HomeTop StoriesPittsburgh woman accidentally gets traffic ticket from Philadelphia

Pittsburgh woman accidentally gets traffic ticket from Philadelphia

Pittsburgh woman accidentally gets traffic ticket from Philadelphia

Pittsburgh woman accidentally gets traffic ticket from Philadelphia


WEST VIEW, Pa. (KDKA) – A case of mistaken identity led to a six-month confusion. A Pittsburgh-area woman said she has been receiving repeated reports of red light violations. The only problem: the traffic ticket is from Philadelphia, a place she’s never been.

Caroline Ydstie and her husband Matt from West View drive a blue Honda Civic. Imagine their confusion when parking tickets from the Philadelphia Parking Authority for a white Ford arrived in the mail. It says she ran a red light on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.

“They wanted $175, which seemed like a lot because they had never parked in Philly,” Caroline said.

She’s never parked in Philly, never ran a red light in Philly, and never even been to Philly. She thought it was a simple mix-up.

“The Philadelphia Parking Authority had sent me to collections at the time and when I asked them what happened they said, ‘oh, you’ll have to check with PennDOT again,’ so I emailed PennDOT and they said, ‘oh, you’ll have to go to court,’” Caroline said.

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That doesn’t happen, she said.

“That was going to cost more than what I owed for the ticket,” Caroline said.

So she called KDKA Investigations, which found the person who actually ran a red light. Spoiler alert: he’s from Philly.

His white Ford has a license plate almost identical to hers: a literal difference of one letter, from a W to an M.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority said human error while entering the license plate number into the system caused his red light to be tied to her license plate.

“The license plates were one letter off, the font is similar, so I can see someone overworked typing something wrong, but at that point they should clearly see that my wife’s name is not Elmer and that a blue Honda is The Civic no white Ford Escape,” said Matt.

It calls into question the accuracy of these red light cameras and the process behind them. They need a technician to review the red light photos, remove any errors, confirm the license plate number and send the ticket. In this situation that caused the error.

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“The copy of my registration and the form I filled out should have shown that this was not my car,” Caroline said.

But that didn’t happen until KDKA-TV started calling. So here’s what you can do to defend yourself.

View the photos and videos. Was it actually your car? Which colour? What type of car? Does this indicate that you are driving through a red light?

Understand the red light rules: In Pennsylvania, the vehicle owner is liable for the fine.

And know the penalties. A $100 fine is common, but there are several times, such as within the first 60 days of the red light being activated, when they may not fine you.

Caroline is glad she fought to keep her money.

And as for her plans to go to Philly? “Maybe with a different license plate?” she said laughing.

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Parking Authority released this statement:

“The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) apologizes to Ms. Caroline Ydstie for any inconvenience caused by an administrative registration error on the license plate that occurred when a ‘W’ was accidentally entered into the system instead of an ‘M’ – which resulted led to her being incorrectly notified of a violation intended for another vehicle. The administrative error has been corrected and Ms. Ydstie is not responsible for the violation or a fine.’

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