Nfld. & Labrador

Fine day for a drive: driver pulled over in St. John's had $158K in unpaid fines

You could buy a house in St. John's for that much.

Driver, 33, also didn't have a licence or insurance

Police in St. John's busted a driver on Thursday who owed $158,000 in outstanding fines. (CBC)

Newfoundland police are calling it "extraordinary"— officers recently stopped a driver who owes $158,000 in unpaid fines.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says the 33-year-old man was allegedly caught driving with a suspended driver's licence and no insurance on Thursday morning in St. John's.

Officers also discovered the man owes $158,000 in outstanding fines, and he was held for a court appearance.

"This is extraordinarily high compared to what I would normally see," said Const. Geoff Higdon in an interview on Friday. "When we're doing these stops, you never know what you're going to find."

$10,000, even $20,000 fines are not uncommon, says Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Const. Geoff Higdon. But $158k? That's "extraordinary." (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Higdon said outstanding fines of $10,000 and even $20,000 are not uncommon, as fines for infractions such as driving without insurance can quickly rack up for repeat offenders.

But he conceded $158,000 in unpaid fines is unusual.

Higdon said it's possible the fines are not all related to driving infractions.

"When an individual is stopped with outstanding fines, it doesn't necessary mean the fines were all accumulated for violations under the Highway Traffic Act," said Higdon. "It could have been fines handed down as a result of other violations of provincial regulations."

Higdon said police are not responsible for enforcing fine payments.

Someone who is pulled over for a driving infraction who also has a high amount of unpaid fines would be held for court rather than being issued a ticket, as was the case for this driver, he said.