PAMPLICO, SC (WMBF) - An unpaid speeding ticket after more than 20 years is now surfacing.
The Pamplico Magistrate's Office is sending collection notices to one man who never knew about the ticket. The offices summoned John Norton to appear in court on Thursday morning.
WMBF News went to the court appearance to listen in on what happened. Judge Kimberly Cox began by stating the court appearance is between John Norton versus the South Carolina Setoff Debt Collection.
Cox handed Norton the speeding ticket and made a copy of it for proof. It was issued by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The date of violation listed on the ticket dates back to Jan. 17, 1993 in the town of Pamplico, with a trial date of May 26, 1993.
The ticket states Norton did not appear in court, he was tried guilty and owes a $70 fine, which Norton still has not paid.
Cox said because Norton never showed up and contesting has passed, Norton does not have a right to request a jury, which he asked for during court.
When asked why Norton is just now finding out about the ticket, Cox said she has hired a new clerk who has gone through the South Carolina Setoff Debt Collection System. It pulls any citations that may or may not have been paid.
"I don't care what they lose or what they throw away," Norton said. "If they tell me it's a valid ticket, it has been dealt with and either paid in the past or dealt with as it should have legally been done. That is my way of doing business for 80-plus years."
Norton said he tried to trace back his driving records to as far as 10 years ago, which is as far back as the database allows, and could not find any outstanding ticket.
"I was never notified of any happenings that were so called tried in absentia," he said. "This morning is the first time I have heard of that."
Norton has taken his grievance to highest SCHP office in Columbia, as well as the one in Florence and the chief magistrate's office in Lake City.
According to Norton, he lived in Florence during the time of ticket and drove through Pamplico for years to get lumber.
"I have paid my dues around here," he said. "Why, at this late date, are they singling me out along with others? I talked with one other person that had almost identical happenings."
The judge and the clerk at the magistrate's office said they are just doing their job.
Norton said at the end of court the $70 is not coming out of his pocket willingly. The judge said the money will be taken out from his income tax return next year.