Snow Tow Debacles in Hoboken
Narrow streets, snowy conditions, traffic headaches
Back on the January 14th Hoboken Police Blotter – it was reported that an Am-Care Ambulance struck two parked cars on 3rd Street. Hoboken resident Ryan was one of those cars – and details his very strange experiences.
What a debacle!
“I am the unfortunate owner of the “illegally” (I’ll explain…) parked car that the ambulance struck on 3rd and Park. The reason I’m writing you this email is because your website is actually the first of what I’d consider an official confirmation of what happened to my car last night at all! What has happened to me afterward has truly blown my mind so I figured it might be worth it to share my story.
When I left my apartment to head off to work I discovered that my car was no longer where I’d left it the night before, which was in a snowy, but fully LEGAL, metered spot on 3rd. After I confirmed there was no broken glass on the ground (removing my fears that it had been stolen) I called the Mile Square tow yard. The voice on the other end of the line confirmed that yes my car was towed in, and also notified me of the pleasant news that it had been hit by something (an ambulance, he thought). At this point I was a little torn since I felt terrible that an ambulance hit my car (hoping that it wasn’t on its way somewhere), but also a little strange that I had not been notified in any way of what had happened (no voicemail). Then he went on to say that I needed to come get my insurance & reg because I then needed to go to the PD to get the release forms. What was odd is that while I remembered that my car wasn’t parked in the most ideal position because of this snow, I absolutely made sure that it wasn’t excessively jutting out in to the road- this is a routine of mine because I 1) try not to be an a-hole to others when dealing with Hoboken parking, and 2) because I don’t want my car to get hit by anything. Later on I also confirmed with the tow truck driver that while it may have been sticking out a little bit (when he got there, after the accident) it wasn’t excessive.
To work off some anger I hoofed it to 16th and Jefferson (from around 3rd St.) got my insurance and reg. This is when things started to get strange…
See what happened next – after the jump…
“When I arrived at the tow yard there were two things on my windshield: a citation (of course) for improper parking, and a hand scrawled note that read “Your vehicle was struck by another vehicle. A report will be generated regarding the incident. Time 0235 hours contact the Hoboken PD with any questions.” I thought this note was a little peculiar because it was literally scribbled on a ripped piece of paper. At the time I didn’t think too much of this, and I hoofed it all the way back to the Hoboken PD to get my release forms.
However, when I arrived at the PD, they told me I did not need release forms, but they never offered me a reason why. The officers said that I could just go pick up my car, and they even phoned the tow yard saying I didn’t need release forms. They said I should call my insurance and get a copy of the police report in about 5 days. Once again I stress that no one at the PD offered any details about what happened, and yet my story gets stranger…
When I arrived back at the tow yard the supervisor was actually arguing with the tow truck driver about the absurdity of this situation. He said that “he’d never heard of a situation where a car towed for a citation didn’t need a release from the PD,” and seemed to be pissed that this should’ve been considered an accident if there was no release form necessary, probably because a citation tow is an $80 fee, while an accident tow is a $125 fee. I barely knew what to make of this myself, and when I questioned the tow truck driver who’d just run my $80 fee his uncensored (but well intentioned) advice was that “I should just take my car and get the f*** out” because he didn’t understand what was going on either. He wrote on my receipt that a person from the PD stated no release forms were necessary, even though my receipt showed that I was billed for the fee assessed to cars towed due to citations.
After this initial fiasco I made my way to work in my bashed up car (rear driver wheel well smashed, alignment way off possibly due to a bent rear axle, huge unsafe bulge in my tire I discovered after I safely made it to work) I started to think about the events that had transpired. My car was supposedly hit by an ambulance (no one had really confirmed it to this point) and was supposedly towed for a citation, yet did not require a release from the PD. It just didn’t add up. Further inspection also showed that there is absolutely NO mention of any accident OR property damage on my citation, even though my car has about 2-4k in damage and apparently an ambulance was damaged; it just said I was improperly parked. I would think that if I was parked is such a crude manner that it caused an accident with an ambulance that such a detail would’ve made it to the citation.
Putting even more thought into this (I was now very suspicious) lead me to another detail that has since bothered me the most: both police cars AND ambulances routinely drive down 3rd; I live very close by and know that at least one of each goes down this street every couple hours. That means that at least a few of each had almost certainly passed my “illegally” and “improperly” parked car without incident from the time I parked it yesterday (~530PM) until when it was hit (~230AM). Knowing that this is Hoboken we’re dealing with, one would think that my car would’ve been ticketed the first time a police car noticed it was “improper.” However when I looked at the citation this wasn’t the case: the citation was from 2:55AM. I find it very strange that my car was only “improperly” parked AFTER it was hit by an ambulance.
Now please tell me (and be honest) what is the more likely:
-A Hoboken cop somehow DIDN’T immediately ticket a car “improperly” and “illegally” parked on a main route (for ambulances) at first opportunity, very early in the night.
-An out of town ambulance that isn’t used to our tight streets hits my car and gets an easy out from a cop who cites me for parking “illegally” (which excuses the ambulance driver of any liability) and has my car towed. And then said cop somehow doesn’t file the correct paperwork (probably because I shouldn’t have been towed in the first place) and the result is my car that was towed due to a citation doesn’t end up needing a release from the PD, even though they supposedly had it towed due to a citation.
I’m relatively new to Hoboken (just surpassed 1 year here) so I would very much appreciate any insight from whoever takes the time to read this. I’m just at a loss as to what really happened here, and pretty much everyone I’ve told this story to today has suggested I get a lawyer which I intend to do because the cost to fix my car will be considerable.”
What do you think of Ryan’s situation? Is this just something that got lost in the sauce due to the overwhelming problems the recent snow storms caused?