Ticketed driver says sign appeared after he parked

June 12, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

Ed Dishman knew that the no-parking sign wasn't there when he left his car at the North Linthicum light rail station. After tossing him in jail for a night, the police found out he may be right.

The Crownsville resident rode the light rail to an afternoon Orioles game on June 2. Because the station parking lot was full, he parked on a nearby residential street.

When he came back, Mr. Dishman, 56, was incensed to discover a $10 ticket on his windshield and a temporary, cardboard no-parking sign stapled to a nearby tree.

"I'm not stupid," Mr. Dishman said. "I'm not going to park in front of a parking sign and risk a ticket just to ride light rail. It would be easier just to drive to the stadium."

Convinced that a police officer had posted the sign after he had parked, Mr. Dishman tore it down and drove to the Anne Arundel County Northern District Police station to confront the officer.

While he was there, a resident telephoned the station to complain that someone had been tearing down no-parking signs on the street. And Mr. Dishman then was charged with malicious destruction of property and thrown into the district lock-up.

He protested that the sign was tacked up after he parked, but "the officer didn't believe it, his platoon commander didn't believe it and I wouldn't have believed it either," said Capt. Gary Barr, district commander.

Except it was true. Captain Barr said he learned Thursday that neither his department nor any other county agency had erected the signs, which resulted in about six cars being ticketed that day.

"The officer was acting in good faith," Captain Barr said. "He had no idea where the signs came from, but they were county signs." Captain Barr said after a brief investigation, "our information suggests that perhaps a citizen put the signs up."

Linda Wade, a resident of Koch Road, acknowledged Friday that her neighbors posted the signs, as they do before every Orioles day game.

"We've had a problem ever since light rail opened with people parking on both sides of our street, blocking our entrances," said Mrs. Wade, who acknowledged calling police when Mr. Dishman tore one of the signs down.

Mrs. Wade said that the police department gave the neighbors the signs last year amid severe problems with on-street parking.

Captain Barr has recommended to the state prosecutor that charges against Mr. Dishman be dropped.

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