New Canaan’s Parking Commission upheld $95 in parking tickets issued to a town woman who claimed that she had been unable to retrieve her car, which was parked on Forest Street overnight at the instruction of local police officers, due to a lack of money and transportation.
Sheryl Moroch told the volunteer commission during its May 11 meeting that she was having dinner with a companion at Tequila Mockingbird on March 29 when her date had to leave abruptly. She said that she was wearing heels that night, which is rare for her because of previous knee and ankle injuries, and as she was leaving, she slipped and fell on the sidewalk.
“Someone witnessed [the fall] and called the police and they said, ‘I think someone’s intoxicated’ and by the time I got to the car, I was sopping wet and it was really coming down and I just wanted to get to my vehicle,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
Moroch went on to explain that before she fell, she only had two glasses of wine with dinner that evening and although she didn’t believe she was intoxicated, she had already made the decision to call her 19-year-old son to pick her up because she’s afraid of driving in heavy rain. The police, however, arrived first.
“The police pulled up, shined the flashlight, and an officer came to this window and [another] officer came around to this window, and I was so nervous, I thought I committed a crime,” she said.
Moroch said she told the police that she was getting ready to call her son to pick her up and wanted to wait for him in her car because it was raining. The officers informed her that she had to leave her car where it was parked and return the following day to pick it up. The officers waited with her until her son arrived to take her home. When she went pick up her car the following afternoon, Moroch found three parking tickets on her windshield.
When Chairman Keith Richey ask Moroch why she didn’t return to her car the following morning, Moroch said that her son, currently a student at an area college, was busy taking a test for most of the day and wasn’t able to drive her to Forest Street until around 4 p.m.
“Couldn’t he have taken you [to your car] on the way to school?” Richey asked.
Moroch replied that no, the nature of her relationship with her son precluded that scenario. When asked by the commission why she didn’t take a taxi, Moroch said that she didn’t have cash to pay for one and she doesn’t know how to use Uber. Her only friend in New Canaan who drives, she explained, stays in the city during the day and wouldn’t have gotten home until 6 or 7 p.m. that night. Walking also wasn’t an option, she said, because even though she doesn’t live far from Forest Street, she was in pain from the fall she had suffered the night before.
“Three parking tickets would really be a strain on me financially,” she said.
Later in the meeting, it took less than minute for the commission to vote 5-0 in favor of upholding Moroch’s tickets. Richey said that Moroch had “no cogent appeal” because she could have had her son drop her off earlier in the day or walked the few blocks to pick up her car.