Traffic Camera Rolls Include Plenty of Notable Names

By Jeff Raasch, Reporter

A Gatso USA systems engineer makes adjustments to the red light camera aimed at the northbound lanes at the intersection of Edgewood Rd. NE and 42nd St. NE on Thursday, April 8, 2010, in northeast Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Traffic cameras in Cedar Rapids caught one family’s car six times in the first three months they were operating. Nearly 7,000 speeding and red light citations were issued to motorists through the end of June, according to data acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. Six of them went to Brian and Joan Humes, of Chesterfield, Mo. Sam Warning, a 17-year-old hockey player for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, has been driving their car around the city. Contacted by The Gazette, he said he wasn’t sure if he committed the violations, or if his mother or stepfather did when they were visiting him. Warning said he didn’t know where the traffic cameras were positioned. “They just sent me a bunch (of speeding citations) at one time,” Warning said. The cameras have caught police officers, public officials, members of the media and others since they debuted in Cedar Rapids in March. Former Linn County Attorney Harold Denton got a ticket. So did former KCRG-TV9 reporter Claire Kellett. Vehicles registered to Mayor Ron Corbett and Linn County Supervisor Jim Houser also were busted. They say their wives were driving. “Nobody’s immune from these things,” Police Chief Greg Graham said. “Fortunately, I haven’t gotten one yet.” Mariannette Miller-Meeks, GOP nominee for U.S. House in the 2nd District, said a car registered to her and her husband got a speeding ticket from one of the downtown cameras. She said she likely wasn’t behind the wheel, because she usually has a driver. Still, since the vehicle was registered to her, Miller-Meeks said she paid the citation immediately. She said she believes the cameras violate due process. “From my viewpoint, are you in fact being convicted and guilty of a crime without due process?” Miller-Meeks said. “The whole idea of cameras looking upon people in case a crime is committed goes to the issue of, is it a preempt of guilt before you’ve done anything.” The cameras currently monitor seven intersections, and an eighth corner will be watched later this summer. Speeders on Interstate 380 are also being photographed, as are motorists who drive by a red Jeep that can be parked anywhere. The mobile speed camera saw Cassie Willis, the public information officer for the city of Cedar Rapids, going 66 mph in a 55 mph zone on Highway 100 in March. She said she paid the $75 fine immediately. “I have a terrible habit of speeding,” Willis wrote in an e-mail. “It drives my husband crazy. I need to learn to follow the law!” Denton, who got his citation May 31 while he was still the county attorney, said he was caught speeding not far from the courthouse. “I sent ‘em the money,” said Denton, chuckling. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that a Davenport ordinance allowing the red light cameras did not violate state law. It cleared the way for other Iowa cities to move toward the automated enforcement. Denton said he wouldn’t rule out another legal challenge, though. “It’s America, and there are a lot of lawyers,” Denton said. “Anything is possible.” List of Traffic Camera Violators:

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