A man caught speeding down a Georgia freeway was bewildered when cops slapped him with a $1.4 million ticket last month.
Connor Cato was driving home through Savannah on Sept. 2 when the Georgia State Patrol caught him doing 90 in a 55-mile-per-hour zone, he admitted to WSAV-TV.
While he expected a hefty fine, Cato was astounded when he was handed the seven-figure charge.
He called the court, assuming the fee was a typo, but reportedly was told he either had to pay the sum or appear in court.
“‘$1.4 million,’ the lady told me on the phone. I said, ‘This might be a typo’ and she said, ‘No, sir, you either pay the amount on the ticket or you come to court on Dec. 21 at 1:30 p.m.,’” he told the local outlet.
Criminal defense attorney Sneh Patel said he had never seen such a high fine for a misdemeanor.
“Not $1.4 million — that’s something that goes into cases that are drug trafficking, murders or aggravated assaults, something of that nature,” he told WSAV.
Luckily for Cato, the massive price actually was a “placeholder” that he was never expected to pay.
The staggering figure was generated by e-citation software used by the local Recorder’s Court that is automatically applied to “super speeders,” anyone caught going more than 35 miles over the speed limit, said Joshua Peacock, a spokesman for Savannah’s city government.
A judge will set the real fine — which cannot exceed $1,000, plus state-mandated costs — at the mandatory court appearance.
“We do not issue that placeholder as a threat to scare anybody into court, even if this person heard differently from somebody in our organization,” Peacock said in a statement.
“The programmers who designed the software used the largest number possible because super speeder tickets are a mandatory court appearance and do not have a fine amount attached to them when issued by police.”
The city has been using the new system since 2017, but is “working on adjusting the placeholder language to avoid any confusion.”