Dear Editor,

I had another letter ready to send, another part of our experience with the City of Vinton, when we FINALLY found the definition of an "inoperable vehicle" in Vinton's Ordinances. I knew it was there, I just could not find where I had read it!
We found it in the Property Maintenance Code Chapter 158 section 158.04 number 8 which states:

8. “Inoperable/obsolete vehicle” means any vehicle that is not licensed for the current year as required by law or which exhibits any of the following characteristics:

A. Cannot legally travel on a public street due to broken, damaged, or missing windshield or other glass customary to the vehicle, fender, door, bumper, hood, wheel, steering wheel, or exhaust system;

B. Lacking an engine or other means of power suitable to the design, one or more wheels, or other structural parts which renders the vehicle incapable of both forward and reverse movement in the manner for which it was designed;

C. Has become a habitat for rats, mice, snakes, or any other vermin or insects; or

D. Constitutes a threat to the public health and safety because of its defective or obsolete condition.

Our truck did not fit that definition. I called City Administrator Ward and told him the truck had run out of gas on May 12th and Tim thought it needed either a new fuel filter or something, but we had not been able to work on it because the City had been there on Monday and Tuesday, the day it was towed, and would he please not have our truck towed.? He put it off on the City worker by saying he was not there. I had been told by The Captain of the VPD it was Ward's call.
You all know what happened next! Tim pleaded for just 2 hours to try to get it fixed, knowing that if they towed it we probably could not afford to get it back. The Captain called Ward and the answer was NO! Even before that all I had asked for was that they leave the truck for the Magistrate to decide, that was what we were told about the things that the City had taken that either were not a part of the abatement or were in violation of the Courts order. The problem with that is the City ruined, smashed, or broke those things, so what issue was there? The City had access to our property until the 21st of May, they towed the truck on the 14th. It was one of the last things to go, and it was not in the way of anything the City was taking!
In the City Official's eagerness to inflict more mental anguish and monetary damage on us, the definition in the Ordinance wasn't even a thought. The Captain and Rick Erickson asked Tim if the truck would start and Tim did not lie, and told them no, and why he thought it wouldn't. It certainly is not our responsibility to know what the definition or inoperable is in the City's code. It isn't the street department worker or even the Captain's when the City Administrator, who also is a code enforcer, is directing them to tow the truck since it is "inoperable"! One might assume since Ward is listed as one of the Code enforcer's in the Original Ordinance 1026, he would be familiar with the definitions or at the very least, know where to find the definition!
Our truck was originally taken to the Sheriff's impound which is locked and has a camera which is visible in the sheriff's dispatch. For some reason The City removed it from a secure location to an unsecured location out of the City limits. When we went to court, we asked where our truck was and we were told by Fischer and Ward that they did not know. We have called and left messages with the Captain that we would like to know where our vehicle is, none of our calls were returned. The Sheriff's dispatch got an answer from Paxton that they were waiting for the Magistrate to release the truck. We now believe it really shouldn't matter what the Magistrate says, she may not know what the Vinton Ordinance states, and by that the truck should still be in our possession, it is not inoperable by Vinton's definition.
We have sent an email to the Mayor, Tami Stark, Fischer, Ward, Paxton, and the VPD. We have asked that our truck that was unlawfully towed from our private property be returned to us with out cost or consequence. We have been denied the use of our truck that is licensed, insured, and is not missing any structural pieces that render it inoperable for over two weeks! That there should not be any further delay and that we want an answer today, our vehicle back today.
Thanks for allowing us to get this information out there. We may not always be right, but this is pretty straight forward. This was all documented as it was occurring. There was even a member of the newspaper here that I am pretty sure heard me talk to Ward. If he didn't we have the whole process, over 12 hours of video. Both days of the City being here.

Tim & Jane Osborn

Submit a Comment

Please refresh the page to leave Comment.

Still seeing this message? Presh Ctrl + F5 to do a "Hard Refresh".

Comments (0)

To receive each day's headlines to your inbox sign up for our email updates.