Bay Area woman gets stuck with NYC parking ticket

October 13, 2011 7:56:43 PM PDT
Have you ever gotten a parking ticket you feel you didn't deserve? Well, how about one from a city thousands of miles away that you haven't visited in years? A Bay Area woman received a parking citation from a place 3,000 miles away in a city where she had never driven a car.

Katie Gilmore lives in San Francisco, works in San Francisco, and hasn't been to the East Coast in 10 years. That's why she was baffled to get a warning letter from New York City.

"I got a parking ticket in Brooklyn. It said I owed $120," said Gilmore.

To her amazement, the notice said Gilmore had received a citation from New York police on June 29th for double parking in front of some brownstone homes in Brooklyn.

"It's crazy, it's 100 percent crazy. I have never driven to New York as long as I've lived," said Gilmore.

She says she and her car were right here in San Francisco on June 29th. So she contacted New York City officials to tell them so.

"I haven't been there in years and they said too bad, you have to fight it," said Gilmore.

She sent proof to New York that she was tutoring a student in San Francisco that day, so she couldn't have been in New York. Also she pointed out, the citation says the offending car was a white Honda with California plates, Gilmore drives a gray Honda.

"I sent all the information to New York, certified. I thought that would have been the end of it and it wasn't," said Gilmore.

Weeks later New York officials said they never received her paperwork. Instead, they sent her another warning. Her fine had gone up to $145 and this could go on her credit report.

"Someone said just pay it and I said, 'I'm not going to pay it. I wasn't there,'" said Gilmore.

So she contacted 7 On Your Side. We contacted New York City's finance department which handles those parking tickets. Officials there went over the hand written citation with Gilmore. They found the handwriting was hard to make out and there had been a mistake.

Gilmore's license plate starts with 6EZN, however officials realized the citation actually says 6EZW -- a whole different car.

"Oh great that's good to know," said Gilmore.

The New York Finance Department tells us city agencies still write about 20 percent of parking tickets by hand, the rest by handheld computer. But it's rare this kind of mistake occurs and The Big Apple promptly dismissed Gilmore's ticket.

"I had a feeling you guys could help me out if I couldn't rectify it myself and I appreciate the help," said Gilmore.

That's the good news. The bad news is if you drove that white Honda that was actually double parked in New York, officials tell us you will be getting a $125 citation in the mail any day now.

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