TAMARAC, Fla. – Red light cameras are supposed to help prevent accidents. But one South Florida woman claims it nearly endangered her life.
"I was throwing up. I was doubled over. I didn't know what it was," said Shelley Rappaport.
Rappaport says she wasn't sure she was going to make it. But as they approached the left turn into University Hospital, the light turned red. The road was clear so her friend slowed down and carefully went through the intersection. This was, after all, an emergency.
"Lou said to me, 'Should I wait?' And I said, 'Go.' I mean it was terrible," she said.
Turns out, a kidney stone was to blame for Rappaport's symptoms. The stone eventually passed, but insult followed injury when she received a red light camera violation from the City of Tamarac, and a $158 fine.
Upon closer look, you can see the flashes from the camera as they went through the light.
Rappaport decided to challenge the violation at city hall, thinking the hearing officer would certainly understand.
"I had all expectations that it was going to be thrown out," she said.
But the city-paid magistrate had no sympathy.
"It was literally a life or death situation," Rappaport said to the hearing officer.
"Ma'am I understand you're frustrated," the officer replied. "But under the statute 316.0083, that's not a defense to running a red light so I do have to find that you're in violation. But I will give you 90 days to pay the $283."
According to a city spokeswoman, that intersection is one of the most dangerous intersections in Tamarac. But Rappaport questions whether safety is really motivating the decision to keep a red light camera at the entrance to the ER.
"It appeared to me after I walked out of that hearing, that this was strictly about the money," she said. "There was no desire to be illegal, I just need to get to the ER."