Jump to content

The Queen Of The EZ Tag Violators

Recommended Posts

I wonder how many times this woman was running through the EZ Tag lanes to run up this much. Further down in the article it says she's an employee of United Recovery Systems, a debt collection company that used to be in the same building I worked in. They seemed to have a habit of hiring criminals; in the three years I worked in the same building as them I saw at least 10 arrests of their employees take place, and they used to really trash our restrooms and public areas. Everyone was thrilled when they built their own building and moved out.


No EZ ride for EZ Tag scofflaw

Woman who piled up $17,651 in fines is caught in sting and jailed


Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Carlos Javier Sanchez/Chronicle

Legally tagged vehicles use the EZ Tag lane on the West Sam Houston Parkway Thursday.

For Marcella Adams, getting around town Wednesday wasn't easy.

Adams was pulled over after sailing her EZ Tag-less Mazda 626 through an EZ Tag lane at the toll plaza on the West Sam Houston Parkway North.

"From time to time, we do EZ Tag stings," said Calvin Harvey, coordinator for the Incident Management Division of the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

Pulled over for the offense, most drivers receive a citation. But Adams, evidently, is a true fan of the EZ Tag lanes, if not the actual EZ Tags.

Adams has managed to amass $17,651.25 in fines and violations for misusing EZ Tag lanes since March 2003, Harvey said.

Adams was caught in a previous sting, Harvey said. The Harris County Attorney's Office has a judgment against her for misusing EZ Tag lanes, but Harvey said Adams not only never paid what she owed, "she kept on violating."

Assistant County Attorney John Barnhill was unable Thursday to say how much Adams owed from the earlier judgment. Her file has been turned over to the law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson for collection, he said.

Other motorist owed $426

Adams' achievement put her at the top of the scofflaw standings during Wednesday's sting operation; in distant second place was a fellow who owed $426 for violations, Harvey said. Eleven other EZ bandits, among more than 40 offenders spotted, got citations, he said.

"Those were the ones we were able to stop," he said. "We try to catch as many as we can."

Jonnie Bryant, spokeswoman for the toll road authority, said about 60,000 letters are mailed to violators each month.

Not all of the recipients, however, are true violators, she said. Some are legitimate EZ Tag users who have forgotten to update the authority when their credit card expiration date changed.

Art Storey, who oversees the toll road authority as executive director of the county's Public Infrastructure Department, said EZ tag fraud takes a heavy hit on taxpayers annually.

The county attorney's office handled EZ tag collections until several years ago, when it became overwhelmed by them, he said. Now, the county has used Linebarger for collections. State law permits the firm to impose a collection penalty on violators.

Drivers provide a credit card number to obtain an EZ tag and tollway usage is charged to the account. Some drivers become violators when their cards reach their credit limits. Others simply drive the EZ tag lanes without a tag.

The toll road authority relies on a camera to record motorists going through without paying, Storey said.

Car towed, booted

It sends a letter to violators asking for payment. If the person doesn't respond to that or a subsequent letter, the authority's third letter warns that the matter will be turned over to a collection agency, he said.

Adams' prize Wednesday was a trip to jail, where she remained Thursday in lieu of $200 bail, according to court records. Her car was towed away and booted, Harvey said. To ransom her car, Adams must now try to work out a deal with Linebarger to pay off her fines.

She should know how to deal with the situation

Link to comment
Share on other sites


(the following was found on www.bloghouston.net this morning)

This extreme story reminded me of an old Lucas Wall "Move It!" column where he dealt with this clueless question:

Q: I am a user of the Westpark Tollway. However, I see that I might need an EZ Tag. I have been unable to find out how or where I can get such a tag. There is no info on the new toll road about this. Can you help me?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night on the news they said that about half her $17,000+ fine was actual tolls, and about half fines for not paying. That means she ran through the EZ Tag lanes illegally over 8,000 times if that's true! I lived in Westchase and used the tollway often for over four years and never spent nearly that much. This woman must have been doing this several times a day every day for years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
Last night on the news they said that about half her $17,000+ fine was actual tolls, and about half fines for not paying. That means she ran through the EZ Tag lanes illegally over 8,000 times if that's true! I lived in Westchase and used the tollway often for over four years and never spent nearly that much. This woman must have been doing this several times a day every day for years.

I realize this thread is several years old, and that I'm probably breaking some kind of forum rule for bumping something so old. I only registered to answer the question others have asked.

First, I came across this site when I was doing a search on the collection agency I used to work for (took the job out of desperation, it paid the bills). I worked with Marcella and was personally shocked that the company did not fire her after she was jailed for the toll violation arrest. But this is a company that employees questionable people anyway such as those who wear ankle bracelets and have felony records (avoid talking to a debt collector at all costs! and don't ever give them your personal info!).

Anyhoo, Marcella used to live up north of the city somewhere, I think near Humble or Tomball, took the Hardy Toll road and 45 to get to work, then the Beltway (the exit is Harwin). So she passed several toll booths round trip every day (she now lives in SW Houston). At this company collectors typically come in 6 days a week instead of 5. She had been at URS I think since 2003. So who knows where else she went using the tolls.

She also told me (I didn't believe it) that there was some mix up between her and the last owner of the vehicle and that person supposedly racked up a majority of the toll fines. She acknowledged owing some fines, but not all of it and complained about how expensive it was. At the time she refused to consider an alternate route to work to avoid the toll roads or moving closer to work altogether. She also claimed that the violation notices never went to her home address but to wherever it was on the license plate for car registration, plus according to her she had moved (that was her fault for not telling the state where she was now living so she can get the renewals in the mail). Basically a bunch of BS to save face. She says the police and reporters blew it out of proportion. I think she knew what she was doing and purposely did not provide a current address to the state thinking if she wasn't properly notified of the violations they wouldn't have a case against her.

I don't have an axe to grind or anything, just can't stand people who think they can get away with stuff, who think society owes them, and refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

Her myspace page is http://www.myspace.com/pa2tx

Also, as for URS, they moved to their own building off of Harwin, and the bathrooms were always a mess and disgusting there too!

Edited by i hate urs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

L'horn guy:

Do tell. Care to elaborate on your "feeling" ?

Because I have a "feeling" that in the absence of evidence of Ms. Adams' race in the article, you just crossed a line....

Do tell.

well if it is her in the myspace link in post #5 then I think most would think she is black......but one never knows!


either way post #5 was a bit funny for web drama!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Since you quoted me, I'll clarify: L'hornguy suspected she was black "...as soon as (he) READ THE ARTICLE..." (emphasis added), and therefore, before any pictures were in play, e.g., MySpace.

Struck me as inappropriate stereotyping and unfair to black people in general.

I'm no supporter of scofflaws, and they can throw the book at her for all I care, but...let's not play stereotypes at HAIF.

That was my point...not sure why you quoted me, but I hope you now "get" my post.

..and post #5 was funny! Piece of work, that woman.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...