Sickly elderly man receives $2,200 toll road bill

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by Vicente Arenas/ KHOU 11

khou.com

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 10:04 PM

HOUSTON—A 92-year-old man was shocked when he received a $2,200 toll road bill.

His SUV’s permit had expired without him knowing and his son had been driving the vehicle on the Westpark toll road.

"I was astonished," said Thurston Hooper.

The World War II vet was going back and forth to a dialysis center and had been moving from one assisted living facility to another at the time. He hadn’t checked his mail at his home.

Hooper’s son found the big bill when he was finally able to check on his father’s house.

The bill is for tolls and the associated legal fees of trying to collect. Hooper says it is excessive.

The Toll Road Authority said it is the toll tag owner’s responsibility to notify the agency if a billing address changes.

The Hoopers say there has to be a better way to let customers know if there’s a problem. Hooper’s son Kevin said he would have paid the bill, if he had known about it.

"We sent numerous notifications to these people. Thirty-one pieces of mail were sent to the house. We also sent 7 emails to let them know there were violations and problems with the account," said Toll Road Spokesman Eric Hanson.

"I was just worried about surviving with my heart condition and my kidneys," said Hooper.

It’s a toll mix-up that serves as a reminder to others to monitor their account.

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