Brandon resident Kaileea Brooks had her vehicles towed Wednesday night after she didn’t see a No Parking sign placed on a lawn several doors down from her 13th Street home. On Thursday morning, her and her husband’s three vehicles were towed at the city’s behest to clear the snow. (SUBMITTED)
When Kaileea Brooks’ husband woke up yesterday morning and asked where their vehicles were, she thought he was joking.
But when she peered out of the window of her 13th Street home, the couple’s three vehicles — including a late-model sports car — weren’t where they were parked the night before.
As of Thursday afternoon, Brooks was able to pick up the vehicles from impound, however the couple’s Chevrolet Camaro was scratched on the rear bumper as a result of the towing, she said.
"So not only did they tow my cars, they damaged one of them," Brooks said.
According to city police, there were eight vehicles towed from along 13th Street on Wednesday night as snow clearing operations were stymied. In a media release, they reminded people to watch for snow removal signs in their area, and suggest that people park in alternate locations during snow clearing.
"There was no signage anywhere where we were parked," Brooks said.
She said she got home at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, parked on the street as she normally does and awoke the next morning to realize her vehicles had been hauled away.
"All three vehicles were gone," she said.
"About half a block down each way, there were ‘No Parking’ signs in two different people’s yards, not on the snowbank, but in someone’s yard."
She claims it was impossible to see the sandwich-board-style temporary "No Parking" signs since they were so far away from the road.
"There was no possible way we could have seen that," she said.
She said the couple is now in the hole $511 after parking tickets and towing charges which they will fight, along with the bumper damage Brooks claims was as a result of the towing.
Brandon Police Service Sgt. Mike Pelechaty said the city crews attempt to find the owners of the vehicles before hauling them off and towing is the last resort.
He also said it’s an officer’s discretion whether to tow, ticket, or both, "depending on the circumstance."
Pelechaty said that it’s possible the "No Parking" sign could have been moved by snow crews or moved by a passing pedestrian, "which does happen, there is an argument there."
"Of course, the registered owner doesn’t have a crystal ball," he said.
According to a City of Brandon bylaw, parking restrictions have to be announced in newspapers and broadcast media at least six hours before the prohibition begins "if feasible" and signs may be placed on affected streets by 5 p.m. on the previous day and 12 hours before the ban starts.
The bylaw also says there should be a minimum of four signs per block, two per side.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 7, 2014