Former deputy constable under investigation

January 24, 2009 2:56:42 AM PST
A former Harris County Precinct 7 Deputy Constable is now under investigation, accused of avoiding tolls on Houston-area toll roads. Eyewitness News has leaned he may have quite a bill. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Sources tell us the deputy constable owes the Harris County Toll Road Authority hundreds of dollars in unpaid fines. He was terminated by the Precinct 7 constable amid an investigation into whether he violated a law he was paid to enforce.

There are two ways to use the Sam Houston Tollway: stop and pay in cash or zip through with an EZ Tag. Some drivers, despite the violation cameras overhead, try to create their own way.

"There have been times where people have been very creative in violating our system," said Lawanda House of the HCTRA.

Eyewitness News has learned one time happened this week. A Harris County Precinct 7 deputy constable assigned to catch speeders and violators on the toll way is now being investigated for violating the laws of the toll road himself.

Sources tell Eyewitness News after his shift in his patrol car, he would cover up the license plate on his personal car so he could use the toll road but avoid paying the toll and get away with it.

"Yes it is illegal for people to either obscure their license plates or conceal their license plate or not pay a toll and go through our toll booths," said House.

Because the case is now in the hands of the district attorney's office, House did not want to discuss the details.

Precinct 7 released a statement saying, "We recently received information from Toll Road Authorities about an investigation they conducted regarding a Harris County Precinct 7 Deputy. An internal investigation by Precinct 7 officials is ongoing."

Precinct 7 also tells us the deputy has been terminated and he's now being counted among the thousands who try to cheat the system.

"We want people to know that it's not legal to go through our system and not pay a toll," said House.

We are not releasing the deputy's name because he has not been charged with a crime yet although Precinct 7 tells us he had worked for them for more than eight years. The crime he is being investigated for is a Class B Misdemeanor. If convicted, the offense is punishable by a $200 fine.

Statistics from the Harris County Toll Road Authority shows about 450,000 drivers use area toll roads each weekday.

The latest numbers on violations from February 2008, show the HCTRA mailed out close to 93,000 toll violations.

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