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How was a college student ticketed for running a red light while in police custody?

Is it possible to be two places at once? According to the rules of science -- and the rules of common sense -- the answer to that question is, of course, no. However, it appears that the New York Police Department may think otherwise as it somehow managed to issue a traffic violation to a college student who was behind bars at the same time he allegedly ran a red light.

It all started back on August 3, when 26-year-old Rashad L. and a friend were pulled over for allegedly driving through two red lights. During the stop, police officers discovered several fraudulent credit cards in the center console and strewn about the floor of Rashad L.'s $150,000 Mercedes Benz.

The two men were subsequently taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of fraud. As for the ultra-luxurious Mercedes, it was booked into the 19th precinct but transported to a more secure lot in Harlem's 26 precinct for safekeeping.

Rashad L. eventually posted $3,500 bail and retrieved his car from the impound lot. However, he soon discovered that the car had sustained extensive damage.

"My back window was broken, my driver's side door was keyed, and my bumper was scratched," he said.

Adding insult to injury, he received a ticket in the mail a week later for allegedly running a red light during the time that he was being held in jail.

As it turns out, the day after the Mercedes was taken to the impound lot at the 26 precinct, it was driven to another lot in accordance with police regulations.

"While en route, the auto received a red light camera summons," said a spokesperson for the NYPD. "Officers used the West Side Highway to the Battery Tunnel heading to the pound."

While the NYPD has since indicated that it will drop the ticket, it nonetheless maintains that no officer or employee was joyriding in the Mercedes, and that no damage occurred to the vehicle while in police custody.

The dropped ticket is of little concern to Rashad L., who no longer feels comfortable riding in what he believes might be a marked car. However, he did indicate that he will likely seek compensation for the damage to the car.

"We'd like to see who is driving the car, how they got the car, where they were going with the car and whether the police department condones this action," said Rashad L.'s attorney.

Stay tuned for updates our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Daily Mail, "Driver's fury after NYPD 'took his $150k Mercedes for a joy ride' and then sent him ticket for running red light - while he was in jail," Emily Anne Epstein, Sept. 4, 2012

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