On 10/18/14, 10:03 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Found it... I think...
Section 6 (62)
Red light in front
"(15) In addition to the lighting requirements in this Part, a vehicle
described in subsection (15.1) may carry lamps that cast a red light
only or such other colour of light that may, with the approval of the
ministry, be designated by a by-law of the municipality in which the
vehicle is operated, but no other motor vehicle shall carry any lamp
that casts a red light to the front. 1998, c. 35, s. 103."
(Outre les exigences en matière d’éclairage prévues par la présente
partie, un véhicule visé au paragraphe (15.1) peut être muni de feux
émettant une lumière rouge seulement ou une autre couleur qui peut, avec
l’approbation du ministère, être désignée par un règlement municipal
adopté par la municipalité dans laquelle le véhicule est utilisé.
Toutefois, nul autre véhicule automobile ne doit être muni d’un feu
émettant une lumière rouge à l’avant. 1998, chap. 35, art. 103.)
Where is Inspector Clousseau when I need him to translate! I'm
surprised the police officer could see the map light from in front of
the vehicle. I haven't found any restrictions on reflectors.
(Naturally, I would have removed my red tape if I thought it presented a
Cars are routinely stolen to rob banks, kidnap people, transport drugs, etc.
As a former police reporter I can think of a dozen nefarious reasons why
that car is sitting there. I realize your heart's in the right place and
your experiences with HOAs are guiding your actions but some of us believe
that you are postulating all sorts of *good* things about why the car is
apparently abandoned and ignoring all sorts of *bad* reasons it might be.
That's definitely debatable.
Are you sure? Perhaps they would run the plate and knock on the door of the
owner to make sure he/she wasn't lying there with a broken leg, praying that
someone would come and check on them. I know you believe you're doing the
owner a service, but there just aren't enough facts to be sure. It's just
impossible for you or anyone else to tell from what little we know *why*
that car is sitting there with a flat tire.
I suspect what you're doing reflects how *you* would want to be treated if
you had gone on vacation and left the car there, but what if you had fallen
and had been lying on the floor for days? That recently happened to my
ex-boss, FWIW, and that event had very serious consequences for him - he had
to move out of his house to an assisted care facility because he suffered a
series of mini-strokes lying on the floor for four days.
So it's quite natural for our differing experiences to shape our ideas of
what may have happened or might happen. I have recurring nightmares of my
car going missing because of years spent in NYC living with alternate side
of the street parking. If you forgot to wake up before 5AM to move your
car, it got towed. Back then it was expensive and inconvenient and my
friends tell me now it's incredibly expensive and unbelievably inconvenient.
So I get why you acted in the way you did. If you can prevent that from
happening to someone, it's a mitzvah, to be sure. But there are some
That certainly could be one scenario, and I'll agree it's likely, especially
since you've been able to determine (unless the cops were shining you on!)
that it was not stolen and that it was already "red tagged." (Maryland cop
speak for a notice of abandonment.)
My problem is that as professional catastrophist, I can postulate a scenario
where having pumped up a tire that's leaking could be a very bad thing.
Maybe it has a nail in it. With you pumping it up (but not actually
inspecting or repairing the tire) the driver may not realize he could be in
danger. If he drives off and hits highway speeds that nail could pop out
and cause a blowout causing him to lose control. How much would your good
deed be worth to him in that case? So get out your jack and tire repair
kit, Micky or plaster a huge note on the car that couldn't be missed, even
at night by someone in a hurry, explaining you've been pumping up the tire.
In my experience, no one would reasonably suspect a good Samaritan would be
pumping up his flat tire. Therefore he would not suspect there was a defect
that needed correcting.
Do you leave you house and car for long periods of time without having a
neighbor or friend collect mail and check on the property? This person
apparently didn't have anyone checking on his car and IMHO, that's stupid if
there are no extenuating circumstances.
Having the car towed (if indeed that even happens from an interaction with
the police) might serve as a valuable lesson not to leave next time without
arranging for someone to check things out while he/she is away.
Ironically, I am sure had this person asked you to check on his vehicle
periodically, you would have because you're willing to pump up his/her tire
so we know you're quite willing to help out your neighbors. The error here
is the car's owner not making those arrangements - if this is a case of
someone traveling and not anything more sinister.
There's a legal process for dealing with abandoned vehicles that's designed
to avoid such a problem. It's nice that you're concerned but the best thing
to do would be to contact the police and follow-up on what happens.
Especially if you phrase it as you have done with us. "I think this is a
neighbor that might have taken ill suddenly or had to leave the area without
arranging for a neighbor to monitor his house/car - can you help me?"
One person you talked to said that. I can't help but think, like the IRS,
ask a different person and you'll get a different answer. Ask not for whom
the bell tolls, Micky, it tolls for thee. In other words why not undertake
your own investigation and knock on your neighbor's doors indicating your
concern for the owner and asking if anyone knows who owns the car? In for a
penny, in for a pound. I realize that could trigger the very towing process
you're seeking to avoid, but if there's an illness, injury or some other
foul play afoot, it seems like it's the only way to be sure you're actually
As you've pointed out, there's a lot of variability in police response and
they're highly unlikely to break in (especially on private property) but if
you expressed your concern for his welfare they might knock on his door or
inquire with a neighbor. I know the police have been getting a bad rap
lately, but they're not monsters and a lot of them do see their job as to
"protect and serve."
Police do "welfare checks" all the time. It sounds like you've convinced
yourself they are almost always odious bastards who can't wait to swoop down
and tow a car without lifting a finger to determine if there might be a
reason the car was left with a flat tire and unchecked for days or weeks. I
don't share that opinion and if you expressed that you thought it might be
an elderly neighbor in duress to them, I think they would respond
appropriately, knocking on his door - since they can run his plate and get
his address (and if no answer, a neighbor's) to ascertain his whereabouts
I hope that you see by wanting to stay anonymous, you've actually made
yourself suspicious. I wouldn't have any concerns about giving my name and
number to the local police when reporting something unusual and have done it
many times. They get "pranked" all the time and are much more likely to
investigate/cooperate/act positively if they have the citizen's information.
And they are much less likely to believe you're a stalker that wants the
driver's information for nefarious reasons. They get that number run by
them all the time which makes them extra cautious - sometimes to the point
of making them seem unconcerned or indifferent.
If your interactions have been like mine, they are incredibly variable
depending on who you talked to, what their workload is for the time your
called, etc. I've had them respond to a suspicious person call in under two
minutes (and make an arrest) whereas other times, they arrived after the
suspect was long gone (hours afterward). It's hard to come up with a
legitimate evaluation of police services based on the interactions of just
one person (yourself, in this case). It's also possible you've gotten onto
their "crank list" and therefore all bets are off. (-:
You can rest assured that they do. I believe in Baltimore all calls to any
police telephone number for public access are not only caller ID'ed but
Perhaps not overt accusations but sometimes even a blind pig finds a
truffle. They might have figured out from your desire to remain anonymous
that you think encounters with them end badly and they will respond
indifferently or worse.
Even though you are polite I think they've pegged you as just a little weird
as in why on earth would you NOT want to give your name, especially, as if
you've theorized, you're doing a good deed for this citizen. By wanting to
remain anonymous, I think it's clear that you believe the interaction will
be negative, not positive, and I strongly believe that's not something you
want to indicate, especially if you want their help in IDing the owner of
the car *without* towing it.
I just hope all your positive suppositions are correct and our negative ones
are wrong. The problem is that the positive interpretations mean perhaps a
costly and annoying tow but the negative ones mean someone may have died
because no one checked on their welfare. You talked about living with
yourself if the guy got towed. Could you live with yourself if you actions
turned out to delay live-saving help from arriving? I'd judge the latter to
be a far less "livable with" situation.
I'd say your next step is to canvas door-to-door like a cop and get the real
story behind this car. I had some moron ride up pretty far onto my property
and put his bike behind my van in my driveway this weekend, then pound on my
door. I was lounging around in my BVDs, and didn't know him so I ignored
him (he was clearly a low-life). So I watched it all on the CCTV and when
he started going into the backyard and walking all around the house I
finally put my pants on and came outside with my taser in my jacket pocket.
I assure you I was pretty pissed off because he was spending a lot of time
fiddling with something right behind my van that I couldn't quite see from
the angle of the CCTV camera (ordered a new one to get a better view!) I
got especially torqued when he wouldn't leave immediately when I said to
leave my property after saying he was looking for Randy, the name of the
drug-dealing neighbor that lived across the street in Section 8 housing
until the DEA came for him early one morning. Then I *knew* he was a
low-life SOB. It wasn't until I pulled out the cell phone and dialed 911
that he even began to make motions towards leaving. He wanted to know where
I can only imagine how I would feel if I came outside and found him effing
with my tire! Actions like that are very easy to misinterpret even if the
intentions are innocent.
So now it's time to canvas your neighbors who I believe will be helpful and
understand you're trying to be helpful too. I think they'll appreciate that
you'd do them same for them and would be worried about their cars being
damaged if they were towed, especially if the car ended up sitting idle
because of some sort of emergency.
I think you might recall when we had a similar situation in my neighborhood
and the a-hole Iranian living across the street took offense to the next
door neighbor parking his work truck in front of MY house overnight. He
called the parking authority and the city inspectors came along and wrote
everyone on the street up for every infraction they could find. I got
tagged for not having enough pea stone in my unpaved driveway. I mention
that just by way of cautioning your neighbors if they invite the "tow
monster" into their neighborhood, he might do more harm than good.
Just make sure to check for the smell of death as you canvas the
neighborhood looking for the car's owner or someone who knows who owns it.
(-: FWIW, I believe the man suspected of killing Virginia resident Heather
Graham was caught because an astute observer called in his license plate
somewhere in Texas as "not being where he belonged." So even though his car
was not stolen, the plate was flagged as being wanted in connection with an
investigation and certainly could end up being the key to solving one if not
several murders of young women.
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