Beaufort News

Attorney files new complaint in Ridgeland traffic camera suit

A Columbia attorney representing three drivers ticketed by Ridgeland police has again leveled accusations of conspiracy and wire and mail fraud against the town and the company that helped launch the speed-camera program on Interstate 95.

Pete Strom of the Strom Law Firm filed a 31-page revised complaint in federal court May 27 alleging iTraffic has too much influence over police operations and that mailing tickets to alleged violators constitutes fraud.

The suit also claims the town is violating state law by mailing the tickets to drivers outside its jurisdiction.

The filing comes about a month after U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt dismissed parts of Strom's original class-action lawsuit. Blatt tossed out claims from drivers who appealed after their tickets had been dismissed and those who had already paid their tickets, according to court records.

Two drivers from Virginia and another from New Jersey are listed as plaintiffs in the latest filing, which names Mayor Gary Hodges, Police Chief Richard Woods and iTraffic as defendants. Speeding tickets against all three drivers are pending, according to court records.

Strom again cited emails between iTraffic, town and police officials to argue the company "dictates the number of hours the officers are to be in the traffic unit ... and even makes decisions regarding when to deploy officers based solely upon financial considerations."

Attorneys for iTraffic have denied those allegations, calling Strom's interpretation of the emails "pure speculation."

Ridgeland and iTraffic attorneys have 30 days to respond to Strom's latest filing, according to court records.

The lawsuit asks that Ridgeland return all fines it has collected and that the court order the town to stop issuing the tickets through the camera system.