Local News

Towing Victims: Police Carried Away With Clearing Parade Path

Posted November 20, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Some downtown Raleigh residents got a rude awakening Saturday morning. Their cars were towed to clear the way for the Raleigh Christmas Parade.

Residents of the Cameron Court apartments say they were not warned that they would be towed if they were parked on Hillsborough Street. They think the Raleigh Police Department should shell out the cash it cost to get their cars back.

"It was a great parade. It looked beautiful," towing victim Judith Earley said. "I enjoyed it until I realized my car was in in its path. When I came to look for it, it was gone."

Cameron Court residents had a front-row seat to the Christmas parade from their apartments on Hillsborough Street. For more than two dozen residents whose cars were towed, it was a little too close.

"I didn't know where my car was, I didn't have any idea," towing victim Erica Bruce said. "I thought it was stolen."

Police say "no parking" signs were posted on Hillsborough Street Friday night. They were gone Saturday afternoon, and many residents say they never saw them.

"At the police department they said there were tons of signs," Bruce said. "I came home around 1:30 last night, and the only signs I saw here were the keep off the grass signs."

Residents think the police should have given them fair warning by posting more signs and putting them up earlier.

"Just stick a note on our mailbox, or one sign on our mailbox saying please don't park on Hillsborough street on Saturday morning," Cameron Court resident Rick Tucker said.

Police did warn some residents by banging on their doors at 7 a.m. Others had to spend between $35 and $85 to get their cars back. Some think the police department should pick up the tab.

"I would like to be reimbursed for my towing costs because I don't feel they did a sufficient job in notifying people who live here," Earley said.

Raleigh Police would not comment about how much notice they are required to give before they start towing cars. Some Cameron Court residents say they plan to file complaints on Monday.

For others the parade was nothing but fun. Thousands of people crowded the streets of downtown Raleigh to take part in the Triangle holiday tradition.

The Raleigh Christmas parade has kicked off the holiday season since 1940. Dozens of floats and marching bands helped ring in the season. Perfect weather brought out big crowds who came to enjoy a family favorite.

Police estimate 70,000 people attended the parade, making it one of the biggest on record.