Woman's night of bad luck ends with traffic citation

Mom and three children out in the cold after house fire.
MCT Regional News
Dec 20, 2013

Angela Garcia learned just how a really bad day can get worse for driving without insurance.

Late in the evening on Dec. 11, Garcia had a minor house fire at her home in the 800 block of Linden Street. The fire department arrived. Her power and gas were cut off. The American Red Cross was called and lined up a motel on Lima’s east side.

Garcia called a friend to take her to the motel. She sat in the house, 8 months pregnant and with her three children, waiting for a ride that never showed.

Firefighters were already gone and her cellphone was destroyed in the fire. The house was getting cold and her children, 11 and under, were struggling.

She knew she was in a desperate situation. Garcia, who lost her driver license for driving without insurance, decided to risk driving without a license. She felt she had no choice.

She loaded her three children in the car and decided to try to find a police officer or a phone she could use.

Garcia was stopped by Officer Steven Torres in front of Meat City. She immediately told the officer she did not have insurance or a driver license but explained she just had a house fire.

Torres told her she could leave the car in the parking lot at Meat City and he made arrangements for her to catch a cab to the motel. Torres told her to get the car the next morning and it would not be impounded.

The rest of the story gets a little complicated depending on who is telling it.

Garcia is upset she received a ticket for driving with a suspended license. She said she should have been afforded a break given her emergency and dire circumstances involving little children.

Lima Police Department Maj. Chip Protsman said Torres spotted Garcia driving near Eureka and Pine streets. He said she was acting suspicious and pulled into the gas station on the corner of Pine and Kibby streets.

The officer became more suspicious and believed the driver was trying to evade him because it’s common people without a license stop places in hopes police officers will continue on, Protsman said.

Protsman said if Garcia needed an officer she could have signaled Torres over to her car.

But Garcia said she never saw the officer. Had she, she said she would have made contact with the officer to get the help she desperately needed.

She said she could barely see out of her car windows because the thermostat is broken and she has no heat to defrost the windows.

Garcia drove toward Meat City after leaving the gas station in hopes of finding a phone or an officer there, she said.

Torres followed and ran Garcia’s plates. He discovered the plate was invalid and the woman in the car matched the description of the car’s owner, Garcia, who had a suspended license. Torres had enough to make a stop, Protsman said.

Torres pulled Garcia over in front of Meat City, which is where the story begins to match between the officer and Garcia. But Garcia said the officer could have done more to help her.

Garcia said the officer told her to remain in her car. Protsman said he wanted her out of the elements. Garcia said her car was an icebox.

While Garcia said the officer made arrangements for a cab and she eventually made it to a motel, she said she returned a few hours later to get her car from Meat City’s parking lot and it was gone. She found out it was impounded, even though the officer said it would not be.

Protsman said Torres is a rookie and made a mistake by telling her the car could remain in the parking lot. Because Garcia drove without insurance, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles required her plates and registration seized. Cars, by law, cannot sit on streets or in a private parking lot without plates, Protsman said.

But Torres, after realizing his mistake, tried to make arrangements for Garcia and the car. He even drove to her motel but could not make contact with her. He left a message.

Protsman said Garcia’s circumstances that night were unfortunate but said she just can’t be driving without insurance. If she were to hit someone and not be able to pay for the damages the other person would be inconvenienced or worse, he said.

Garcia said she had no choice that night but to drive. She said she lives in a bad neighborhood, has been in town about a year and doesn’t know many people.

“I felt I was doing what was in the best interest of my children for their care at the time. I would do the same thing again. I didn’t have any other option,” she said.

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By Greg Sowinski - The Lima News, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Lima News (Lima, Ohio)

Visit The Lima News (Lima, Ohio) at www.limaohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

JudgeMeNot

Dont like the laws? Go back where you came from.

ole45mag

With the fact that she was driving with the kids and all the bad luck she was having, if she had run into my car with her non-insured car, I would have helped her as much as I could, and if needed, junked my car and then gave her the money the junkers gave me for the car. Period.

Added after looking her up after my original post
http://www.limaohio.com/news/loc...

I guess I'd of given her my 35 inch Louisville Slugger too.

JudgeMeNot

So bad luck means you can just break the law? Damn the other drivers.

ole45mag

It's kind of like the man who stole a can of Enfamil (baby formula) from an Apples Store and got caught. He had no money and the baby was hungry. Happens all the time. I used to get food out of a Western Sizzin Steakhouse dumpster each Thursday after their "all you can eat Thursday" when I was a 16 year old kid living on the roads in Fremont/Newark California. The man who ran the place at night caught me and the others who were doing this and after that, he would bag the food for us and leave it at the back door. With forks and foam containers. Sometimes we have to let things go. While she was doing this, her ex, a woman beater was probably robbing an elderly persons home for money for heroin.

methodman

In this situation. Shelter my kids or break the law? Screw your law I'll protect my kids n pay the fine. No humanity.

wowsers

I think anyone who scolds her for breaking the law for her children is an idiot and clearly has never been in need of assistance when they were without everything and completely helpless. She did what any MOTHER would do for her children. Give the woman a break dang it! And some of you shouldn't be so ignorant. Do you have children? Could you even see yourself in her position?

Dont Worry Be Happy

Sounds like she can't afford to even fix her car or have insurance she shouldn't be having a 4th child. This drives me crazy. I'm so sick of people just popping out kids when they can't afford them.

truckin

That is what i get from the story also!
So many

methodman

Maybe her husband died. I just never saw much sense kicking a guy when he's down, let alone a pregnant woman and three kids. Just my opinion.

Kingsin

Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry... Proverbs 6:30 Does anything more need to be said. Don't kick them when they're down folks

former local

People who comment on here always kick people when they are down. I guess it makes them feel better!