Some in Rocky River caught using handicapped parking placards registered to dead people

ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - Rocky River police are cracking down on people who use handicapped parking placards illegally.

Over the course of four work shifts, one officer ticketed seven people. Some drivers were caught using dead people's handicapped signs to get closer to the front door.

"I've driven around and around and around, and I yell at people like, 'Why are you parking here? You're walking and you don't even have a handicapped sign,'" said Angela Bossone, who's been wheelchair bound for 26 years.

Bossone uses a car-topper that carries and unloads her wheelchair for her. Not only does she need a spot close to the front door, she needs space.

"Somebody really needs the space and you're taking it and you have two legs and you can walk," she said.

Between Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, one Rocky River police officer ticketed seven people who he caught using placards that weren't theirs. Police said some of the placards were expired, while others were registered to people who'd died years ago.

Rocky River Police Lt. George Lichman calls it a matter of common decency.

"Those handicap spots can extend their independence and when there's no handicapped spots to use that is a significant impediment on their day to day lives," he said.

Lichman said the police department gets calls about the crime often.

"People will call and say a young, healthy-looking person walked into a store using a handicap placard. While that's not in and of itself evidence of a violation, it certainly deserves a second look," Lichman said.

Bossone said she actually saw the officer ticketing a woman this week.

"The officer pulled up and I thanked him because she was using somebody's placard that died in '09," Bossone said.

She hopes Rocky River officers continue to crack down on the trend.

"It's frustrating, so I'm really glad Rocky River is doing such a great job," she said.

Police said that most of the time, people are illegally using handicapped parking placards that belong to family or friends. People who get caught either get a parking ticket or a uniform traffic ticket.

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