Woman Fights Parking Ticket Issued After Blizzard

CALUMET PARK, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) — Costs are mounting for a 60-year-old Beverly neighborhood woman as she tries to fight a parking ticket she got after the February blizzard.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Susan Willis is fighting a ticket she received for parking illegally in a supermarket lot Feb. 5, just three days after the Chicago area was clobbered with more than 21 inches of snow.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“I can’t believe they would prey on residents during such extraordinary times,” said Wills, 60. “I understand that the villages need to make money but this is ridiculous.”

Wills has osteoarthritis, walks with a cane, and has a handicap placard for her van.

She had gone to the Ultra Foods store at 127th Street and Ashland Avenue in Calumet Park late in the afternoon that Saturday to pick up some staples.

She said about one-fourth of the parking lot was covered in high piles of snow. Lines designating available spots were hard to distinguish, she added. Wills couldn’t find an open handicapped space.

So she parked her van next to a handicapped space, on the striped area.

When she came out of the store, there was a $100 ticket waiting for her.

“Everyone knows you’re not supposed to park on the striped area,” Calumet Park Police Chief Mark Davis said. “That’s a safety issue. That space is reserved for people who need to access a wheelchair or other vehicle when getting out of their car.

“We’re just doing our job,” he added.

Nevertheless, Wills pleaded innocent during her first court appearance March 16 in Calumet Park and was given an April court date at the Markham courthouse.

Filing fees to contest the ticket cost nearly $300.

She showed up Thursday morning prepared to continue her battle.

“Now I am fighting the court fees and the ticket,” she said, as she entered court Room 209 flanked by her husband and two acquaintances, all of whom are also handicapped.

“This is about the principle,” Wills said.

But Judge Martin Coghlan was unable to rule because her paperwork requesting administrative review on the earlier ruling was not filled out correctly.

Now she has until May 5 to file an amended complaint.

If she does that her next court date is May 12.

Wills, who did not have an attorney before Thursday’s court appearance, now plans to retain one.

“That means even more costs,” she said.

The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

  • Lee

    The City needs money, money the must pay they own income right?
    I’m sure the ticket will be waived if the spot was covered is no way that citiziens whould were infrated rays lensess to see the lines on the floor it is so many people cheating with parking spot and the City is doing nothing I report my neighbor quiet few times and still they got the handicap signs posted

    • Ralph S.

      The line is called Corpus Delicti. Absent CD there is no crime. For the court to have jurisdiction to hear any case there must be CD. No matter where you are Corpus Delicti has 2 elements: 1) The violation of an individual right. 2) Fact of loss, injury, or harm. There’s no way the city attorney can prove that the the driver violated his personal rights, so the judge must dismiss. There’s no victim here, except the driver, who’s being prosecuted absent CD. The only criminals; The judge and city attorney for conducting a proceeding absent CD, thus absent jurisdiction.

    • Nunya

      Mind your own business Lee. I think you’re just jealous of your neighbor.
      Mine doersn’t have a city sticker. If he can get away with it, moe power to him.

      • Conscience minded

        And if someone can ‘get away’ with rape and murder, more the power to them, also? Where is the line? And why would you feel comfortable paying fees that others ‘get away’ with not paying? Don’t you realize that if everyone paid what they were supposed to pay the fees could possibly come down for everyone? I pray that you or a member of your family is never the victim of a crime when all of the witnesses decide to follow your advise and ‘mind their own business’.

    • Conscience minded

      That is why I asked, where is the line? Is it JUST city stickers that you think ‘more power to them’ for getting away with it? Or is your line somewhere down further BEFORE rape and murder? The point I am making is we should ALL be conscience minded and not see shat we can ‘get away with’. The ones being the whiny, sniveling babies are the supposed grown-ups that still can’t follow the ‘rules’ of ettiquette and lawful living. Unless, of course, you believe that a ‘broken’ rule/law is only truly ‘broken’ is if you get caught. I am just guessing, but i believe that you must have been one of the kids being told on in school as oppossed to the one being ‘victimized’.

      • Ralph S.

        Comparing a woman fighting a traffic ticket, that was issued to her under the color of law and authority, with trying to get away with rape and murder indicates that you’re not very conscience minded. It’s because of people like you that America is the most oppressive police state on Earth. Anything that the Government wants to criminalize, you’re apparently for it. You don’t care if the very definition of the word crime requires a victim. No. You want law and order, all the while not realizing that the police issuing tickets without the lawful authority to do so is chaos, not law and order. City governments and police can’t criminalize anything they want. Crimes require Corpus Delicti. Crimes require a victim. No victim means there is no crime and therefore, the city, police and court lacks jurisdiction to do anything about it. That’s the line that I really think you don’t care very much about.

      • Still conscience minded

        You need to read my previous post. I was commenting on someone elses comments. And no victim? So for you speeding at say 120MPH as long as you don’t hit anyone is ok? That has no ‘vicim’. Actually, if we use your definition of ‘crime’ -there is never a ‘victim’ to traffic offenses, so no ‘crime’ has occured, right? And yes, I do want law and order-I would prefer that everyone have the brains and decency to negate the neccesity of new laws on the books, but it is always the ones that don’t know where the line is that makes it a requirement for the law to be involved. If everyone who could walk unaided would park the furthest from the store(and leave the closer spots for those that could not)there never would have been a need or handicapped parking placards. And if no one killed there would be no need for murder to be against the law.

      • Ralph S.

        You take issue with my addressing you on your reply to another’s comment? I don’t think you’re so irrational as to believe that you were having a private exchange on a public forum open to thousands of readers. In addressing my points, you counter, intentionally or no, with a misinformation tactic known as negative association. You attempt to correlate harmless acts with extreme acts which most people view negatively. Additionally, you can drive 120 mph with no victim and its OK. Have you ever heard of the autobahn? Higher speeds have resulted in no increase in accidents; easily verifiable fact. You also state that the definition of crime is mine. This is incorrect. Crime is universally known, and ruled multiple times by the supreme court, to require Corpus Delicti. Corpus Delicti requires a victim. No Victim=No Corpus Delicti=No crime=No Government Jurisdiction. Government worshippers always try to sell the old, tired and disproven argument that if we didn’t have totalitarian government to protect us we would all die. I don’t buy it. No true American would. It’s verifiable fact that before all of these laws existed America expanded from a nation of backwoods farmers into the most powerful nation on Earth. Now with loving government to make all of these laws to proect us, America is dying. OSHA is a good example. It was created to reduce workplace accidents, yet after hundreds of thousands of regulations and untold billions of compliance expenses for business, the rate and severity of accidents haven’t decreased at all. These laws you worship aren’t for our safety or convenience, but are made to obtain money from the people and put it into the pockets of politicians. We need to embrace freedom and refuse to submit to government criminalizing everything when they totally lack the jurisdiction to do so.

  • Jerry

    Next time wait until someone frees a parking spot. She parked illegally end of story.

    • Ralph S.

      No. She didn’t park illegally. End of story.

  • Sam

    This old geezer should have paid her ticket like everyone else. And who the hell goes out in a blizzard to buy staples anyway? Use a paper clip, or tape, etc.

    • Nunya

      I hope you’re kidding. You can’t be that dumb.

  • jan bahno

    if she has a handicapped placard and displayed it, that entire space is hers to use — the best thing to do is park in the middle of the space so the vehicle is positioned both in the striped area and the non-striped area. it’s one space for one vehicle. period. any judge with an ounce of common sense and compassion will void the ticket. ticket fine is incorrect ($100 ) and not $250 which it should have been because that is the amount recommended by the SOS. so she can argue that the signage was not properly posted per Illinois statute, and get out of paying the ticket altogether. good luck in court, Ms. Willis.

  • Dan

    The handicapped spaces were taken, she parked in the striped area next to the handicapped spot. She show have waited for the handicapped spot to open up.

  • The Undertaker

    You either parked on the striped lines…or you didn’t….how is that so difficult to understand?

  • Grave Digger

    Undertaker – I hope you’re kidding. You can’t be that dumb.

    You either can see the striped lines….or there’s a 3 foot drift of snow not allowing you to see the striped lines.

    A more apt phrasing, wouldn’t you say?

  • Katie

    Ms. willis obviously knows she parked in an illegal spot. I think what she did was wrong “according to the law” BUT the cop that wrote the ticket was on some sort of quotoa power trip. Some people just need a break ! the blizzard was horrible.

  • R.U. Awakeyet

    This woman was parked on PRIVATE PROPERTY.
    Is the grocery store an injured party? Did the store file the complaint?

    Does the city of Calumet Park, a CORPORATION — a mere contrivance of the law, even possess the constitutional right to enforce the Motor Vehicle Code as a “police” act? Has the city suffered an injury it can legally complain of? Can the city complain of a non-injurious, non-criminal act committed upon PRIVATE PROPERTY?

    Is the city-(i.e., CORPORATE)-operated “traffic court” or “mayor’s court” even a REAL court of Law? Is it a real Article III Judicial court or is it merely an ADMINISTRATIVE court tasked with adjudication of “infractions” of some “code” (i.e., not true PUBLIC laws) ??

    Does the parking ticket itself constitutute bona fide Notice of a legal controversy? Does a ticket meet the criteria for Notice or a Complaint under the Due Process requirements of the IL state and federal constitutions?

    Curious minds ought to review the Illinois state Constitution, the legal doctrine of “corpus delicti”, and legal definition of “Motor Vehicle”:

    18 USC 31, (quoting) “The term ‘motor vehicle’ means every description or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for COMMERCIAL purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers and property, or property and cargo.”

    The abuses will end when the People take the time to study what the law REALLY says.

    • john

      You get it!

  • Hank Warren

    Useless cops harassing the handicapped, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  • Ivone

    I skimmed the report, and then read it carefully after checking out the comments. It seems that people have their knickers in a twist about a well-off woman (she ca afford to hire a lawyer for the next go-around) who is marginally handicapped, and who thinks she is more important than other handicapped people. From the report, one may infer that the woman KNEW she was parking on the stripes. Further, the report does not say that area was obscured, only that there was snow over much of the lot. A judge may well ask. If she says, “Yes, but…”, she should be nailed. As the officer said, it’s a safety issue. The stripes widen the handicapped parking area so that there is room for wheelchair access. If a person in a chair couldn’t access a vehicle while she shopped, or if someone tried to squeeze in a wheelchair and had a mishap because her vehicle was in the way, there’d have been a brouhaha about that instead of about a ticket.

    Apparently all others must be happy to wait for the queen bee to get …this is the hilarious part… her vitally important staples…because she is too important to wait for a parking spot the way a refined person would do. Maybe a ticket will remind her to mimic having manners even if they aren’t natural to her.

    • Ralph S.

      Chicago needs to fire all of their detectives. They don’t need detectives. They have you. You can determine that the woman is well of and that she thinks of herself as being more important than other handicapped people just from reading this newspiece. I’m impressed. So perhaps you could help us out. Some of us are trying to determine who’s the victim of the woman’s heinous parking, becasue there must be a victim for there to be a crime which would grant the court the jurisdiction to conduct a proceeding. The police and the city attorney don’t know. The Judge doesn’t know. We don’t know. Please help us!

    • Joe Moama


  • Spartacus

    It’s amazing the ridiculous and ignorant comments I’ve read here.
    Just when I think Americans couldn’t possibly get any more stupid they set a new high in low.
    It’s no wonder this country is going down the tubes. The leaders and the followers are insane.
    You won’t be missed.

  • Spartacus

    The commentors battle each other over who is right, and they are all wrong.
    If you spent a fraction of the time and effort scrutinizing white collar crime you would be far better off, but instead you play right into their hands by fighting each other.
    Another thing… if we have so many brilliant experts on everything here in america, ( That’s you commentors) why are we doing so badly.

    • Ralph S.

      Considering that white collar crime has victims and doesn’t compare to this case, which doesn’t have a victim, I’m not getting your point about that. For your information, the American people were divided and conquered a long time ago. Only they don’t know it. They’ve been programmed to believe that they’re still living in a free country when America is universally recognized as the most oppressive police state on Earth. The US has more people in prison than Communist China. The problem is that a divided people have submitted to official criminality. It’s a lack of law and order. Laws and regulations intended to control absolutely everything isn”t law and order. It’s chaos. We must refuse to submit to government criminalizing victimless acts. Such activity isn’t for public safety. It’s for government to get cash from the people under the threat of a gun.

  • roger

    Jerry you must have no compassion or cannot read an article. The woman is elderly and handicapped. When you grow older I hope you get crushed by a trash truck. end of story.

  • anti stupidity

    You guys are so redneck!!! Staples = food. You all can’t be that dumb that you have never heard that phrase!! And it happened after the blizzard! She may have parked illegally but the cop should have had a little more compassion for this lady!!! Also the idiot that said the old lady was well off and not handicapped, where in the article did it say that?? You are ignorant too!!!

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