Disabled driver issued criminal citation in handicap parking dispute

Other driver given parking ticket
Posted at 7:35 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 21:35:17-04

GOLDEN, Colo. --  A Golden woman said she doesn’t deserve the criminal citation she received following a handicap parking dispute last April.

JoAnn Z, who asked that her last name not be used, told Denver7 that she and her partner had parked in one of two handicap spots in front of a fast food restaurant, at Johnson Road and South Golden Road, and then went inside to eat.

When they came out, she said they saw a pickup truck parked illegally in the paint-striped area between the two spots.

The woman said the pickup was so close to her Jeep, she had difficulty getting inside.

“I must have hit the door here a couple of times,” she said.

The other driver, Leonard Martinez, told Denver7 that JoAnn intentionally swung her SUV door against his truck.

“I parked in the wrong spot,” he said. “I offered to move, but she slammed her door into my truck.”

JoAnn said the contact was not intentional. 

“I wasn’t feeling well and was ready to pass out,” she said. “I asked for an ambulance.”

Martinez called police.

The officer talked to both parties, and other witnesses, and then checked out the restaurant’s security video.

“There was compelling evidence for the officer to issue that citation,” said Capt. Joe Harvey of the Golden Police Department. “Both drivers were cited.”

Martinez was given a parking ticket because he parked in a handicap zone. JoAnn was cited for Criminal Mischief and must appear in court.

Harvey said the 34-year old Martinez should never have parked where he did, and that JoAnn, 71, should have simply called police.

“Unfortunately, emotions can run strong and opinions can vary,” he said, “and we can have an episode that results in actions becoming criminal. It’s always best to maintain a calm head, call police and let them investigate.”

Capt. Harvey compared this parking spot spat to the kinds of things officers see with road rage.

He said it doesn’t happen very often, but most often, is completely avoidable.