Winter parking ban claims its first victims

December 1, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Starting on December 1st parking is not allowed on many streets until April 1st, even if there is no snow on the ground.

Once again, people were caught off guard and now the hassle of getting their car back begins.

"I feel like crying! No. They can't do this to people. This is highway robbery!" lamented Aubrey Jackson.

Jackson's vehicle was one of 188 cars towed overnight. The only thing worse than losing his van, he says, is the hour-long process to get it back.

"Then they got a sign in there with all happy faces saying, 'how are you feeling?' Well, how do you think we're feeling if the line's outside the door?" said a frustrated Jackson.

Tow trucks began snatching vehicle after vehicle as the city's winter overnight parking ban went into effect at 3 a.m.

"I'm what's the point of this?" said Mike Gursoy.

"I ran out with my boxers on and my car was gone," said Michael Lee.

At the city's auto pounds, the unlucky or unobservant, arrived in taxis and on foot to shell out up to $210 to reclaim their vehicles.

"If I say what is on my mind, they'll probably be kicking me out of this country because I am so mad," said Loretta Nwachukwu, whose car was towed.

"My mom actually called me last night and told me about this winter parking thing, and I didn't think that I was parked in a zone," said Jenny Buschner, another victim.

Student Meghan Fahey was late for a final exam Thursday, but her professor is letting her make it up.

"The city towed my car excuse is working today," said Fahey.

Les Ramirez saw her car being towed and thought it was being stolen, so she hopped in her boyfriend's car and the two gave chase.

"So I called 911," said her boyfriend Diego Morales. "I can tell she's very nervous and scared. And I'm the one driving, and I'm holding the phone. And she's just like freaking out."

This is not how Ramirez wanted to spend her birthday.

"We told them [it was my birthday], but I don't think that counts," said Ramirez.

Aubrey Jackson says he doesn't plan to be back.

"They're always saying there's no money. How's there's no money, you all taking people's cars, towing people's cars? You all have some money," said Jackson.

The overnight parking ban, which covers more than one hundred miles of city streets, remains in effect until April 1st.

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