

What if someone was mistakenly pulled over for speeding and was arrested for another crime, DUI, drugs in vehicle, etc. Fruits of the forbidden tree. Those cases should be dismissed as well.

belle
301
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belle 06/28/13 - 11:18 am
0
0
Fairness
Unpublished

If they were driving 60 or more they should keep their ticket. They knew they were speeding. As for GiantsAllDay's comment, those crimes won't hold up in court if the stop was illegal.

loyaldriver555
5
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loyaldriver555 06/28/13 - 11:39 am
3
0
Can only reduce under certain conditions.

I recieved my ticket May 1st. Was doing 60 in the supposedly 45. By the way this post is written. The contractor only could reduce the speedlimit if there was one lane open. ALL LANES WERE OPEN and it was still reduced. The solictor's office said, "All tickets issued up till June 5th, from 9AM - 3PM are still valid. This is so wrong!

Michael Ryan
605
Points
Michael Ryan 06/28/13 - 11:45 am
5
0
Something about the local

Something about the local solicitor’s comments on the River Watch speeding ticket debacle didn’t sit well with us. But we weren’t sure what it was.
Then you all figured it out for us. How bogus for the county to write bad tickets and then expect motorists to be responsible for the fix.
Editorial to follow! Thanks for the inspiration!

Sean Moores
832
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Sean Moores 06/28/13 - 11:51 am
4
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Benefits from commenters

We get many benefits from our online commenters:

Thanks everybody.

onethickdiva
1558
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onethickdiva 06/28/13 - 02:50 pm
3
0
Mission Impossible?

Let me get this straight, motorist who received a ticket have the burden to get this issue resolved? I'm assuming word of mouth through this article on social media sites will do the trick? What about those that do not live in Augusta? If one of said motorist DIDNT pay the ticket, I'm sure there is a system that would make sure a warrant was issued.

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