Barrow County drivers having speeding fines refunded due to misplaced signs

BARROW COUNTY, Ga. — Speeders in one metro county who paid big fines will be getting their money back.

The Barrow County sheriff says it’s the right thing to do, all because a road sign was put in the wrong spot.

“It didn’t take long for me to realize that it’s not within the law,” said sheriff Jud Smith. “We’ve got to do what’s right and refund those funds that were taken from the people that were cited.”

It’s a sigh of relief for Denise Demeritte.

She has paid $550 in fines for three speeding tickets she received from a speed enforcement camera on Highway 11 in Bethlehem.

Now, the county says she’s getting all of that money back.

“That’s wonderful. Thank you for telling me that,” said Demeritte.

Smith says he’s refunding all speeding tickets sent out by the camera since it was installed last year, because he says the county discovered one of the signs that warns drivers about the camera was installed incorrectly, in violation of state law.

“One of the signs in one of the lanes is 419 feet too soon, so too early,” said Smith.

The county installed the speed enforcement zones around eight schools across the county at the beginning of the school year.

“I can say we’ve reduced speeding in all of our school zones across the county by 92%,” said Smith.

Each driver who received a ticket in the speed zone received a fine of at least $100.

Demeritte, like many people, believe the county is using the speed zones to fill the county’s bank account.

“They’re trying to get money,” said Demeritte. “They’re trying to collect money.”

But the sheriff says he doesn’t receive a penny of those fines.

“The money is going to the school system. It’s not going to us,” said Smith. “People will twist it how they see fit, but it’s going to the school system.”

Smith says the Highway 11 speed zone will be fixed and back in operation soon.