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Handicap parking - The Price to Park

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Everyday errands can be a challenge for those with disabilities.

But those simple tasks can be almost impossible when designated handicapped parking is nowhere to be found.

With handicapped parking fraud on the rise across the country, KHQA's Hailey Vetterlein explores the problem in the Tri-States in her in depth report: "The Price to Park."

"I severed my spine and that's why I'm in a wheelchair today.”

It was a crash that changed Megan Lovelace forever.

It took her a while to get used to her new life.

One thing that helped her drastically is her van which has an electronic wheelchair ramp that folds out of the vehicle.

"It honestly changed my life, I absolutely love it. It's so much easier.”

Now it only takes Megan 2-3 minutes to get in and out of her car - if she can.

"If we don't have the proper space then I can't get my ramp out of the car so I'm basically trapped and can't get out of the car."

This is a problem Megan deals with daily.

That's because other drivers sometimes park in the blue-striped areas next to designated handicap parking spots.

Those lines are designed to give those in wheelchairs enough space to get their ramps up and down.

"That's probably my biggest challenge with handicap parking and handicap zones."

We parked a KHQA car just one foot over the lines to see how hard it would be on Megan.

"So if this happens...you're right Hailey, I probably can't do that."

Now an everyday errand has become even more of a challenge for Megan.

Quincy Patrol Officer William Calkins is aware that this is a problem in the Tri-States and all over the country.

"If someone parks on that it's illegal, that’s still the handicap area. If someone handicapped can't load or unload we will tow that vehicle," explains Patrol Officer William Calkins.

As often as they can, officers will check handicap parking spots for those parked illegally.

That includes parking over the cross-hatch lines, parking in a handicap spot with an invalid handicap plaque or license, or parking in a handicap spot with no handicap plaque or license at all.

Calkins says tickets will be written, and the fine can range from $500 up to the thousands.

"That's one of those offenses that doesn't get a pass from officers. We don't want handicap people not to be able to park where they need to," Calkins added.
"It's very important to have that space for us, and for drivers to be aware of that space, because it is needed."

The Quincy Police Department asks that you contact an officer if you ever see someone parking incorrectly in a handicap spot and they will handle it from there.

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