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No E-Z Pass: Reston Man Drives Up $200,000 Tab for Road Tolls

With interest, man figures to be paying installments into his 80s.

Jason Bourcier rang up $200,000 in tolls. (Photo from NBC Washington screen grab.)
Jason Bourcier rang up $200,000 in tolls. (Photo from NBC Washington screen grab.)

By Alex McVeigh

A Reston man learned the expensive consequences of tollbooth ignorance this week after a court date with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Jason Bourcier doesn't deny that he rode the Dulles Toll Road nightly without paying for his commute from Reston to Washington more than three years ago when he was looking for work.

He told NBC Washington that a friend advised him that when the toll booths were unmanned after 11:30 p.m., you could use the road without paying. 

His friend was wrong.

And Bourcier has the $200,000 toll bill to prove it.

This week, VDOT took Bourcier to court because his bill had ballooned from $440 to more than $200,000, including late fees and interest. They reached a settlement and agreed on a payment plan.

“They provided me with a stack of summonses that was 12 inches high, and me and my lawyers, the best that we could do was $40,000,” he told the station. “Another kicker is they put me on a payment plan for $150 a month.”

Bourcier, 33, is also on the hook for another $55,000 in interest, bringing his amount to a number he figures he’ll be paying off until his late 80s.

He told NBC Washington he’s learned two lessons from this experience.

“One would be for state legislature to take another look at the fines and fees that they are assessing the taxpayers,” he said. “The other would be for me, and that would be don’t mess with E-ZPass."


Margot T. November 21, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Great story.
Rush Young November 21, 2013 at 07:05 PM
I'm a bit insulted. This guy runs up a bill for $200,000 and is complaining he and his attorney's have to settle for $40,000. I have ez-pass and pay for all my tolls, how come he gets a huge break doing something wrong and the rest of us get to pay and never get a break? It appears that doing wrong is being rewarded instead of doing right, what a country, really!
Albert Gazalooch November 21, 2013 at 09:27 PM
There are people like this all over the country. They skip paying on the Tollway and claim they don't have to because they pay taxes. In Illinois, the Tollway receives ZERO tax dollars for operations. It's 100% supported by tolls and is a private road. If you don't use the Tollway, it costs you nothing. If you use it, you pay! A few years ago there was this woman that racked up $70,000.00 in tolls fines and interest and claimed she never used the Tollway. Yet, there was video of her driving right through without paying or having an I-Pass transponder.
Mr. G November 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM
That's ridiculous! The guy didn't do it on purpose. It's not like he was trying to beat or scam the system. I'd file bankruptcy if I was him.
Michael November 21, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Maybe the toll evasion wasn't on purpose... Although it defies common sense. He apparently believed that people with ez-passes would have to pay all night, while those without could get away for free. However they had a stack of summonses 12 inches high. Hard to believe he didn't ignore all of those on purpose. He probably could have gotten away with less than $1000 had he responded earlier, instead of hoping the government would just go away.
Robert Curry November 22, 2013 at 12:35 AM
A friend told him that he didn't have to pay. I would have called the transportation department as this sounds too good to be true. This guy is 33, but acts like he's 13 ! Fine the idiot as you would anyone else.
Albert Gazalooch November 22, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Dudes..... this guy KNEW what he was doing! Just another freeloader ripping off those who play by the rules!
Frank Sogandares November 22, 2013 at 05:53 AM
skeezy
Cindy Halpern November 22, 2013 at 08:33 AM
I have an issue with Americans paying tolls to use roads and bridges our taxes paid for.
Michael November 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Too bad our taxes didn't pay for them all... Federal and state gas tax revenue is now only enough to pay for 50% of total highway costs in the US. Since there's no appetite for fixing that, tolls are the only option.
Martin Rommer November 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM
“One would be for state legislature to take another look at the fines and fees that they are assessing the taxpayers,” is an interesting comment from a person who decided he didn't have to pay for anything. What did he think those letters from EZ Pass were? He knew he was wrong and I think he should foot the entire bill.
Jason James November 22, 2013 at 10:54 AM
Needs Editing. Ran up $440 in tolls. $201,560 was charge for penalties
Julia Warren November 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM
"Jason Bourcier doesn't deny that he rode the Dulles Toll Road nightly without paying for his commute from Reston to Washington more than three years ago when he was looking for work." One question -- What kind of job was he looking for at night?
Gerald Drake November 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Makes the credit card companies and mortgage companies look like angels by comparison with late fees. I'm jaded because I got 4 summons yesterday from April 2012 ($500 per summons over 10 the letter says). yes a separate summons for each toll violation. You'd think maybe I could get one summons for all four missed tolls and streamline the court appearance into one. btw, I'm an ezpass PA customer. They told me they couldn't get the crossbill to work because it came back insufficient balance. When I told them I had 20 other tolls the same month with Virginia that didn't seem to matter. I asked them for the proof of all this and they told me I would have to subpoena it. Sadly, they probably still lose money because they pay lawyers to fill out all these and then show up for court appearances. I guess the lawyers figured out how to make a lot of money indirectly from Virginia's roads.
Catherine November 22, 2013 at 01:41 PM
I don't understand why he wasn't stopped and arrested. They also could have suspended his registration. There were plenty of ways the state could have stopped him. But, ultimately, he's the sneaky little devil who chose not to take the back roads.
Albert Gazalooch November 22, 2013 at 02:24 PM
"I have an issue with Americans paying tolls to use roads and bridges our taxes paid for." I have an issue with people who think the tollroads are paid for with tax dollars. They arent! They're paid for with toll money! If you don't use them, you don't pay for them!
Chris November 22, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Thanks Albert. I hear this all the time about the Greenway and the new 495 Express Lanes. I don't understand people who complain about paying taxes, and then complain about paying tolls for roads their taxes didn't go towards building. You can't have it both ways. If you want your infastructure completely public, then stop complaining about paying taxes for those projects.
Tom Long November 22, 2013 at 05:14 PM
He can't say he wasn't getting notices about not paying the tolls LONG before it got to $200K. In most cases the first couple violations are only 25 dollars plus the toll. That should have woke him up! If you keep running the tolls, the fee gets higher until you are $500 plus toll. Then add late fees for not paying and the interest for each violation and you get to $200K in about 3 years. Could have avoided this by manning up after the first notice. He was just a big shot who didn't think it would get this far. But guess what? If you play with the big boys, they are going to push you in the ground. And hard.
Catherine November 22, 2013 at 09:19 PM
The Greenway is a privately owned road. They can charge whatever they want pretty much although they do have to get some approvals but I don't know when.
Sev Ral November 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Another idiot with 15 seconds of fame for their own stupidity. He didn't see any of the signs at the toll booths, he threw away the notices from EZ Pass, and what the heck kind of job was he looking for, that he was only going through the tolls after 11:30pm?
Deep Throat November 23, 2013 at 02:19 PM
He should be the lead when they remake, dumb and dumber. He could star in both roles
Amelia Brown Morgan November 24, 2013 at 05:06 PM
A little advice...Don't listen to uninformed friends..
PATTY November 24, 2013 at 05:26 PM
I figure if you owe it you have to pay it. Why let him off the hook for some of it , that's not fair to other people that pay everyday.
Scotty November 24, 2013 at 10:34 PM
@Rush Young: As a tax and tollpayer I don't disagree with your being a bit peeved, but seriously--was he really expected to pay $220,000 on a $440 fine?!!!! What on earth? IF he really believed he didn't have to pay a toll at an unmanned booth after 11:30p.m. (there are some up here in the NE where that's actually true - and it's posted), I can see where he might be a little naive--but not criminal. Charging him a reasonable fine and interest on top of his $440--say a grand total of $1,000 would be logical in my book. But $220,000? That's usury! Methinks something stinks in the State of Va.
Scotty November 24, 2013 at 10:52 PM
@Gerald Drake: PLEASE subpoena the records. Chances are they don't have the proof or there's an error if you comb over them carefully. And DO show up to Court to dispute their findings. It pays to get an Attorney--most require no more than $100 -$200 for this kind of work: to get the records for you and to accompany you to Court if you want--but you could fight this alone. AND show up in Court --at least for the first one if there are several appointments. Against $2,000 it's well worth it, imho. MOST people don't dispute these kinds of fines even when they know the fines are wrong which is why these States keep doing it and getting away with it. FTR I helped my husband fight a bad radar gun speed trap years ago even though he didn't think it was worth fighting. He was not speeding and knew it, but the officer was very intimidating. To me it was the principle of the thing. So I studied everything I could--went to court with him, asked the right questions and won. The only case that particular officer ever lost.
Scotty November 24, 2013 at 10:58 PM
@Tom Long: Come on. Do you SERIOUSLY think it's logical and fair to charge someone over TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS! (let the enormity of that amount sink into your brain for a moment) on an owed amount of $440? Give me a break! Even the IRS --when certain tax payers owe MILLIONS!-- are willing to 'forgive' huge chunks of what they owe--allowing the to pay pennies on the dollar. So someone owing $2million could end up paying $40,000 or so. And these are legitimate amounts actually owed! So this poor schlub who ran some tolls should be fined and fined and fined and charged interst upon interest until it's an amount he knows he can't possibly pay off in his entire lifetime? Let's be logical here. Charge him a normal fine. Double his $440 if you have to. Make him do some community service if you have to as well. But $220,000 is insane and usurious.
Scotty November 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM
@Julia Warren: Excuse me Julia, but do you think the entire world goes to sleep at 10p.m. Have you no knowledge that thousands of corporations have night staff? I realize you must be young not to know that people commute to and from work--in fact when I lived on Long Island, NY and commuted into NYC it took me 3 and a half hours EACH way. This meant that when I put in overtime (something I did regularly-till 8 or 9, and sometimes even later), I often got home well after midnight. That was ok--the night staff -computer specialists, etc. were just coming in to begin their shifts so I was never afraid. My guess is that he drove into Washington to interview after 5:30 --something I did in NYC for an entire 6 month period when I decided to change jobs. That was their prime interview time--after MY working hours. Many of them would set up appointments for me up until 7 or 8p.m. Ever left DC at 8-9 at night? This guy lives in Reston, Va. Maybe he'd grab dinner before getting on the road especially since he believed he didn't have to pay the toll after 11:30. Have you driven between those two Cities? There's your answer.
Bob Bruhns November 25, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Typical of our government; the punishment does not fit the crime. $200,000 for a $440 violation? Ridiculous.

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