LYNDHURST, OH--The trouble for 20-year-old Grace Jones of South Euclid began on August 18, when she got into what she thought was a minor accident at the intersection of Richmond and Cedar in Lyndhurst.
"The light turned green, so we all started rolling ahead and then I look up and the brake lights are on and they're like, slammed on. So, I slam on my brakes to try and slow down and I bump into her rear end."
Jones thought she was doing the right thing when she called Lyndhurst police. They responded to the scene and cited her for not keeping enough distance between her vehicle and the car she bumped into.
Jones says she was floored when she later received a bill from the City of Lyndhurst for $584.87 for emergency services rendered for a non-resident of Lyndhurst.
The itemized list was $308 for the two police vehicles that were used that day, $196.87 for police administrative overhead and $80 for the two officers that responded to the accident scene.
Grace Jones told Fox 8, "if every legal citizen pays their taxes and we're supposed to have these agents that do their job and they're here to protect and help and serve. If I'm still paying you to do your job, after you do your job for getting paid for it, what am I doing?"
Under a 2010 ordinance passed by Lyndhurst City Council, the city sends a bill to “at fault” drivers who do not pay taxes in Lyndhurst.
The city also hired an agency to collect the outstanding fees.
Grace Jones' mother was stunned when she learned Friday that her insurance company would not pay the bill from Lyndhurst police and that the collection agency indicated it was her obligation to pay.
"I can't believe that the police would charge you for doing their job, for showing up to an accident, which you have to do, per your insurance," said Patricia Jones.
The mayor and police chief of Lyndhurst were not available for comment, but Nationwide Insurance told the Jones family that it's the company's position that neither Nationwide nor the family have any obligation to pay the charges for emergency services rendered.
Patricia Jones told Fox 8, "they told me that they would investigate it and that they're not going to pay it, they've already contacted the police department. They can't believe that they're actually charging citizens to do their job."