Courts & Crime

Long arm of the law has a long memory for traffic tickets

Wendell Pope of Beaufort had nearly forgotten about the speeding ticket he received 14 years ago on U.S. 17 in northern Beaufort County.

A letter from the Beaufort County Magistrate's Office last month jogged his memory.

Pope, 46, said he was en route to Twickenham Plantation near Yemassee in 1996 for a hunting trip with his son when he was pulled over by a S.C. Highway Patrol trooper. He was clocked going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone and later given a reduced fine of $30 by former Beaufort County Magistrate Judge George Brown, Pope said.He said he paid the fine in cash and did not think about the citation again until Sept. 14, when he received a non-descript, typed letter from the Beaufort County Magistrate's Office.

It stated that he was to pay the $30 fine or have that amount, plus a $25 administrative fee, deducted from his next state income tax return."There was no official letterhead, no name at the bottom of the letter and an illegible signature," Pope said. "At first, I thought it was a scam. I thought someone had hacked into the county's system and was trying to get money from people. It looked like a letter that came from someone sitting in a bedroom in California."

It did not.

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