Detoured Drivers Hit With Tickets After Bay Bridge Standoff

OAKLAND (KCBS / BCN) – Hundreds of drivers ordered to go through the Bay Bridge toll plaza and then turn around when the bridge was shut down during a standoff last month have received tickets for not paying the toll.

The standoff occurred the morning of Nov. 11, when Craig Carlos-Valentino, 51, of Antioch, stopped his SUV on the bridge and threatened to commit suicide.

The motorists who weren’t able to make it across the bridge that morning were either charged a toll on their FasTrak transponders or received a toll violation notice in the mail, Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said Thursday.

KCBS Holly Quan Reports

FasTrak scanners cannot be turned off, and motorists who went through the toll plaza were tagged as scofflaws. The $31 dollar fines started arriving in mail boxes a few days later.

“It’s a 15-year-old computer system, and there’s not a setting for police action. That’s not programmed into the software,” said Goodwin.

Carlos-Valentino, who had his daughter in the car and said he was distraught over marital problems, called authorities to say he had a gun and explosives in his car.

He was eventually taken into custody and the bridge was reopened.

The system sent out the notices in the mail, but after the MTC was notified of the error, those people “received another letter saying the violation has been dismissed in full,” Goodwin said.

“They don’t have to do anything,” he said. “It’s a done deal.”

Goodwin said anyone who still thinks their FasTrak account was charged between 7:15 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Nov. 11, or who received a notice for traveling through the toll plaza during those times without a subsequent dismissal letter, should report the error and it will be reversed.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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