Special Report: Police bust drivers parked in handicapped spaces - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Special Report: Police bust drivers parked in handicapped spaces

By Janice Broach - bio | email

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - Police have a warning for people who think it is OK to park in a handicapped parking spot when they shouldn't: don't do it.

During a recent visit to the Walmart in West Memphis, Arkansas, it didn't take long to find drivers who parked where they shouldn't be.
One driver didn't even try to fake a handicapped tag.
"I know its handicapped," she said. "I have an eye infection. I just run up here to pick up my antibiotics"

She's not alone. West Memphis police say they have busted more than 160 drivers since December for handicapped parking violations.

"Most of our citations are being written for people who have placards in their cars," West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert said.

We spotted a driver doing just that - parking in a handicapped spot, in a car with a placard, but without a handicapped person with her.

"I have handicapped tags on my car," the woman said. "I didn't know I didn't know it was a problem. I'm driving my Mom's car."

We spoke to another driver who parked his dead father-in-law's car in a handicapped spot.  The placard on the card had been issued to his father-in-law - not him.  The driver claimed he didn't know what he did was illegal.  But to West Memphis police, that didn't matter.  Police issued the man a ticket, removed his license plate, and considered calling a tow truck.
Drivers like this are a real pain for people like Carl Dishion and Stan Bruce, two disabled motorists who say they need to use handicapped spaces.

"I know how people are going to be. They could care less about the next person. I'm being truthful," Dishion said.

"What really makes me angry is when you're looking for one, you see somebody in it. They get out and they run in there and you just wish you could run like that," Bruce added.
Not all disabled drivers look disabled.  Ann Faulk has a handicapped tag because she has emphysema.

"It's very irritating if I can't find a place because I have to have one," Faulk said.

Some states are toughening laws against illegally parking in handicapped spaces. In South Carolina, a picture of the disabled person is required to be on the placard itself.

In North Carolina, new handicapped parking placards have expiration dates printed so large that they can be read from 20 feet away.

West Memphis police can run the number on a handicapped tag or placard to see who it belongs to.  If there's a violation, the offender will receive no warning from police.  Cops will seize the placard if the owner is not in the car.

And if there's no placard at all?

"Now we're going to begin towing cars if you don't have the sticker. whether you're in the car or not in the car," Paudert said.


To report handicapped fraud, click here: http://www.handicappedfraud.org/


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