Keep Number Plate When Selling Car, Says State

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A resident is warning car owners that they need to follow proper procedures if they plan on selling their vehicle.

A Bellevue man was arrested for a crime he didn't commit after he sold his car along with the number plates.

Joey Clay, a Green Hills hair stylist, never had a criminal record until recently. His legal problems began not long after he gave a car that he no longer needed to a friend.

Clay signed the title papers over to his friend, but the tags on the number plates were still registered to Clay, not his friend.

His friend then was involved in a crash while driving the vehicle and left the accident scene. The victim wrote down the number plate number and police tracked the accident back to Clay.

Two Metro detectives then showed up at Clay's home.

"They said, 'You're under arrest.' Needless to say, I was shocked, so I asked, 'Why?' and they said, 'For leaving the scene of an accident,'" said Clay.

But the problems didn't end, even when Clay's friend admitted in court he was responsible for the crash.

"That didn't matter when it came down to it in the general session court. They just offered me a deal of agreeing to plead guilty and getting off with a $50 fine," said Clay.

Sophie Mowrey of the Tennessee Department of Revenue said when someone sells a car, they should take the number plates with them and make sure the new owner quickly registers the car.

"The previous owner will be registered in our system as the current owner, so that will be the first person that an investigating party would find out about," said Mowrey.

"If they donít catch the person in the act, all they have to go by is that number plate number," said Clay.

Clay's guilty plea of leaving the scene of an accident will be on his record permanently.

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