Thousands of local motorists have been hit with speeding tickets from New Orleans traffic cameras this year, especially with the number of cameras nearly doubling since January, when 55 new locations were added.Of course it's bad enough when the bounty is collected by a faceless contractor via some camera robot. It's different when an actual bounty hunter is empowered to kidnap you.
One of the new locations is on Leake Avenue near Short Street, the route Joyce Hamilton has used to commute to work for the past 36 years. She said she was shocked when she received a citation in the mail.
“I was like, ‘Where is this camera? Where is this speed limit sign? I drive on that street almost every day and I had no idea,” Hamilton said.
Turns out that hundreds of other drivers also had no clue, because the city didn’t install a new 25 mile-per-hour speed limit sign until May 11, city records show.
When Egana couldn’t make payments on his bail bond fee, a bounty hunter arrested him at work. He was taken to Blair’s Bail Bonds and told he needed to find someone to pay $800 if he didn’t want to go to jail. Egana’s mother emptied her savings account to pay the money. After arriving at the office, she was told she had to pay an additional $1,500.
On another occasion, a bounty hunter grabbed Egana on his way to court in Orleans Parish. He refused to listen to Egana’s pleas to allow him to attend court, telling him that he would soon have a warrant for his arrest. He dragged Egana across the street, handcuffed him inside of the Blair’s Bail Bonds office and held him against his will for hours until his family brought money.
The bounty hunter told Egana: “We will see how much money we will get today!”