Some refunds issued, questions remain with Maize speed limit discrepancy

FactFinder 12 found five roads in Maize had posted speed limits that were wrong, according to city ordinance.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 8:57 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Following up on Sunday’s FactFinder 12 investigation unveiling discrepancies in some Maize speed limits, more information comes to light as we’re asking more questions. FactFinder 12 investigator Hailey Tucker found 70 people were ticketed for speeding on the roads, but some weren’t technically speeding as the posted limit didn’t match what’s in the city’s ordinance.

Among the questions not yet answered is how many people the situation has impacted because those speed limits haven’t matched for the last five years. That means people like Ben Nichols, who was cited for driving 53 in a 40, but technically wasn’t speeding since city books had that stretch of road at 55 mph, were unjustly ticketed. Nichols did get his money back, but he was far from the only one.

“They did reimburse the entire cost of the ticket, the entire $158,” he said.

The ticket Nichols got last year was his first in a decade.

“I was shaking, trying to get everything because I have a bit of anxiety and I’m grabbing my driver’s license out and I’m looking for my insurance,” he said of being ticketed.

Like many, Nichols paid the ticket without question. But after FactFinder 12 revealed the issue with some speed limits in Maize, we wanted to help more people like him. While relieved to get his money back, Nichols said the situation is frustrating.

FactFinder 12 found five roads in Maize had posted speed limits that were wrong, according to city ordinance. Those areas included:

  • 7900 through 10300 W. 45th St. N.
  • 12000 through 13500 W. 45th St. N.
  • 3800 through 4100 N. Maize Rd.
  • 4000 through 4500 N. 119th St. West

In one year, 70 people were ticketed for speeding on these roads, but the signs have been wrong since 2017. Maize is refunding inaccurate tickets from 2022 that it’s police force issued, but what if you were pulled over by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office or the Kansas Highway Patrol?

Maize City Administrator Richard LaMunyon said the city has no way of knowing if the KHP or Sedgwick County deputies issued tickets in the areas with disrepencies between the posted and actual speed limit Even though Nichols got his money back, a serious concern for him is that after he got the ticket, his insurance rate increased by about $50 per month.

“I had to disclose I had a speeding ticket and the insurance, of course, said well, we’re a little harsher on our speeding tickets,” Nichols said. “I don not have any other citations. I’ve had a safe driving record for 15 years. Maybe me telling them that I had [the ticket] had something to do with it. I do some prices go up over time. (But) $50 seemed like an awful lot.”

LaMunyon said those errantly issued tickets last year shouldn’t see an increase. But what if you unjustly were ticketed before last year? LaMunyon said the city will continue to review and adjust.

Even though Nichols’ situation seems to be settled, he worries about others

“I am thinking about those other people who have been dealing with this for however long,” he said.

If you have a situation in which you think a FactFinder 12 investigation could help, call 316-831-6166 or send an email to investigators@kwch.com.