Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Eternal Illegally Parked Car

There's an illegally parked car in Georgetown that simply won't go. The story behind this car gives some insight into why illegally parked cars sometimes are just unmovable objects. This story was reported on the Georgetown listserv.

The truck has now been parked in front of our house, illegally, for at least 7 days. Unresolved...
Last Sunday we noticed a truck (expired Maryland license plates) was parked in front of our house at 1685 34th Street, NW, between R Street and Reservoir Road (not sure if it was there earlier on the weekend or not). On Wednesday it was still there. Here were my steps to try to get someone to attend to it.
Wednesday, 29 September: Phoned 2nd precinct asking how to report an illegally parked truck in front of my house. The officer (did not ask his name, unfortunately) told me they did not deal with illegally parked cars and I'd have to call DMV. He gave me the telephone number at DMV.
Spent several hours (at different times) trying to break through DMV's voice-mail jail to speak to a live person. No luck.
Called 2nd precinct again and got the same officer. I told him I had tried DMV, to no avail. He repeated what he'd said earlier...that they could do nothing and I had to contact DMV.
Thursday, 30 September: Posted a message to Georgetown Forum asking if anyone had ideas how to break through and get someone live at DMV. Someone suggested calling 311 (mayor's hotline) instead.
Called mayor's hotline and reported the truck parked illegally since previous Sunday, at least. They promised to dispatch DPW to ticket the truck.
Called DPW and asked for action. Truck ticketed.
Got a phone call from Lt. Hedgecock (Police Service Area 206) who somehow had heard about the problem. He said that 2nd precinct officer had given me wrong information the day before and that police can act on illegally parked vehicles. He took the license plate number and truck description. He called me back later to say the vehicle was not stolen, and that they would try to contact the owner. Because the tags were outdated, they could investigate further. He would keep me informed.
The parking enforcement car came by and the agent again ticketed the truck. By late afternoon, it had the maximum number of tickets allowed. While I was talking to the agent she phoned in a report to a "supervisor."
Friday, 1 October: By 4:30 p.m. no update from Lt. Hedgecock, so I placed a call to him asking for a status report. No response.
Late in the afternoon (around 5:30 or 5:45 p.m.), another Parking Enforcement car came by and stopped to look at the truck. I recounted the whole chronology to him. Again, while we were talking, he called in to report the truck (say, approximately between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m.) and told me they had called for the truck to be towed. I asked if the truck would be towed "tonight" and he said "yes."
Saturday, 2 October: Truck still illegally parked. Still no call from Lt. Hedgecock; no update from DPW. Placed call to Lt. Hedgecock; waiting for reply.
Called 2nd Precinct. Officer said everyone would be in today, including Hedgecock, because of the activity downtown. He said I'd have to call DPW about towing.
Called DPW and talked to "Ms. Kelley." She says they have "No report of an illegally parked car in front of 1685 34th Street between R street and Reservoir Road.". DPW says that because of activities downtown they will not be towing until Monday morning.


  1. Call the Mayors 311 line and they can report it to parking enforcement. I believe the next step is booting the vehicle then after a period of time they can tow it.

  2. When I was teaching at a university in Texas -- and living one block from a couple of major classroom buildings -- students used to block driveways on my block all the time. A city police officer was out giving tickets one day and I asked him what I could do, given that he couldn't come out often, and they didn't mind getting tickets because daddy paid them. He suggested I get a tire valve tool for a couple of bucks and let the air out of their tires. It worked magic. Word got out to not park illegally on that block. Except for one sweet young thing who I gave flat tires to three times in about 10 days. Even she eventually quit parking there. My neighbors loved me.

  3. Does it then legally become a war of who is doing the greatest wrong, i.e., would both parties be fined if this became a legal case - one for tampering with someone else's property and one for violating parking restrictions? My sympathy is with the tire deflater but I'm interested in the full legal repercussions of such actions.

  4. One had to look at the judge who vandalized the car of someone parked in his assigned spot. I do believe if you follow the mantra of going through the system you will be better off, if you tamper with someones vehicle that is vandalism. Document their presence including pics, taking of pics is not illegal in a public place but video taping is. Maybe they have paid someone off not to do more than ticket. If they were blocking the use of a handicapped spot or a fire hyrant or a driveway/road they cna be towed without a ticket.