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