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Unjustly accused of running red traffic light


To the Editor:

It's been approximately 758 days since the city of Beaverton stole $382 from me. The city claimed that I ran a traffic light at Allen and Lombard.

I am 90 years old today, and I have never, ever run a red light in my life. And when you are essentially living on Social Security benefits, $382 is a lot of money.

And at least 288 nights I have written this letter in my mind. I'm sick and tired of it! So I'm finally writing it on my 90th birthday.

We were on our way to the Bethel United Church of Christ on Watson and Sixth Avenue, traveling on Allen. I think we were the only car on Allen. A lovely morning, and we were in no hurry. I think it was the last Sunday in July 2011.

I have never run a traffic light in my life. For many years in the '60s and '70s as a salesman for the New York Merchandise Company, The Seeman Company and Allied Distributors, I drove in Oregon and Southwest Washington 30,000 to 50,000 miles a year. I never had an accident nor a flagrant traffic ticket.

The only traffic violation ticket I ever received was after I had retired, and we were on our way to Roseburg on a Christmas Eve, we had dinner in Albany. My left arm was killing me (and it still is), so I left my seat belt off, anticipating putting it on at the next rest stop. I got pulled over and fined for $85. That's the only ticket I have ever received.

I have never run a traffic light, nor did I run this one. We were to pick up an elderly lady at a senior complex on Erickson. Church began at 10 a.m. at the Bethel church at Sixth and Watson (a mile away), and our assumed violation was at about 9:40, so we were in no hurry.

I did not run this traffic light, although three judges said I did. The nice young lady from the city tried to explain how there could be two cars waiting to enter from Lombard to Allen and were still waiting when the video showed me about a half block west on Allen. If I had run the red light, then their light would have been green, and they would not have been still waiting there to enter on Allen.

She tried to explain it to me, but I was so upset I didn't understand what she was saying, something about tripping something in the street. I think it must have been a malfunction of the video camera, because I did not run through that stop light!

I often wonder (if) anyone else has been victimized by the malfunction of this video system.

My dear wife paid the $382 fine. I wasn't going to pay it. I was ready to go to jail! Another thing: You can ask many people who have ridden in the car with me, and they will tell you that I am the most courteous and cautious driver they've ever ridden with. I never tailgate, never switch lanes rapidly, always obey the rules and I never run through red lights!

In the 758 days since I was robbed of $382, I probably have written this letter in my head while trying to go to sleep at least 288 times. I'm tired of it! So to celebrate my 90th birthday on the 18th of January, I'm finally writing it. I feel better already!

I hope someone can rectify this travesty. Copies (have) been sent to those who might be able to.

Dale F. Miller

Eldorado Villas