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Woman receives 5 photo speeding tickets after Kia stolen and totaled

Says she is struggling to buy new car
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Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-16 19:44:34-05

BROOKLYN, Ohio — A woman’s Kia was stolen right out of her driveway in September. The second blow came in the mail when she received five photo speeding tickets.

"I call them like, 'You all didn't see that this vehicle was stolen?' 'No ma'am you have to come up here.' 'I don't have a way,'” Cherrisse Ellis said.

Ellis, a mother and grandmother who is at her wit's end, reached out to News 5 Investigators.

Ellis says it’s been a nightmare dealing with a stolen car, her insurance dragging its feet and then speeding tickets issued when she wasn’t even driving.

It’s like throwing salt on an open wound.

"I came home one day and I had one ticket. Come home the next day, I got two tickets,” Ellis said.

They just kept coming in the mail.

Photo speeding tickets including one out of Parma and the rest out of Newburgh Heights.

That was the second blow.

"I didn't pay for a vehicle to get stolen,” said Ellis. Ellis had just gone into her house. She then poked her head out the door to check the alarm on her Kia.

"I look in the driveway again and I said, 'Hey, my car is gone,'” Ellis said.

Instead of getting ready for work the next day, she was on the phone with police.

Six days later, her Kia was recovered by Cleveland police on East 93rd Street on the city’s east side.

The car was in bad shape after it flipped and hit a utility pole.

“I can't go meet clients because I have no car,” she said. Ellis said her frustration mounted, going back and forth with her insurance for months to file a claim and ask for a rental.

"I have no rental car. I have no way to work. I'm this much from being unemployed because I'm borrowing other people's cars to get to work,” she said. She’s now struggling to get a new car.

"It's like we're being punished just to have a car just to be able to take care of family needs,” Ellis said.

Ellis got five tickets in the mail for nearly a thousand dollars in fines, the majority from Newburgh Heights. The first citation was dated the day after her Kia was stolen.

We went to the Village Hall to talk with Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy.

We first found out Ellis isn’t liable for the Newburgh Heights tickets.

"She had 4, they were all dismissed,” Majoy said.

But should the system that tickets cars regardless of who’s driving be re-evaluated?

The chief says no.

News 5 Investigators asked if it shows a flaw with the automated camera system or program.

"No, because the system doesn't discriminate, so basically, you're either speeding or you're not speeding. It does not run the car through the system to find out whether it's stolen or anything of the sort,” Majoy said.

In one speed camera video, you can’t tell who’s behind the wheel.

"It's still part of the investigation to at least look at these, because you never know what may turn up,” Majoy said. Ellis is now expecting better news in the mail, a check from her insurance company. She has some words for the car thieves.

"Just stop, they're ruining people's lives, they're literally ruining people's lives and the ability to take care of their family for the people who go to work. We're not asking for this,” Ellis said.

Parma Municipal Court said Ellis is not liable for their ticket either.

We asked if you have to call the courts about the status once filing your police report to see if it has been dismissed and we’re told that you do.

Chief Majoy said to look on the back of the ticket; stolen car is listed as a defense.

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