Created: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 09:19:00 EST
Updated: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 10:26:21 EST
Upson County Probate Judge Danielle McRae says a newly discovered backlog of unpaid tickets and Bench Warrants is the cause behind a Michigan man only now hearing about an unpaid traffic fine from 1976.
Gary Packingham of Muskegon, Michigan, says he was driving through Upson County to Plains working as a staffer for Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in 1976. He says he was stopped and given a traffic ticket for driving without a license. Packingham says he thought he paid the fine, and forgot about the incident, until recently a collections agency contacted him telling him the ticket wasn't settled.
Packingham says he thought the incident was funny, until he found out there was a bench warrant for his arrest.
"I don't have a checkered past, I'm pretty proud of my past, and to have a bench warrant is something that's not, it's a little unsettling," Packingham said. "I'm at risk for going down there to do business, and I have done consulting business in Georgia in the past two years."
Upson Probate Judge Danielle McRae tells WGXA in an e-mail that after her election into office at the start of the year, she and new sheriff Dan Kilgore were "welcomed by a huge amount of unpaid and old bench warrants."
After months of sifting through the cases, McRae says she discovered numerous bench warrants not sent to the state's Drivers License Division for failure to appear, and just recently, all outstanding cases were referred to a collection agency. McRae says the collections agency is also something new in Upson County Probate Court.
McRae did not elaborate on how many cases are now sent to collection, or how many warrants have been issued, but she did say she is in contact with Packingham, and the two are work out his case together.