CLEVELAND-You may be surprised by what the FOX 8 I-Team uncovered over the weekend that left many drivers surprised, furious and left to pay hundreds of dollars to get their cars back.
Seems nearly every town in Northeast Ohio had a snow parking ban, restrictions on parking on streets so that plows could get through. That led to many more tickets and cars towed than a lot of people expected.
Monday, we found a steady line of drivers handing over big money to get their cars out of an impound lot.
And police body camera video from the wee hours of Sunday morning shows Newburgh Heights police confronting the driver of a box truck left parked on the street.
Cleveland police say officers handed out 178 tickets, and they had 64 vehicles towed.
We met some of the drivers at the impound lot. They claimed they either didn’t know their street was restricted by a snow parking ban, or they had nowhere else to park.
One man said, "I came out to go to work, and my car was gone." Another said,
"There's a snow street sign 200 yards away, but there was like 6 other cars there, so I thought nothing of it."
And another said, "My daughter said, ‘Dad, they're towing my car.' After I heard that, I got up, ran out, and they was towing my car.”
In Newburgh Heights, video shows an officer told the driver of a large truck on the street, "So, we have a snow ban. Snow ban's been in effect since yesterday. So at this point, middle of the night, vehicle's being towed."
The driver responded, "I mean, I literally got here not too long ago, so I didn't know."
If you don't see a snow parking ban sign, how else can you tell if your street is affected? In Cleveland, you can find a list of the streets on the city's website. Newburgh Heights police post about it on social media sites. And officers even drive around making announcements on loudspeakers and knocking on doors.
Monday, Lakewood police also sent out a warning for anyone with a car on the street still snowed in or left unattended. Lakewood Police expected to start ticketing and towing on Tuesday.
So next time it snows, consider yourself warned. Police will, in fact, take steps to clear room for plows.
This link will take you to the City of Cleveland site with streets affected by snow parking bans.