Soldier Just Back From Afghanistan Fights City Over Parking Ticket

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

WORCESTER (CBS) – A Massachusetts National Guard soldier says he is now back from the battleground in Afghanistan to face his own fight at home… over a parking ticket. “It was a slap in the face,” he says, “Someone there is not supporting soldiers in their city.”

Captain Quentin Carmichael, says on September 11th, his wife handed him a letter from the City of Worcester Parking Administrator denying his request to dismiss a parking ticket and fine from his deployment. The letter said he must go to Worcester Superior Court if he wanted to continue the appeal.

Captain Carmichael says he had asked his wife to move their car periodically from their driveway to the street while he was overseas, so that people wouldn’t know he was away.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

He said his wife was having a difficult time with the deployment, and had problems with their home, so she went to visit her family in Vermont for support.

My wife was using her support network, her family in Vermont, she wasn’t there to see the street sweeping signs, and she had to do what she had to do to make sure she could get through the deployment and that was spending time with her family.”

She says while she was away, she left the car in the street, and on May 20th she received a ticket for interfering with street sweeping.

Carmichael says, “My wife called the parking office when she returned the next week and was told that, ‘It should be fine, just send in your husband’s order’ So she did.”

But Carmichael says when he came home and went to the RMV to renew his registration, he was told that he had an outstanding ticket. “When I asked my wife, she told me the story and thought it was all set. It wasn’t. The ticket was now $90.”

Carmichael had had tickets when he was on training in the past, and thought that the city would dismiss this when they understood the circumstances and “take care of a soldier that just got back from Afghanistan…. I thought of course the City of Worcester will support a veteran once I explain the story and that’s why I was really shocked.”

But the city is standing by it’s ruling. We asked Worcester’s Parking Administrator Elvira Guardiola to explain why.

Guardiola says she never received an appeal from Carmichael’s wife. She says even if she had, she would have denied the appeal. Why is it different from past requests? Guardiola says, “This time round he admitted he allowed someone else to have the vehicle. Someone else drives the vehicle. While someone else drives the vehicle, he’s responsible for that.”

But when it was pointed out that Carmichael says they were moving it so it looked like he were home for safety purpose. Guardiola responded, “Correct he’s still allowing someone else to use the vehicle.” She says the bottom line in her opinion is, “He’s responsible for any ticket received in that vehicle while his wife is using it.”

Carmichael says, “I want the city of Worcester, the people to understand what families go through. It’s not a black and white issue all the time. Yes, the car was parked illegally. But if someone were there from my household to see the signs it would not have been there. They say it’s not a compelling reason that I was in Afghanistan and my wife was with her family trying to cope with my being in Afghanistan, but I think they need to re-look at that decision.”

Carmichael was featured on WBZ-TV earlier this month for rescuing puppies that were being tortured by a group of boys in Afghanistan.


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