Wisconsin Parking Officer Gives Offender a Break – For Walking Home

Your Hump-day Recess: Making a No-Fine Distinction

note to police avoiding owi The man was parked illegally in a metered lot. Few offenses are so clear-cut: either you’re parked legally or you’re not. But a Wausau, Wisconsin parking officer had a change of heart when he read why the driver had abandoned the car.

The driver left a note saying, “Please take pity on me. I walked home… Safe choices.”

In other words, he or she had been drinking, and decided to walk home and avoid OWI charges, as well as a sketchy drive home under the influence. While the decent thing to do, it does not excuse a parking fine.

Nevertheless, Parking Control Officer Patrick Hellrood issued a note saying PITY GRANTED. JUST A WARNING and posted it on Facebook.

No doubt the posting was part of the reason he did it. Officer Hellrood wanted to highlight the good decision the driver made by not driving home after drinking. Perhaps he could have posted it anyway after slapping on a parking fine, but forgiving the penalty sends a better message.

The driver in question will probably not get another chance, should he or she land in the same situation again. So let’s use Officer Hellrood’s gesture as an opportunity to remind revelers of how to handle transport while avoiding OWI penalties.

  • Have a plan. Before you go out to drink, think: how will I get home? Taxi? Friend? Stay over at a friend’s house? Public transportation? Rideshare?
  • If possible, take one of those other methods to your drinking rendezvous so you don’t find yourself in the same position as this driver.
  • Designate a driver, and reward him or her for doing such a valuable duty.
  • If you see a friend attempting to drive after drinking, take action. Don’t let it happen. Take the keys if you have to.

And watch where you park in Wausau.  Officer Hellrood is still out there, and he might not give you a break next time.