What would you do if you took the family on a vacation to a theme park and happened to get detained for hours on end by a security officer? One Florida woman was the unfortunate victim of such an incident because of a mistake on her driver’s license. Make sure you check those driver’s licenses to be sure you never face a similar situation.
Tammy Lemasters was all ready to enjoy a fun-filled holiday with her family at Disney World recently when she was detained at her hotel by security. Her crime? According to her driver’s license, she was a registered sex offender. They would not permit her to stay at the hotel.
Speaking with the Associated Press, she says “I was afraid to drive in my car. I was afraid of getting pulled over. I was afraid of the kids being in the car.”
The problem with her driver’s license began when she went to the Lake County Tax Collector’s office to renew it. She had asked to be listed as an organ donor. However, due to a clerical error, the wrong box was checked on her application, and instead of including her in a database of registered organ donors, Lemasters was classified as a sexual predator.
Her lawyer, John Phillips, says “It reminds me of the book, ‘The Scarlet Letter. She walked around with that on her license, not knowing where it had been reported. This is completely avoidable by just putting in some sort of default on the computer. That’s just preposterous. I’d be willing to bet it’s happened hundreds of hundreds of times.”
Phillips is now representing Lemasters and three other plaintiffs in a proposed defamation suit against the Lake County Tax Collector’s Office.
Jordan said it was a simple clerical error on the part of a “Top Notch” employee.
When asked how she did not notice the error on her license when she first received it, Lemasters said “They asked me to check my name and address, and that’s what I checked. The sexual-predator box is in the lower corner, and she had her finger there. I just took it and put it in my wallet. No one checks for ‘sexual predator’ on your license.”
Her attorney, John Phillips, says that they are not seeking monetary recompense for the error and that if the office makes changes to its system that ensure this kind of error does not occur again, they will not file the lawsuit.
Not Surprisingly, Lemasters’ story has generated a lot of commentary online from people who were outraged that something like this could happen to an innocent person.
Michael Donovan Havens called for the state worker to be fired for the mistake, saying “It is called defamation of character and is punishable by law. Look it up. The 3-hour detention goes on her records until a judge determines that it was a mistake. In the meantime, she can have her children taken from her and put into foster homes where God only knows what they will be put through. Also, some moron reporter can do even more damage to her life. If her neighbors and friends get wind of it, it could ruin her life. ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t even begin to make amends.”