Hearing Examiner #: HE-13-VI-029
City Contact:Officer Leake
Hearing Date: 10/02/2013
Description: Vehicle Impound request of Roya Forghani re impound of a 2010 Toyota Corolla on 9/14/13
Decision Date: 10/09/2013
This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 2nd day of October 2013 on the request of Roya Forghani regarding the impound of her 2010 Toyota Corolla vehicle on September 14, 2013 by the Bellingham Police Department.
Testimony was received from Roya Forghani, Requestor.
In addition to the Bellingham Municipal Code, the following documents were considered as part of the record: Impounded Vehicle Hearing Request Form, BPD LongArm Case Report No. 13B-37824 by Officer Lewis Leake, Authorization to Tow/Impound and Inventory Record, CAD Report, ASAP Towing Invoice No. 203155 for $320.67.
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. On September 14, 2013 at approximately 8:15 am Bellingham Police Officer Lewis Leake was working traffic control for the Fairhaven Runners 15-K footrace in the 100 block of W. Chestnut Street in Bellingham. Signs had been posted by the City Parks and Recreation Department indicating that the street was a no parking zone that day from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
2. Officer Leake observed a 2010 Toyota Corolla vehicle parked in a metered space which had a temporary no parking sign attached to the meter. He attempted to contact the registered owners, Roya Forghani and Salman Yousefi by going to the call box at their residence. He received no answer to his call and left a voice message. He then authorized ASAP Towing to remove the vehicle to the ASAP Towing impound lot.
3. Officer Leake was later advised that the 100 block of W. Chestnut Street had not been posted until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2013. The Police Department had not been notified that the posting had been delayed.
4. Ms. Forghani indicated that the vehicle had been parked in front of her building and that there was no sign late on Friday, September 13, 2013. She indicated that her phone had been silenced because they were sleeping at the time the Officer attempted to call. She also stated that she would not have seen the sign even if it had been posted the day before the impound because it was placed in an inconspicuous spot.
5. RCW 46.55 requires notice that vehicles will be towed be posted at least 24-hours in advance of the time of removal. 24-hours notice was not provided in this instance and the sign was not in place at the time Ms. Forghani last viewed her vehicle the previous night.
6. Ms. Forghani redeemed her vehicle on September 14, 2013 at 11:31 a.m. and paid $181.00 in towing fees, $23.00 for one half day storage, $91.00 for after-hours release of the vehicle and tax in the amount of $25.67, for a total of $320.67
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The posted signs were not in place for the minimum prescribed time to allow removal of parked vehicles except in the case of an emergency.
2. The removal of Ms. Forghani's vehicle from W. Chestnut Street on September 14, 2013 was not authorized.
3. Ms. Forghani should be reimbursed by the City of Bellingham for the cost of towing and storage of the vehicle and the fee for the impound hearing.
The impound of the 2010 Toyota Corolla owned by Roya Forghani was not authorized by statute. Ms. Forghani should be reimbursed by the City of Bellingham for $320.67 paid to ASAP Towing and $73.00 paid for the impound hearing.
ENTERED this 9th
day of October 2013.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner