Greenville man files lawsuit against city's red-light cameras


GREENVILLE, Pitt County - The City of Greenville hopes a new red-light camera program will make this and other intersections safer. But one Greenville man has filed a lawsuit against them.

William Kozel said the goal of the lawsuit isn't to take the cameras away but to make sure they're catching intentional red-light runners. Kozel argues the yellow-light intervals are too short, which will punish drivers who are unable to stop fast enough.

The red-light cameras will go into effect at five intersections in Greenville. For the first month, you'll get a warning if you're caught. After that, you can face a $100 fine. These intersections include:

-- Charles Boulevard and 14th Street -- Charles Boulevard and Fire Tower Road -- Arlington Boulevard and Fire Tower Road -- Arlington Boulevard and Greenville Boulevard -- Arlington Boulevard and South Memorial Drive

Those intersections were chosen based upon their accident potential following an analysis of red-light running and collisions.

"He's a taxpayer and under the law, any taxpayer has standing to prevent the misuse of public funds," said Paul Stam, Kozel's attorney.

"The reason they're too short is that they misuse an equation that defies the laws of physics that are in effect everywhere in the known universe unless you're traveling at the speed of light."

Since Greenville City Council hasn't received the formal lawsuit paperwork, officials there turned down a chance to comment on it. Councilman Calvin Mercer said the city has no intention of unfairly fining drivers.

"If there's any question, the citizen can certainly review the video and talk to our police officers who are handling this," Mercer said.

Revenue generated by fines will go to Pitt County Schools. Mercer said the city's goal isn't to make money but to encourage safer driving habits.

"We did an analysis of the most dangerous intersections are and that's where we're putting the red light cameras," Mercer said.

The yellow lights aren't the only reason Kozel is suing. A letter obtained from his attorney claims Pitt County Schools won't get the amount of money they're supposed to from the program. City Council isn't commenting on that.

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