Elderly Garfield Heights couple fined for leaving garbage can out overnight

Updated: Nov. 4, 2019 at 6:44 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Clifford Williams, 73, says he and his wife of 54 years have lived in Garfield Heights for more than four decades, and for the first time, they’re in trouble with city leaders.

Section 913.04 of the Garfield Heights Municipal Code says it is a violation to fail to remove rubbish containers from the front of a home or structure within twelve hours of rubbish collection.

“They sent a letter out saying they had issued a warrant for my wife’s arrest," said Clifford.

Williams told me his wife Marion was recovering from a broken ankle and that in the process of taking care of her, he just didn’t make it out to fetch the can.

Since that time they’ve tried to get some answers about the fine, but they missed their payment and a court date, so now the bill is approaching $200. They said they’re on a fixed income and just can’t afford it.

“I’m an old person, my knees are bad and I’m a disabled Vietnam Veteran," said Clifford.

Marion said she’s afraid of going to jail.

19 News talked with Garfield Heights Law Director Tim Riley, and he said the couple won’t face jail time since it’s a misdemeanor. He said they’ll have to show up to court later this month and work it out with the judge and the prosecutor.

“What we do, before we send a ticket, we send a warning and then the second time they get a ticket, okay. And if somebody has a problem with the ability to get their garbage, they can call us, we can work with them, find ways to work with their family," said Riley. “We’re not looking to put anybody in jail at any time for for something like this," he said.

“I don’t intend to pay. The trash can sitting in one place? Just overnight? That’s ridiculous. Never heard of it in my life," said Clifford.

19 News will keep you updated on this story.

Copyright 2019 WOIO. All rights reserved.