City says clerical error caused woman to get stranger's red light ticket

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- A Mount Vernon woman said she received a red light camera ticket in the mail for someone else's illegal move.

When Cassandra Martinez opened her mail, she said she was shocked to find a ticket and a picture of a big black truck running a red light in Bellevue. The problem she said is it's not her truck. Martinez' truck is a '72 Chevy on wood blocks in her garage. She said she hasn't been able to drive it for six years.

The Mount Vernon woman said there was a mix-up with the license plate. Her truck's plate ends in an "E," the other truck in the photo ends in an "F."

Martinez said she called the city and was told it's a clerical error, but she would still need to come to the city and dispute the ticket in front of a judge. Martinez said there isn't a way to do that without taking an entire day off of work.

"I mean the license plates are different, it was a clerical error, I don’t understand how a police officer would have even signed this ticket, because the fact that it was a black Dodge that was newer, and you’re saying it’s my '72 Chevy pickup," she said. "I think If someone had paid attention to their job, this probably would not have happened."

Martinez said she's already spent an entire day on the phone with a city she hasn't visited in over 20 years.

Officer Seth Tyler with the Bellevue Police Department says there is a simple fix that seems to be missed along the way. Each ticket has a check box on the back; an affidavit stating you were not at fault for the ticket.

All she had to do originally, Tyler said, is check that box saying she wasn't the driver at fault and send it in. The city would have noticed the error, Tyler said, and corrected it.

Tyler said Martinez can still contact the city and cancel her hearing with the judge by saying she plans to fill out the affidavit.