Motorist Says Parking Ticket Piling On

Jason Atkins never dreamed a white Christmas might save his life, or what the city would ticket him for after his accident.

“It was deep snow and that probably prevented me from serious injury.”

Atkins said Christmas night he hit a patch of ice on I-680 near Maple Street in Omaha and rolled his pickup. Though not hurt, Atkins said he couldn’t get a tow truck to respond for three days due to the blizzard.
By Monday a tow company agreed to pick up his truck but the city had beat them to it.

Atkins’ pickup was towed to city impound where he went to pay various fees. But he found there’s more than the bill.

“The lady presented me with a parking ticket. I kind of chuckled and thought it was a joke.”

Police had issued Atkins at ticket for parking in a prohibited place. Atkins said that’s where he ended up in the snow after rolling over his pickup.

“It’s not like I intentionally parked it there. I made efforts to get the vehicle out of the ditch.”

Omaha City Prosecutor Marty Conboy said Atkins can appeal the parking ticket. “Cars go off the road in storms and that’s common. Its not intentional and we don’t prosecute for something that’s an accident.”

Though Conboy stresses drivers need to make every effort to have a vehicle removed as quickly as possible.

Atkins said he’ll appeal the $16 ticket. “It’s the principle. How can you give someone a ticket for illegal parking when they didn’t intentionally park there?”

Omaha police said roadways are regularly patrolled for abandoned vehicles and it’s likely an officer didn’t know the pickup had rolled and landed upright. So it appeared stuck and abandoned.

Police will look into the circumstances for the ticket so other drivers aren’t caught by surprise when their vehicles are towed after a winter storm.

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