Entries in License Plate (2)


Trucker Pulls License Plate Switcheroo to Evade NY/NJ Bridge Tolls

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A suspected toll evader employed James Bond-style tricks to skip tolls on the George Washington Bridge, using a device to switch the plates on his truck to avoid paying the $65 toll, according to the Port Authority Police Department.

Nelson Vaquiz, 36, of Beaverdam, Va., allegedly had a retractable front license plate that he activated before entering an E-ZPass lane on the bridge Saturday morning.  He did not have an E-ZPass device, which would have allowed him to be charged electronically.

“He had a cable hooked up to his license plate so when he drove up to the toll he was able to pull that particular cable up [and] hide his license plate from the E-Z Pass camera,” said Deputy Chief Keith Walcott of the Port Authority Police Department.

Vaquiz also bent up his rear plate so it couldn’t be read by cameras, police said.  He was arrested and charged with eluding the toll, trying to elude police officers and possession of burglary tools, Walcott said.

Vaquiz was released on bail and his truck was impounded.

Police said he went through the E-ZPass lane on the New Jersey side of the bridge with a truck carrying pipes at 6:35 a.m. Saturday.

A Port Authority police officer saw Vaquiz’s license plate drop back into place and ordered him to pull over, but he didn’t, Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said.  Other officers forced him to stop before he could go over the bridge and into New York, Marsico said.

Tolls on the George Washington Bridge were increased last month, leading to an outcry from motorists, particularly those who drive larger vehicles that are typically assessed higher fees.  Cash tolls for a five-axle truck rose from $40 to $65, and will increase to $105 on Dec. 6, 2015.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Group Wants KKK Founder Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on License Plate

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) -- The Mississippi division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans had its first specialty license plate approved in 2002. The plate has remained the same for eight years, but this year the group proposed five new designs to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

One of those designs features Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a heralded cavalry leader who also is known for commanding a massacre of black Union Army soldiers at the Battle of Fort Pillow and for being a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is the latter distinction that has some in the state calling for the plate to be denied issuance.

"I think it's offensive," said Derrick Johnson, state president of the Mississippi NAACP. "We view the Ku Klux Klan as a domestic terrorist organization and they should be treated as such," he said.

The NAACP is planning to send a letter to Gov. Haley Barbour asking that he publicly denounce the license plate and use his office to prevent it from being issued. Johnson said the plate is offensive to nearly 40 percent of the population, which is the percentage of African-Americans in the state. But supporters of the plate believe Forrest should not be dismissed because of that one time in history.

"It's been said he disavowed the Klan later in life and that puts him in the same category as former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black and former West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd," said Greg Stewart, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member.

Both Black and Byrd had early ties to the KKK but managed to not have their careers overshadowed by them.

"If you don't like him, you certainly don't have to buy it," Stewart said. According to Stewart, money from the purchase of the specialty tags will be used to restore crumbling Confederate flags that are housed in the Department of Archives and History. He hopes the attention being brought to the proposed Forrest design will raise awareness about the group's mission and the history of the Confederacy. But Johnson and the NAACP believe a state license plate is no place to honor a man with Forrest's background.

"Our position is that any heritage of hate should not be tolerated in the state of Mississippi nor in any other state in this country," Johnson said.

The design featuring Forrest is being proposed for release in 2014. A vote by the Mississippi legislature would take place in 2013.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio