WILKES-BARRE — Out $175 she and her husband borrowed to retrieve their Hyundai from a tower, Dyanne Kaskey asked for accountability from the police officer whom she said directed them to park in a private lot the day of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The Kaskeys of Plymouth were among the people who parked in the Penn Plaza shopping center lot on the afternoon of March 16 and walked a few blocks on South Main Street to watch the parade.
When Kaskey, who is eight months pregnant, returned with her husband and their 19-month-old and 13-year-old sons a few hours later, their Hyundai Santa Fe was gone. She said she cried fearing it was stolen, but another woman in the lot told her it was towed.
Kaskey said she’s disabled, her husband is unemployed and money is tight for them. They borrowed the money from her father-in-law to pay Citywide Towing to release their vehicle.
She doesn’t expect to get back the money. But, she asked that the officer come forward and admit he was at fault.
Someone in authority has information about who it was because the officer was assigned to traffic duty at the intersection of Academy Street and South Pennsylvania Avenue, she said.
“They know. They just don’t want to take responsibility,” Kaskey said.
She said she called the mayor’s office and was told that there was “nothing we can do.”
City spokeswoman Liza Prokop disputed Kaskey’s statement about police directing people to park in the Volunteers of America lot.
“The officers stationed at posts near the VOA lot indicated that they did not recommend parking there to those who asked,” Prokop said in an email.
Prokop said the city received complaints that someone in a black Mercedes Benz called to have vehicles towed from the lot.
“The tows not only included spectators and a small amount of parade participants, but also customers of the shopping center,” she said.
Michael Kon, property manager for owner CV Ltd., confirmed that he was there and called for Citywide Towing to remove vehicles parked on private property. Kon said he contacted Mayor Tom Leighton to complain about the road closures and that police were directing people into the lot.
He said the mayor told him that he has no control over the police. Kon said he grew frustrated because it was a party atmosphere in the lot and he was concerned about liability on the part of the property owner.
He contacted Bob Kadluboski of Citywide who is the contracted tower.
Prokop said Kon called the mayor to complain about road closures and asked that police remove people from the lot near the Volunteers of America store. The mayor informed Kon that the closures were necessary for the safety of the spectators and participants, she said.
He also told Kon that it was not possible to have police remove vehicles from the lot.