Neb. Man Pays 42-Year-Old La. Traffic Ticket, Protests Innocence

A Nebraska businessman has squared it up with the city of Baton Rouge — and himself — by paying a traffic ticket he got 42 years ago.

Bob Sweeney, president and chief executive officer of the Applied Information Management Institute in Omaha, Neb., sent a $250 check to Baton Rouge City Court in March for a ticket he received on June 16, 1964.

Although the ticket for running a red light couldn't have been for more than $50, according to City Court officials, Sweeney said he felt he owed more.

"I try to lead an honest life," he said. "I look at the extra money as accrued interest."

Sweeney said found the old ticket a few months ago while cleaning out his desk.

Despite paying the fine, Sweeney said he still does not believe the signal light was red when he drove through an intersection. In a letter he sent to the court along with his check, Sweeney still protested.

The ticket "states I ran a red light," the note says. "I did not, if you believe me after 40 years."

His wife, Donna, supports her husband's story.

"We had the four kids in the back seat and it was hot as blue blazes," she said. "I remember saying `Oh Bob, its yellow, you made it through before it turned red.'"

A nearby patrol officer obviously disagreed, stopping the car and issuing the citation.

Sweeney said he would have paid the ticket if he had not forgotten about it.

"I just stuck it in my desk," he said. "It got lost in the shuffle."