Friday, January 18, 2008

And she's only 31

Imagine how much more she could've owed if she had tried harder.

Valley woman jailed for $18,900 in tickets
Lynn Brezosky: Express-News

BROWNSVILLE — A Harlingen woman with 76 outstanding traffic violations dating back 10 years paid her way out of jail only to be picked up by police from neighboring San Benito for 10 more violations there.

The law finally caught up with 31-year-old Valerie Ortiz Sanchez in Harlingen on Monday, when a motorcycle officer spotted her expired registration sticker. The officer ran a warrant check and took her in, police spokesman David Osborne said.

She owed $18,896 in traffic fines.

Ortiz Sanchez paid $1,500 to get out of jail Wednesday afternoon and then was taken to jail in San Benito.

San Benito Director of Public Safety Orlando Garcia said she would remain there until next week, when she finishes serving time for the $2,718 she owes.

After that, a Harlingen justice of the peace will be waiting with warrants on five more traffic charges.

Osborne said Ortiz Sanchez was stopped repeatedly over the years but failed to pay her fines or show up for court. She was arrested in 2005 but defaulted on the payment arrangements she made with the court.

Although warrants may have shown up on traffic stops since then, the stops occurred after hours when officers could not obtain or verify them for an arrest, Osborne said.
Ortiz Sanchez may be a scofflaw, but she does not hold the record.

"A gentleman in 2005 was arrested in a warrant round, and he had just over 80 fines and warrants and owed somewhere close to $40,000," Osborne said.