Of late, the North Texas Tollway Authority has been testing out a host of new methods to encourage drivers to pay their tolls. The agency will block your vehicle registration and impound your car. It will publicly shame you. It will sue you.
Sometimes, though, nothing works as well as a good, old-fashioned jailing, like the one given to alleged toll scofflaw Florence Moka.
According to the NTTA, Moka racked up more than $14,000 in fines and fees driving on North Texas toll roads, which is a lot. But it's also a far cry from the six figures racked up by the most egregious offenders. So why Moka?
The short answer is that not only did she ignore repeated mailings from the NTTA -- which, however much its leaders might wish to the contrary, does not have police powers -- she also ignored an order to appear before Collin County Justice of the Peace Mike Yarbrough.
"These are two warrants for failure to appear in court on citations issued by DPS for failure to pay tolls," says NTTA spokesman Michael Rey. "These failure-to-appear warrants are issued by the court -- not NTTA -- when the violator fails to show up in court for the hearing on the citations."
Moka was still in jail this morning, being held on a $365 bond, records show.
According to a 2012 NTTA newsletter, the agency sends 15,000 toll violation cases to JP courts each year. These sometimes result in arrests -- back when he was at the Star-Telegram, Dave Lieber wrote about a woman jailed over an $11 toll bill -- but such cases seem to be rare.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
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