By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
INOLA, OK -- An Inola man has found himself stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare. Joe Hines was pulled over for an expired tag, given a ticket, had his car impounded and was left standing on the side of a busy highway during morning rush hour in the rain and - his tag was never expired.
"This has been such a mess. I can't believe it, you know?" said Joe Hines.
Joe Hines was in his United Parcel Service uniform, driving his 1988 Honda to work on Tuesday. He was pulled over just past where Highway 169 meets the Broken Arrow Expressway in heavy traffic.
"I'm sitting there wondering what in the world is going on and he walks up to me and tells me my tag is expired, it was due in 2000," Hines said.
Hines knew his tag is current, it even has the 2010 sticker on it, and he had paperwork with him showing the car was tagged in 2009.
But, the officer wrote him a ticket, and Hines called his wife for a ride.
"I call her back and say he's going to impound my car," Joe Hines of Inola said. "I'll probably be standing here on the highway and she is, 'you've got to be kidding me, he's going to leave you standing on the highway?'"
And, that's exactly what happened and it started to rain.
Joe's wife had to close up her flower shop to go get her husband. They went to the tag agency and sure enough, the tag was current, but the computer said 2000 instead of 2010.
However, had the officer run the number on the 2010 sticker, it would've shown it was current.
Hines then spent hours trying to get his car back.
"She says ‘are you going to wait?' I said, I have no choice. She said hold on a minute and goes in and comes back out and says, ‘This is your lucky day.'
"Oh, yeah? I can't wait until tomorrow," Hines said.
Hines did get his car back and the $148 dollar towing fee was waived. The $100 ticket was dismissed.
He is out the entire day's wages, though, all for something that was never wrong in the first place.
The reason Joe had the old style plate with the 2010 sticker is because there was a shortage of new plates early on, so customers were given the sticker and then mailed the actual plate.
Ironically, Joe got his Thursday night.
The tax commission sent a letter to state troopers, letting them know not to write tickets if they saw the old style plate with the new sticker.