Metro-East News

Disability parking spot stealers face stiff penalties in Black Friday police sting

Those who parked illegally in disability spots at St. Clair Square Mall on Black Friday faced hefty fines issued by the Illinois Secretary of State Police.

Out of 225 inspected placards, four citations were issued Friday by police, Elizabeth Kaufman, of the Secretary of State’s office, said.

The disability parking sting over the weekend was part of widespread enforcement of disability placards and license plates, a project undertaken for the past 11 years by the Secretary of State’s office.

Three tickets were given to cars who had no disability placard or license displayed at all, each receiving a $350 fine.

The fourth citation, a $600 ticket and 6-month driver’s license suspension, was issued for misuse of a placard. Kaufman said police issued the ticket because a person was using the placard who did not have the disability and the authorized holder was not present.

The disability placard was confiscated by police.

Other targeted shopping centers were in Aurora, Bloomington, Carbondale, Chicago, Oak Brook, Orland Park, Peoria, Rockford, Schaumburg and Springfield, according to Patch.com.

“Our mission is not to issue tickets, but to ensure that accessible parking spaces are available to those who need them,” Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White told Patch.com. “Parking illegally in a space reserved for people with disabilities means a possible driver’s license suspension and a hefty fine, money which could otherwise be used on gifts. Remember, if you don’t belong there, don’t park there.”

Anyone who observes abuse of disability parking spaces is encouraged to call the Secretary of State’s office at 217-785-0309 or on www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

However, a woman interviewed by Patch.com also reminds the public that some disabilities are not immediately visible, such as multiple sclerosis, and reported that nasty notes had been left on her car when she used her legitimate disability placard to park at the doctor’s office. She warned that people should not automatically assume a person is not disabled if they aren’t using a wheelchair or cane at that moment.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6

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