Orlando attorney blasts 'real time' traffic cameras

Highway cameras live, but not recording

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – When 32-year-old Justin Foster's Jeep Commander was mangled in a crash in Osceola County last month his attorney, Ken McKenna, was sure the five cameras set up at the intersection of Poinciana and Oren Brown would offer a glimpse at what happened.

He was wrong.

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McKenna said his request to Osceola County for video was denied because it doesn't exist.

Andrew Sullivan, Osceola County's public information coordinator, left a voicemail saying, "While we do have cameras at the intersection, there's no recording, there's no archiving of that information."

McKenna said that's basically like having "a camera with no film."

Joshua Foster, a former Osceola County sheriff's deputy, said he is frustrated by the lack of recording data.

Foster said his brother was in a coma for several weeks and when he awoke he didn't recognize anyone, including his own mother, who had flown in from Illinois.

"He didn't even know where he was, why he was there and how he got there," Foster said.

"What's frustrating about this is we have technology there," McKenna said. "We have cameras there that we find out don't do anything."

A county-by-county check by Local 6 found that "monitor-only" policy is standard. 

Traffic and highway cameras provide livestream video to help county workers and police monitor traffic flow and respond to accidents.

Seminole County has 100 traffic cameras, according to county engineer Charles Wetzel.

Wetzel said recording "would create data storage and public records request issues."

He said in his view, counties would be "burdened with trying to locate video of crashes for citizens and lawyers."

Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Olson said more than 440 closed-circuit cameras are online 24/7, covering everything from Interstate 4 to Interstate 95.

"With all those camera signals coming in, where do you store it?" Olson said. "It's unbelievable what we would have to build just to store all that data and all that information."

Toll booth cameras will take several still shots to document a license plate and vehicle running a toll.

Red light cameras are activated when a driver runs a red light, providing video to document the infraction.

McKenna said Foster has no defense because he can't remember any details before or after that day.