Imagine you park in a two hour spot, but when you come back, within the time frame, there's a ticket on your windshield.
It says you were parked there at 8:00 in the morning. Your tire is even marked. But you know you were still in your driveway at home. It's happened to several people in downtown Richmond.
"Thoroughly irritated," said Evelyn Henson, who works downtown. She suffered a blood clot in her lungs several year ago and has scar tissue, which means she can no longer walk great distances. Her handicap sticker allows her to park in a spot for four hours.
She parked on 7th street in late August, but when she went to move her car at lunch, she got a ticket.
Rachel: "That ticket basically says you were parked in that spot at 8:21 in the morning. Is that possible?"
Evelyn: "Not, absolutely, no possible at all."
The ticket was written at 12:21 in the afternoon. It says her tire was chalked at 8:18 in the morning.
"I wasn't even in the city. I was still in my driveway at home. That's outrageous," said Henson.
And she can prove it! She showed us her EZ Pass record. At 8:37 in the morning, she's time stamped going through a toll plaza and couldn't possibly be in that spot at 8:18.
"This isn't justice! I think it gives the city a bad name, because I certainly wouldn't come down here and park if I didn't work here."
Same thing happened to Short Pump's Trevor Dickerson. He parked on Main Street, in a two hour time limit. He was there for a 45-minute lunch.
A screen capture of his foursquare account shows he checked in at Little Mexico at 12:01 in the afternoon. His ticket was written two minutes later at 12:03. It says his tire was chalked at 8:55.
"It's incredibly frustrating. I'm going to fight it and hopefully this will bring to attention their practices," said Dickerson.
A judge threw that ticket out of court.
And then there's Sharon Bishop. She parked at a meter on 14th street. She even had 15 minutes left on it, when she found a ticket on her car.
"It was a two-hour meter and I got there before the two hours had expired," said Bishop.
The ticket says her tire was chalked at 9:19 in the morning, but that's impossible. A receipt shows she was getting gas at the Forest Hill WaWa at 9:47 a.m.
So what's happening here? "Occasionally, there is human error," said Public Works and Parking Enforcement spokesperson Sharon North. "It happens. Not extremely often, but sometimes it does. And in those instances, there is remediation to the benefit of the person who's car it is."
In fact, in a dispute like this, you can go online and click on administrative review of tickets. You will also have to scan in or mail in your airtight proof.
"We take it very seriously, you know, that when tickets are administered that they are honored and paid and we take very seriously if a mistake may have been made," said North.
Two of the three tickets were thrown out of court. Evelyn says it would cost her too much money to take off work, so she just paid the fine.
The city is reviewing our findings with the people who wrote the bad tickets, to find out how they could have made this mistake.
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