Better Call Behnken: Driver gets red-light ticket for ‘violation’ during Sarasota funeral procession

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Peter Lantero came to Sarasota for his aunt’s funeral, and weeks later he received a red-light ticket from the city.

His “violation” occurred during the funeral procession from the funeral home to the cemetery.

“What they’re doing is absolutely unfair,” Lantero said.

The ticket included a link to video, captured by a red light camera. In that video, you can clearly see the hearse, followed by a limousine, followed by mourners with their hazard lights flashing.

Before such a ticket is sent out, a police officer reviews the video. The camera went off several times in the video Lantero was provided, but Sarasota police tell Better Call Behnken that Lantero was the only one to receive a ticket.

Lantero was told he needed a signed affidavit promising that he was involved in a funeral procession. He complied and then was told he needed more information and needed the funeral home to write a letter on his behalf.

He did that too, but he also called Better Call Behnken to share his frustration.

“I worry other people may not have the ability to fight this and will just pay,” Lantero said.

We asked the police department to explain this decision.

A spokeswoman and officer for the police department said Lantero’s appeal was reviewed and dismissed Tuesday. They said it must have been unclear to the original officer whether Lantero’s flashing lights were on. They said the affidavit should have been enough proof though.

As a result of Lantero’s issue, the police department is changing its protocol with a vendor it uses for the red light cameras. The paperwork included should never ask for more than the affidavit and, from now on, it won’t, the spokeswoman said.

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