CHICAGO (CBS) — The signs are clear: Parking spaces in a lot outside of the Whole Foods on Canal Street in Chicago are for drivers with disabilities.
2 Investigator Dave Savini reports witnessed drivers using those spaces illegally while not getting ticketed or towed. Meanwhile, a family with a legitimate parking placard for the disabled was towed.
One motorist was parking in a spot reserved for people with disabilities but he did not have a placard.
“I just had to get my brother,” he told Savini.
Another man caught on camera had a placard for parking in a disabled spot, but it was not his.
“It’s my mom’s,” he admitted.
These illegal parkers were in the same lot where Nicole Nordman and her teenage-daughter, Josie, parked legally using Josie’s placard. The Nordman family car, however, was towed.
Seventeen-year-old Josie suffers from diabetes and cystic fibrosis and has a lot of trouble breathing. She needs various medications to help her breathe and control other medical issues.
“There are a lot of times when my lungs get very congested and I cannot walk long distances without being very short of breath,” Josie says.
While shopping, Josie says she needed her inhaler and other prescription medicine, so she went to the car to get it. But the vehicle had been towed.
A Whole Foods spokesman says the vehicle was towed because the family left the store for a period of time to shop elsewhere in the mall — a violation of the parking lot rules.
Nicole Nordman says the two left briefly to get coffee in the adjoining mall. When they returned to the grocery shop, Josie started feeling ill and needed to get her medicine from the car.
“They were looking for a car to tow for the money,” Nicole Nordman says.
When Nicole questioned why the car was towed, she says she got this response: “There’s clearly no one disabled. You walked all the way through the store. You shopped for an hour.”
It took three hours to get the car and Josie’s medication from the tow lot.
“I don’t want this happening to anyone else,” Josie Nordman says. “It’s not fair.”
A Whole Foods spokesman says they twice announced the Nordman license plate before the tow and says their signs clearly state you cannot leave their premises. However, they also say they learned a lesson and are no longer towing people legitimately parked in spots for drivers with disabilities.
The Nordman family has been refunded the towing fees.
State Rep. Anthony DeLuca is looking into legislation that could prevent this from happening again. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is investigating the parking situation at the mall.