21-year-old paid speeding ticket resurfaces as unpaid - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

21-year-old paid speeding ticket resurfaces as unpaid

Alexander Co. Courthouse (Source: Loreto Cruz, KFVS) Alexander Co. Courthouse (Source: Loreto Cruz, KFVS)
Collection letter addressed to James Harris (Source: Bridget Harris) Collection letter addressed to James Harris (Source: Bridget Harris)
Original ticket (Source: Bridget Harris) Original ticket (Source: Bridget Harris)
Alexander Co. fine payment reciept (Source: Bridget Harris) Alexander Co. fine payment reciept (Source: Bridget Harris)
CAIRO, IL (KFVS) -

A family recently got a blast from the past when they were ordered to pay for a speeding ticket in Alexander County that was issued more than 20 years ago.

“First of all, it was supposed to have been taken care of 21 years ago,” said Bridget Harris, wife of the defendant.

The ticket was originally issued on January 7 of 1994 when James and Bridget Harris were driving through Cairo, Ill. on their way back from vacation.

When they returned, Harris said the ticket was paid within a few weeks.

“[The County] said they had received it, so from that point, you just move on,” Harris explained.

In mid-October of 2015, Harris received a letter from Credit Collection Partners of Taylorville, Ill.

CCP was hired within the previous two months to help collect fines on Alexander County’s behalf; whereas before, the county handled collection in-house.

That's according to CCP.

Shortly before collection was handed off, the county announced  they were $1.6 million in debt.

When contacted for comment, the county’s circuit clerk said he was the only one in the office and didn’t have time to talk about it.

According to public records, a hearing was scheduled for February 9, 1994, and no records exist until October 7, 2015.

Records say the payment was due on the latter most date, and the notice Harris received was mailed out on the same day.

Bridget and James Harris were able to find their original receipt of payment from 1994, but for someone whose personal records don’t go back 21 years, payment would be mandatory.

“These aren’t dischargeable,” said CCP President Rick Bonitzer. “If you file bankruptcy, they are just going to follow you around forever. There’s nothing you can do about it if you don’t have proof.”

Bonitzer said the collection agency isn’t responsible for confirming whether or not a debt is valid, explaining they operate on county-provided records.

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