HILLSBORO, Ore. - Kary James only parked in the disabled spot for a moment Wednesday as he prepared to whisk his laboring wife to the hospital, but it was long enough for a towing company to extract his vehicle - which held important items for the birth including his video camera.
The couple, who have two other children, had to get to the hospital by ambulance. James' wife Melissa gave birth to a baby boy a short time later. Both mother and baby are doing well, according to the family.
James said he unknowingly parked in a handicapped spot near his apartment during a flurry of activity that included dropping his two other children off at their grandparents' home and then running back to his apartment to grab some things for the birth.
James does not have a permit to park in a handicapped space.
When he and his about-to-deliver wife came back to the car, however, it was in the process of being towed away by Sergeants Towing. They said they were only gone for a few minutes and when they returned the car was already on the hook of the tow truck.
James said they tried to explain their situation to the tow truck driver that was taking the car away but the driver told them it would cost $200 right then for him to leave the car.
A spokesperson for the towing company said James told them he was not going to pay the money and that they gave him time to retrieve items from the vehicle.
James said those were not good reasons to tow the car away under the circumstances. He then called Hillsboro police.
Officers told KATU News they tried to mediate the situation but that they had no jurisdiction over the matter. The car was then towed away.
James said his wife, Melissa, was devastated to see the things they needed for the hospital get towed away inside their car. He was unable to videotape the birth as he had done for his two other children.
The couple went to the hospital by ambulance.
A representative for Sergeants Towing said the driver gave the family more than 20 minutes to come up with the money and get items out of the car.
Police said the towing company was acting legally but that they could have also considered the circumstances in this particular case.
James said that he has not had a chance to retrieve his car from Sergeants.