Amy Rush was 15 years old when she ran away from home and hopped into the car of a 22-year-old man she was hanging out with at the time. They were driving through Hamilton County, Iowa, when her driver got pulled over for speeding. The officer noticed Rush wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, so she got a ticket of her own.
That was 29 years ago. Rush is now in her 40s, living just outside of St. Paul, and she still hasn’t paid that $35 ticket.
It’s not for lack of effort on the collection agency’s part. About 15 years ago, Iowa sent a letter to Rush’s parents’ house demanding she pay up. She just got another one a few days ago—a move she sees as a staggering waste of taxpayer money. Because Rush doesn’t plan on paying.
“I was a runaway,” she explained to WHO-TV. The officer who pulled them over didn’t ask for an ID or any kind of license from her. Never asked her who she was, and never questioned what a child was doing in this man’s car.
“For all they knew, I was with a deranged psychopath or something,” she said. If there was policework to be done, it should have been getting her help—not fining her.
There’s no statute of limitations for fines like these. Iowa could send Rush letters until she dies. The only alternative, since she’s not an Iowa resident, is to issue a warrant for her arrest.
Rush says she’s almost considered making the two-and-a-half hour journey to Hamilton to contest the ticket and tell the judge “how absolutely ridiculous this is.” But in the meantime, she’s perfectly content to sit on her growing pile of debt notices.
“I told them I’m going to let them keep sending me mail and wasting more money, because I’m not paying it,” she told WHO.