Former Durham bus driver 'no-show' on fines; turned over to coll - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former Durham bus driver 'no-show' on fines; turned over to collections

Former Durham bus driver 'no-show' on fines; turned over to collections

Anderson was a no-show in court for his final date to pay over $1000 in outstanding fines. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Anderson was a no-show in court for his final date to pay over $1000 in outstanding fines. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Anderson wrecked his school bus while driving on a suspended license in September. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Anderson wrecked his school bus while driving on a suspended license in September. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - City court gave him more than 60 days of second chances, despite wrecking a Durham School Services bus while driving on a suspended license.

Now 25-year-old Tommy Anderson will be lucky to drive anything ever again.

Monday, his definitive pay-by date, Anderson was a no-show in court. He hasn't paid a dime of more than $1,000 in fines and unpaid traffic tickets.

"After he is stopped again, and if he's charged with driving under a suspended or revoked license, that will be turned over to (Shelby) county, and that will be a felony," said Memphis Municipal Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon.

Sugarmon said by statute, Anderson's fines would be turned over to a collections attorney. He said city court doesn't have contempt authority. It can't incarcerate somebody for unpaid fines. It can only jail someone for court disturbances.

"If we do lock somebody up, we have to pay the county a per diem every day they are incarcerated, and, of course, that gets cost-prohibitive," Sugarmon said.

Sugarmon first ordered Anderson to pay the fines Nov. 5, two months to the date after he wrecked his Durham School Services bus while on route for Treadwell Middle School. No one was hurt, but it was discovered he was driving the bus on a suspended license for nearly $900 in unpaid traffic tickets since 2010. Records revealed he incurred all but one while employed as a Durham school bus driver. The company missed his motor vehicle record on its background check.

At his second court appearance Dec. 8, Anderson revealed he hadn't paid any of the fines. A contract judge filling in for Sugarmon added a $210 fine for non-payment for a total of $1,106.25. She ordered Anderson to pay it all by Jan. 12.

"I'm not sure of the exact amount. I'm working on it," Anderson told WMC Action News 5 after he left court Dec. 8.

Monday, Memphis city court clerk records revealed Anderson still hadn't paid any of the fines. We asked Sugarmon if he thought Anderson was playing the system.

"I'm not going to comment on that," Sugarmon answered. "If he wants to get a job, if he wants to get his license back, (he must pay the fines). If he continues to drive and gets caught again, it becomes a felony."

Anderson's case is part of an on-going WMC Action News 5 investigation that prompted Durham's top executives to promise Shelby County Schools and the county's six municipal districts safety enhancements to their school bus transportation contracts, including the re-screening of every driver's criminal and motor vehicle record.

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