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Posted on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Police: Woman hit by car while saving parking spot wasn't breaking law

By Kyle Feldscher

It’s a question you’d think Seinfeld would have tackled in an episode: How do you respond when you pull into a parking spot and someone is standing in it, saving it for someone else?

One driver in Ann Arbor decided the appropriate response was hitting a 31-year-old woman with a Saturn.

However, Ann Arbor police said the annoyance caused by finding a prime spot taken by a pedestrian is no reason to use a vehicle as a weapon.

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Ann Arbor police Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said there were no law or local ordinance prohibit someone from standing in a parking spot and saving it for a friend.

“It may be a breach of etiquette, but no law that it violated immediately comes to mind,” he said.

Questions about the behavior 31-year-old Ann Arbor woman who was hit while standing in the metered city parking lot at North Fourth Avenue and Catherine Street on Friday night were raised Monday after reported on the incident.

According to police, the woman was with friends and they were driving around looking for a parking spot. When one was spotted in the lot, the woman jumped out and stood in the spot to save it while her friend turned around to come back to the lot.

The driver of the gray Saturn pulled into the spot and was informed the woman was reserving it for someone else. In response, the driver pulled the Saturn forward, hitting the woman in the knees and causing her to fall onto the hood of the car.

The 31-year-old woman reported the incident at the police station, and Pfannes said Monday the detective bureau is actively investigating the case.

In a place like Ann Arbor, parking spots can be prized discoveries. However, area law enforcement said it’s rare to have a dispute over a parking spot escalate to the point of violence.

Diane Brown, spokeswoman for the University of Michigan police, said there aren’t a lot of people standing in university parking spots in order to save them for friends. Usually, people parking in university parking lots are driving alone, according to Brown.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t disputes.

“On occasion, there might be a fender bender-type incident because someone pulled in before the other pulled out,” she said. “Oral arguments reportedly have involved a possible punch or shoving, but, typically, when police arrive both parties deny that part.”

There are few times when those disputes get bad enough that prosecutors eventually decide to charge the parties involved, Brown said.

Instead of going into the justice system, some aggrieved drivers will go the vigilante route. Brown said many reports of vandalism on cars in university parking lots can be traced to a disagreement over the parking spot.

“We have periodically had reports from a driver who has returned to their vehicle and reported their vehicle has been keyed or scratched,” Brown said. “When asked who might have done this, they might explain that in the process of parking they got in a disagreement.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

There was a murder in Ypsi last night and all the self proclaimed legal experts on can do is argue about is if someone can reserve a parking spot by standing in it. Is is any wonder people from outside Washtenaw County laugh at you?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

That is because there isn't any controversy about murder. I am sure that we all can agree that murder is wrong. In this case, there is some controversy about if saving spots is rude or not and more so, if such rudeness justifies running over the rude person. Most people seem to think that saving spots is rude but that it doesn't justify running them over. Personally, I don't think saving spots is all that rude but I'll probably consider other people's opinions on that the next time I am tempted to save a spot. I wont be running over any one with my car though.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

There are plenty of parking spots, many free, if you are willing to walk a few blocks more. I hate driving in downtown in the evenings, especially on a weekend. No one signals, people cut you off, pedestrians walk right in front of your moving car; it's like everyone who doesn't know how to drive (or walk) all go downtown. It's worth it to park a block or two short of the main areas and avoid the chaos.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

The driver was wrong.. BUT>>>>>>>>> where does the responsibility of the person " holding" the spot come in?.. and of course.. it's always the drivers fault when a person not in a car gets hurt, even though they are breaking rules and in the wrong. The " saver" could have stepped aside, I doubt the driver was going fast. Would you have stayed in front of a moving car?????


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 6:16 a.m.

Only in Ann Arbor would such a mundane story about parking spaces generate 177+ comments


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.



Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

And yet you still felt the need to say that.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 6:03 a.m.

I wonder if the investigation will find that the lady wasn't telling the truth.

Bill Wilson

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

When cars are outlawed, only outlaws will have cars. Can't wait to read Pat Lesko's plan to fix this come next election!


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

I think city counsel should do something useful and make it illegal to stand in a parking space to save it. This would be so much more helpful than passing memorandum making Ann Arbor a nuclear free zone,

mike gatti

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

How long am I allowed to stand in a spot? What if during Art Fair next year everyone found a spot early in the day and stood in it. How long until the authorities came and told us to move along? We could call it Occupy Main Street.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

About as long as you were on the bench... Say 5 or 6 minutes?


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

You angry people need more prozac. We need a little more aloha here in Michigan.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Hey a new business! Parking staff saver. For a small fee we will go find you a space, call you back, and sit in it until you arrive.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

If you look at the statute for impeding traffic, what the stander did would be a violation if it were on a public street or highway. 257.676b Interference with normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic prohibited; exception; violation as civil infraction. (1) A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person. This section shall not apply to persons maintaining, rearranging, or constructing public utility facilities in or adjacent to a street or highway. Since this was a municipal parking structure I think it should be included, because the stander blocked the flow of traffic which would have gotten worse if driver, instead of running over stander had simply waited making traffic backup. Unfortunately this is not a public street. Too bad. I think this behavior, "saving a parking space," is completely inappropriate, but plowing her over is simply idiotic. I think it is too bad they both can't be charged.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

As a wise man once told me "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID !"


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

Like the young man who reported the assult by an athletic team at MSU, I keep waiting for "the rest of the story". Any possibility that the driver of the grey Saturn pulled into the parking place and stopped when confronted by the woman who was saving the spot. The woman saving the spot at that time began to kick and knee the Saturn so the driver left. The woman fearing that the driver might report her actions felt it in her best interest to file a report first? I certianly don't know what actually occured, but I think I will wait and let this play out before making and judgements.

Beth Hoag

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

We save spots all the time and it's only for a few moments to allow for a legal turnabout, but no one has tried to run us down. No one is commenting, nor does the article mention, it was Kindlefest and midnight madness downtown and at Kerrytown on Friday night. It was a madhouse! Parking spots were VERY hard to come by. I don't blame the woman saving the spot. Tough noogies if you missed out and someone got there before you. Dude shouldn't have hit her with the car and just moved on. People were crazy and desperate for parking spots that night.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

It was "Midnight Madness"? Perhaps that explains the madness of standing in a parking place and playing (and losing at) chicken with an automobile.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Well, maybe the person standing in the parking spot to "save" it for someone wasn't breaking the law, but I have a feeling that the person who was driving the car that struck this woman in the parking spot DID break the law. I hope she got the plate number of the car who struck her. What a terrible and dangerous response to this situation.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

"According to police, the woman was with friends and they were driving around looking for a parking spot. When one was spotted in the lot, the woman jumped out and stood in the spot to save it while her friend turned around to come back to the lot." If they dropped her off at the spot, why didn't they turn in and park then?

rusty shackelford

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

This is a boon to Ann Arbor's homeless population. We have it straight from the horse's mouth that occupying a parking space in a structure without paying or even a car is legal. This certainly beats sleeping on the street. If anyone hassles you, just tell them you're saving the spot for your friend Godot. It's not your fault he's late...

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Actually we have NOT established that it is ok to occupy a space without paying because the space in question happened to be a free space. Still, you have me wondering what the temperature is in that new underground lot in the winter. It actually might be a place where homeless people can get through a cold night and frankly, I don't think that is a bad thing.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

Could be worse.

Kara McGilvray

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

It is probably the same person that decided that it was okay to purposely bump my car, because i got into the parking space before them...This happened to me, one time and the lady was irate. screaming and yelling at me, over a parking space in westgate shopping plaza. She continued to bump my car until i gave up the parking space.... really? over a parking space

Ryan Martin

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

The article says that she was standing in a spot in a metered LOT, not blocking the flow of traffic in the street, people. Driver and pedestrian are equally dense in this situation. Don't stand in the spot, but don't run into someone if they are!

Tex Treeder

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Sure, the person who drove the car into the pedestrian was absolutely wrong. But can you give a pedestrian a citation for just being a dope?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

just pull in and tell her to move alone. they can't park there if you are already partly in the spot. there is no "saving" a spot in a parking lot. first car there gets the spot.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

It's too bad that these two didn't meet under different circumstances. They might have gotten along just great!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Wouldn't that be "the driver (allegedly) pulled the Saturn forward, hitting the woman in the knees and causing her to fall onto the hood of the car"? We still have not heard if there were any witnesses, or the account is incomplete. Who'e to say it actually happened that way? Just curious.

Ron Granger

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

If you fall backward, you potentially get crushed. The much better alternative is to jump on top of the car. A friend was in that situation when crossing at an intersection and in a crosswalk. A woman trying to right on red started moving forward into him, not even looking and he didn't think he had time to get away - so he had to hop on her hood. The driver still did not see that she had a man on the hood until the passenger mentioned it.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

@jc - you are 100% correct. I believe that the conversation-guidelines-compliant version would be "alleged Saturn allegedly pulling forward hitting the alleged woman in her alleged knees". And allegedly she was not breaking the law. Otherwise great reporting though.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Good Point all of this is alleged at this point.

Ypsi Russell

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

A car that was merely pushing me would cause me to fall AWAY from it -- she must have been struck with enough force to knock her legs out from under her and flip her forward!

harry b

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

good point

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

I think people need to realize that in downtown Ann Arbor during peak hours, you probably won't find a street spot! Go to the garages - and if they're full, just wait in your car in line for a few minutes for somebody to pull out. It's much easier than circling and circling!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

I can't understand why anyone would even want to park curbside. The way people drive in this town, your car has a pretty good chance of becoming an involuntary entrant in the latest round of drunken Main St demolition derby. Or at the least suffer a mirror-ectomy by a passing truck utilizing the new and improved micro lanes on 5th ave.

An Arborigine

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

Either that or shop and dine elsewhere.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

So, I see this as a new form of business in town. Street people can stand in spots and sell them to others wanting to park. What do you think, $5, $10, $20 ? Given the A2 way of life, I'd guess the $20. fee would be practical in high demand spots. Sounds better than 'begging'. You could call it 'barking' and the individuals could be called 'barkers'. When you hear what could be a dog barking, its really a barker offering a prime spot for sale. They wouldn't even have to wash your windows....

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

LOL. Considering that this happened in a place where there is a huge public garage about a block away and most likely what was appealing about this space is that it was free, I don't think there is much danger of people standing in spots in order to sell them to others.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

Didn't Kramer have a business of moving cars around on New York City streets?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

A woman I've known for 50 years has a master's degree in political science. She became a consultant and was repeatedly called on by the U.S. Navy because the Navy had a problem with - their sailors being unable to get along when stationed (several thousand at a time) on aircraft carriers. So she made "really good" money each time she went on one of those aircraft carriers to teach a few thousand men how to get along (so they'd not riot, attack each other and endanger the billion dollar ship). Now I see why teaching people how to get along is such a lucrative business. LOL! Get it? An aircraft carrier is huge but there are places on it where it's more pleasant to work and sleep. A "competition" develops among supposedly disciplined and united men for those more pleasant spaces. Same kind of "competition" as for these "good parking spots." I still laugh every time I think of that petite gal (she's 5'2") on a giant aircraft carrier teaching 5000 hardened military men how to get along. The tale, Beauty and the Beast, is equally instructive here. ;-)


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

solopist: "...he did not say his friend went to EVERY aircraft carrier..." Uh, let me clarify: ANY aircraft carrier or ANY OTHER ship. The military is not about "...getting along..." Though, sometimes I think back wistfully of being out on the fantail, late at night, singing Kumbaya with the shipmates I did get along with.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 6:11 a.m.

a2citizen I can see how you might see Tru's comment as personal because you were in the Navy, but I wanted to point out he did not say his friend went to EVERY aircraft carrier. He wasn't trying to bash the Navy, but make a point about how adults can act. Tru made no implication that he served in any military branch...with your combativeness, are you SURE you didn't have any trouble getting along with others?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

True or not ( I question it) this just adds to the proof that MOST consultants are overpaid persons who might try to dispense some common sense!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

I spent four years on the Navy and an outside consultant was never brought in to help us "get along". There is NO "competion for those more pleasant spaces". Rank determines just about everything and anything. Were you ever in the military? Let alone the Navy. Your story is complete BS.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Just because something isn't illegal doesn't mean it is not stupid and/or rude. Does everything have to be illegal before people stop doing it? It's like the warning on the blender, "Don't touch the blades when blender is in use." For crying out loud, don't run over people with your car, and don't stand where cars are supposed to be. Come on people.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

you could just move into the spot slowly ... thus not "hitting" but just "nudging" her away


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 6:05 a.m.

"Nudging" someone with your car is the exact same thing as "hitting" them as far as the law is concerned. You can't touch people with your car, it's very dangerous and really not worth the risk of hurting someone (or getting arrested).


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

No, you couldn't. That's still using force to affect another - and it risks escalation and retaliation. But don't take my word for it: if a cop ever sees you doing such a thing - they'll correct you.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

That's probably what happened. Throw in some drama and hysterics and she "fell onto the hood".


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

I have not myself seen this particular situation. What I HAVE seen more than once - in performance-just-let-out instances - someone standing in the way to let his/her driver move OUT of a space and into the exiting stream.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

If the woman had been a Canada Goose everyones outrage at the parking saver would have been completely different. That's Ann Arbor Progressive!

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

I don't know why because I grew up here but the level of false entitlement that car drivers have in this town is staggering. A parking place is a public place and it is first come, first serve. It doesn't matter to me if someone claims the space with their car or with their body. If I see someone standing in a space, I might lower my window and ask them if they are saving the spot and if so, I'll just move on and get the next space. I can't think of a single reason why I would be more entitled to the space just because I happen to be in a car.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

OMG - a sane statement about living in a civilized manner. I hope you're not flamed (or stoned) to death for your civilized outlook. ;-)

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Cars ARE entitled to parking spots. That's why they exist. It's first come, first serve... for vehicles!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

Ever notice move-in/out week? Kids/families bring out a lawn chair so their families can park close to the dorm or apt. and help them move 1n/out, carry furniture, etc. I'm not defending the woman but I have seen it before, even on State Street near William during broad daylight. Even on State St it doesn't really impede traffic because they were in a parking spot, not with moving traffic. Before you all vote me down....I think the woman was rude, selfish and misguided and the person who hit her should get a fine and a ticket for assault!

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

That happens yes. I usually move the chairs, garbage cans or whatever if I want the spot. Much easier than moving a person and it's legal.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

If I were driving the car, I would have just blocked the spot with the car until she moved (that is, if I had the time to do so). No need to run her over. Eventually she would have given up.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

Well, if her male friends came THEN I would run them over lol.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

The action you suggest probably would have worked -but if the car she was saving the spot for arrived and it contained several large male friends, then what? You would block the spot until she moved? How do you know she wasn't waiting for reinforcements? Decisions about unilateral actions have to take into account: unilateral consequences. Not saying that telling the woman she's committing an infraction is wrong - but that's just telling, not trying to enforce a rule on a stranger with unknown ability to enforce their will. All I'm saying is: be careful - and good luck, I hope you never regret such a decision. :-)

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

I posted this in a reply, but I wanted to make it a little bit more apparent, so I'm reposting here. When Pfannes spoke about the breach of etiquette, I should make it clear he was speaking about parking lots. Here's the law as it applies to public streets and highways: "A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person." Breaking that law is punishable by a civil infraction.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

Tru "behaviors relating to parking spots" isn't the central issue here" I beg to differ! That is the central issue for most commentors therefore it IS the central issue whether you think so or not!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:10 p.m. civil infraction occurred. that's the point. It was rude...not not against the law.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

Mr. Feldscher: you're apparently unaware that the law about "behaviors relating to parking spots" isn't the central issue here ( though many mistakenly say it is). The issue brought up by many comments is: does a private citizen have the authority to FORCE someone committing a trivial civil infraction to stop. Do they or do they not? The person physically "saving" the space committed an infraction - but many people seem to want to justify using force to make that person move. Just a tip: any private citizen using force against another is risking arrest by a REAL cop and the court will likely endorse the REAL cop's decision. We are not cops - ergo - we should assiduously avoid trying to act as cops are authorized to do [except in certain emergency situations]. It's also apparent that, because there are many parking spaces, this kind of infraction-followed-by-psuedocop action is rare here. Thank goodness. Two wrongs don't make a right - that's all that need be said about it.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

actually, in most parking lots (non public - not city owned) the only traffic offenses that generally are enforceable are: Driving under the Influence Reckless Driving/Careless Driving Driving with suspended license Handicap / Fire lane violations. It depends on the statute. Some states have statutes that extend all public traffic laws to private property that is generally open to the public (Walmart parking lot), but Michigan does not. Most Michigan traffic laws stipulate "upon a public street or highway". No comes the tricky part...The Michigan traffic code actually allows the owner of a public parking lot to request the police enforce all traffic laws. The specific section is: "A city, township, or village, with the consent of, or at the request of, a person who is in charge of a parking lot, whether or not that parking lot is open to the general public, may contract with that person for the city, township, or village to enforce provisions of the uniform traffic code or ordinance adopted under this section in that parking lot. A peace officer may enter upon a private road that is accessible to the general public to enforce provisions of an ordinance adopted under this section if signs meeting the requirements of the Michigan manual of uniform traffic control devices are posted on the private road." This is not to say, that if you run a stop sign in a parking lot, that a police officer couldn't interpret that as "careless driving"...


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Incorrect, there are traffic laws that can be enforced in parking lots. Hit and run, OUIL to name a couple.

Frank Lee

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

@ Kyle: I am not implying that it's a lawless area all together. You and/or Pfannes are implying that it's lawless in regards to traffic law. I was just looking for confirmation and making light of how that technicality could be exploited.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Frank: If you're implying that parking lots are some sort of lawless zone where anything goes, I imagine that's not true. I'm only speaking to this law.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

@frank lee, you are somewhat correct. Traffic law is not enforced in parking lots because they are not part of the public traffic, they are private property.

Frank Lee

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

So we are to assume that traffic law is not enforceable in parking lots? I could race though a parking lot/structure at a high rate of speed, do some doughnuts in an open area, ignore all posted signage, and not be ticketed? Maybe I'll just block the entrance to the lot all together because I'm saving the spots for my buddies.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Assault with a deadly weapon. No excuse for this type of behavior.

Frank Lee

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

She is impeding the flow of traffic and it is a ticketable offense. While blocking vehicular traffic from entering a parking spot is not that common of an occurrence, Ann Arbor police continually turn a blind eye to those that are. I constantly see vehicles parked in active lanes of travel throughout the city. Turning your hazard lights on doesn't make you exempt from the law, and some drivers don't even bother to provide that common courtesy.

Frank Lee

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

@SEC Fan: Thank you. We are elaborating on the subject under Kyle's comment below.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

impeding traffic is only an offense on public streets...not in parking lots.

Ron Granger

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

There is not much handicapped parking in A2. For all anyone knows, someone saving a spot is doing so for their 80 year old Grandmother. Or maybe for their friend who is on crunches. Or maybe for someone who has a blood disorder that prevents them from walking any distance. You never know.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Or, the person that was being denied the spot may have been handicapped. Or driving their 80 year old grandmother. Ever think of that?

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

I wouldn't care one way or the other. She could be 180 years old.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

The better idea would be to drop the handicapped person at the destination and THEN go find a parking spot.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

Or perhaps they were driving the queen. Or maybe they were delivering live human organs for transplant. She could have actually been driving an invisible car. I'm guessing that if this selfish woman was aving the spot for a handicapped person, she would have told police and it would have been part of this story.

Jon Wax

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

"The nail that sticks out the furthest, gets hammered the hardest." she wasn't breaking the law, she was being a jerk. and in this day and age of gender equality, the guy who hit her was being a feminist. he didn't go soft on her because she was a female. he treated her the same way he woulda treated a guy. if you don't want to get dirty, don't play in the mud. you can't win an argument with a car, no matter how much your righteous indignation tells you otherwise. Peace Wax

Jon Wax

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

interesting... i read your post above, usually i ignore your opinion. how is your post different that mine? so the question you posed, about generalizations? yeah i think have an answer that applies: "God must love stupid people... he sure did make a lot of 'em" enjoy! Peace Wax


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 7 p.m.

Ghost Way too sensitive if this offends you!

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

could you possibly add any more generalizations and insulting language into your post? How is this ok with the moderators?

Ron Granger

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Threatening with a car, which is a deadly weapon, is also a serious crime. So this notion that someone could slowly pull in, or rev their engine in an intimidating way - no. In the law, that isn't much different than revving a chainsaw at someone, and then slowly backing them up with it.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

Walk in front of an AATA bus that wants to turn right on red and see if they don't keep inching forward to get you out of their way. Or cross in a Kroger parking lot or at Target. The cars will let you go, but they keep moving toward you like you better her because your time is running out.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Get real. If law enforcement were involved, no charges would be levied for the revving of one's engine.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

Actually, the pedestrian probably was not breaking any Michigan laws as this took place in a parking lot. Had this been a parking space on the street, then the applicable code would be: Michigan Vehicle Code 257.676b Interference with normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic prohibited; exception; violation as civil infraction. It explicitly prohibits obstructing or blocking traffic with "his or her person" on a public street. Regardless, no cause for assault with a deadly weapon!

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

SEC Fan: You are correct. When Pfannes spoke about the breach of etiquette, I should make it clear he was speaking about parking lots. Here's the law as it applies to public streets and highways: "A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person." Breaking that law is punishable by a civil infraction.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Patience is a virtue. Block the "saved" spot with your car. Wait out the pedestrian. Take the spot. Do a little victory dance... might I suggest the discount double check.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

I've never personally had damage done to my car for this. If I were worried about it I would take down the plate of the car they were trying to save the spot for. I've also got a camera on my phone. Say cheese!

Basic Bob

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Come back to key damage, antenna twisted in half, or tires mysteriously deflated.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

I think George tried that on an episode of Seinfeld...


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Downtown was packed for Midnight Madness when those two had their encounter. Usually parking is no problem if you look for a few minutes, and now we have 700 more spaces next to the Library.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2 p.m.

How can it be legal for a person to stand in the street, not at a crosswalk, and block vehicles? Come on, AAPD! That's ridiculous! (It's obviously illegal to deliberately hit someone with a car. We know that part.)


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

SEC is correct: 257.676b Interference with normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic prohibited; exception; violation as civil infraction. (1) A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person. This section shall not apply to persons maintaining, rearranging, or constructing public utility facilities in or adjacent to a street or highway. (2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

on the street, it would have been illegal. However, no ordinance for parking lots.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

OK, just learned it was in a parking lot, but still.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

if she had a bicycle & fed the meter she would be told she cannot park the bike there


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Maybe Ann Arbor City Council should spend their time working on this issue?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

How about a study conducted by a committee from Boulder?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

a sub committee!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

It continually amazes me how bad everyone is at driving and parking. The test to get your license should be 5x as hard as it is currently. I have never spent more than 5 minutes looking for a parking spot around main st in downtown A2. And I don't even park in the structures because I'm a cheapskate! It is so easy! Spots everywhere! And yes, I drove downtown for midnight madness, too. Found a spot right away at 8pm. No problemo.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

There is always a spot to park in downtown Ann Arbor in my experience. That spot just isn't always where I want it to be.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Just because something is LEGAL does not mean it isn't rude, asinine, or dumb. It's like talking in a movie or farting in a crowded elevator. This story appears to be one of two selfish jerks crossing paths.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

COPS stands for "Caution Occupied Parking Space!"


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

I'd say the woman was obstructing traffic. No, he shouldn't have pushed her with the car, and I don't think he actually "hit" her. If he really felt like wasting time, he should have pulled half way in, creating a stalemate, then called police to work it out. If you can legally stand in a parking space to hold it, we will begin to see street people hawking spaces for a few dollars around christmas.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Exactly. The car can play the same game the pedestrian was playing. Pull part way in and don't move.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

If there is no other witness besides the woman then this is a simple "he said - she said".


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Absolutely. Where are the witnesses, or is this a case of revenge?

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

While it technically isn't illegal, it's a total jerk move to stand in a spot and save it when there is no car there. That being said, nothing excuses what the person in the car did. This whole story seems to be a situation where someone was a jerk, and got what they risk with their behavior. It's a case of escalating stupidity.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

So if it's legal to stand in a parking place I see a new jobs program taking shape. You camp in a parking place and then if you get an appropriate "donation" you might decide to move elsewhere. You could make big bucks during Art Fairs. And according to police, it would be entirely legal.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Parking/Community Organizer

Basic Bob

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Parking consultant.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Sounds like the parking spot "reserver" should get a nomination for best acting award. And while she's at it, stay out of parking places unless she has a license plate affixed to her ...


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Survey about finding parking doesn't address the issue that there is parking IF you are willing to walk. I have always been able to find parking...maybe not a street spot within a block...but in one of the parking structures (which, for the record, I don't like to park in)


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

If I see a car coming at me no matter how fast I am getting out of its way because it will win. Driver is wrong and pedestrian a dope.

David Johnson

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

I can't wait to be like Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies and set up my lawn chairs in a prime location on Main street next summer! Hit me, suckers!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Parking on Market Days is always a problem.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Standing in the road does not break the law?!?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

South Certainly there are citations that can be given in a parking lot. But parking lots are not roads and therefore most laws governing roads do not apply.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

So, you can't be cited for any traffic violations in a parking ramp? Wrong!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Standing "saving" a spot is not a legitimate course of action in my opinion. But a road is governed by laws that don't apply to parking lots.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Parking lot or street it is still road in the sense of being for cars, right? I would assume a person couldn't just stand in a parking spot, whether on a street or in a garage, for an hour.

Ed Kimball

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

She was standing in a parking lot, not in the road.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Once again it was NOT in the road!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

Standing in a legal roadway and blocking a vehicle is against several STATE laws..... Once against we have an example of a cop that doesn't know the law... I'll be happy to come back and cite those law in a bit when I'm not on my tablet to...


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

Dcam I have not tried to defend the lady for stand her ground so to speak. I do not know what law you use to make her move though. I do think blocking the entrance is a different matter.I would not defend either. Prima facie speed limits The Michigan Vehicle Code sets speed limits for roads even where no limit is posted. These unposted speed limits are known as "prima facie" speed limits. The prima facie speed limits identified in the law are: • Residential and business streets: Where no speed limit is posted, the prima facia speed limit on paved or gravel residential streets and streets in business districts is 25 mph. • Parks: Unless a different speed is posted, the prima facie speed limit in parks is also 25 mph. • Highways: On highways outside of residential or business districts, if no speed limit is posted, the prima facie speed limit is 55 mph.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Before I answer what the speed limit is, challenge my statement - hyperbole such as it is. Can a group block a parking structure by blocking the entrance ramps for their friends and family's use? There are many unmarked roads with no speed limits posted, but there are also the 'driving too fast for conditions' and 'reckless driving' violations. fast can one drive safely in parking structure conditions when pulling into a parking slot without being reckless?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

dcam What is the legal speed limit on this purported dead end road?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

From the legalisms stated justifying the lady blocking the parking spot, one might conclude it'd be perfectly legal for people to stand in the entrance ramps to reserve the whole parking structure for an extended family and friends. After all, it's a parking structure, not a road. Think of a parking spot as a dead end road, it's much easier to consider obstruction.

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Cops don't know the law in and out. That's why they work in the streets and not the courtroom. What they say goes though so you'd do well just to take their word for it.

peg dash fab

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

billy, sometimes it's bette


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Where was it EVER stated she was standing IN a roadway? "At 8:08 p.m., they spotted an open spot at a parking lot at Fourth Avenue and Catherine Street" Don't bother coming back to cite a law that does not apply here! Once again an example of someone commenting without the facts or without the knowledge!

David Frye

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Great point, except that a parking spot is not a roadway.

Basic Bob

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

A number of years ago in Pennsylvania, there was a case involving shoveling out a parking spot on the street and "saving" it. Typically this was done with milk crates or lawn chairs, but someone found a spot unobstructed and parked his car in the "saved" spot. The resulting disagreement resulted in one man having a heart attack and dying. The other man was charged with causing his death. All over a parking spot. So this doesn't surprise me.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Did the guy punch him in the heart?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

There is "No Saving"!!! That would settle the situation.... Parking spaces are intended for vehicles NOT PEOPLE!...... If you happen along at the right time with YOUR CAR, you get the spot, that's the way it works.... No Saving! Pedestrians, stay on the sidewalk! Are we to believe that the car rammed really hard into her? Or slowly pulled in so that the pedestrian would get out of the way?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

Either way she should not have been hit. It's better to drive around and deal with it then to hit a person with a car. I hope the driver is ticketed and charged with assault.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

I agree with you totally ! Parking lot or street. The person behind the wheel of the car alleged to have struck this girl, is only wrong if she actually did. Blocking the spot with the nose of her car would have been sufficent. IMO the police would have sided with the driver if they were callled to the scene. Driving away after someone claims they were hit is never a good idea.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Stepping off the curb in to the roadway between intersections technically would be Jaywalking. Striking someone with your vehicle intentionally would be assault in some form. Striking someone with your vehicle intentionally and driving off without reporting it to the police would be assault along with hit and run. Striking someone with your vehicle without intent may not be criminal, however could be negligent. This sounds as if it tuned in to a heated debate over a parking spot. What the police should do is refer the case to the prosecutors office. The prosecutor should either drop it completely or charge both accordingly with a warning that the people involved will be held responsible for all costs and could face additional punishment if found guilty. When both parties look in to the cost of prosecuting this, the time involved and the possible punishments, somehow I believe this matter will go away quietly. IMO parking spots are first come first serve. If it is empty of a car and there is not one visibly about to turn in (not a car going around the block and out of sight) that parking spot is up for grabs and I would position my car in a way that makes that very clear without striking anyone standing in it. If the police are called I would stand by and let them resolve the matter and respect the officers decision. End of story. If I came back and my car was vandalized, the police would know who to go and have a chat with. (Usually somewhere nearby there will be a surveillance camera that caught the whole incident.) This would be in the perfect world which we are not in. I fail to understand the entitelment mentality of someone standing in a parking spot "saving" it for their friend. I guarantee no one would attempt to save a parking spot at the Brairwood Mall this time of year.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

If this happened in a parking lot which is not the assumption I was given when reading the original story, then it becomes a first come first serve issue. If the police were called IMO they would have sided with the driver had the driver stuck around, basing that decision on the laws as if it were a public street. Give the officer any lip about his or her decision and you could be hauled in for creating a disturbance. Driving away after someone claims they were hit whether it's their car or their body is not a good idea. If there is no surveillance cameras in the area there is a good possibility the driver will be charged with a crime based on a statement from the person claiming to have been hit. The state vehicle code "does" provide a remedy for standing in a parking spot on a public street. A2 city ordinances have nothing overriding that nor can they create one. I don't know the exact charge but it is something in the same line with Jaywalking. I do know it's considered a civil infraction that is barely enforced. I drive in A2 quite a bit and the number of people who seem to think it's perfectly OK ( and think they have the right of way ) to walk out in front of traffic from between park cars is astounding.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

"I fail to understand the entitlement mentality" You REALLY are new here, aren't you?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

YAPPER Did you read the original article? If not , that would explain your explanation. If you read it read it again. It was in a parking lot not a roadway. Never heard of someone jaywalking in a parking lot.

Ron Granger

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

"Stepping off the curb in to the roadway between intersections technically would be Jaywalking." Well, "technically", it isn't. Not in Ann Arbor, where it is allowed. Always gotta read that vehicle code.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

This is completely insane. Intentionally harming another person over a stupid parking spot. I realize that this is the holiday season (the irony is not lost on me, here), and it's crazy out in the world of shopping, but...jeebus, they're all THINGS, for goodness sakes. I'm sure I would have been quite annoyed and possibly even angry had I been the driver in this scenario. But to cross the line and take that next step into causing another bodily harm?? Absolutely not. Somebody's lost their mind. It depresses me to witness WalMart shopper madness on Youtube, and this isn't helping, either. People are and always have been annoying. This does not give the go-ahead to harm them. I don't care if it IS Christmas.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

If there is only one spot left in a lot that you have taken the trouble to pull into, and someone is standing in it, I have a problem with that. It sounds like that was the situation here. Maybe now, thanks to this article, more people will begin to stand in spots to hold them. It's certainly not right to hit someone, but I would be tempted after driving around, finally finding a spot only to have someone standing there telling you to be on your way.

Dr. Fate

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

The driver should have just edged her way into the spot, not hitting the pedestrian, and waited her out. The friend's car wouldn't have gotten the spot. A lot of time would have been wasted but at least, no this much time.

Renee S.

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

That might have been what she tried to do.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

We don't know whether the driver edged forward or whacked into her. All we have is the accusation of the person in the parking spot. I am guessing the car barely made contact with her.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

So I could go downtown and stand in front of a parking spot from now till December 31 saving a spot for New years Eve? Or would the police "find" a law to stop me?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Craig, was "relieve me" a double entendre?

Ed Kimball

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

How about "loitering"?

laura wolf

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

go ahead craig, as long as you feed the meter i think you can park anything, including yourself, in that spot. just don't engage in any other illegal activities while you are there.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

your going to relieve me every 3 hours aren't you? Or is their a law that people can't 'team up" to save spots?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

If you can stand the and avoid all bodily functions for a month, be my guest.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

It takes me 10-15 minutes to get to campus or downtown less stressful, and completely solves the parking problem...


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:09 p.m.

No option for "never" that isn't a snide dig on Ann Arbor? Some poll.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

No option for "never" just assumes that every person who has ever parked in Ann Arbor has had a problem finding a space. That likelihood is simply ridiculous. If the author is going to assume such a thing, then please don't bother posting such a meaningless poll in the first place.

Jon Wax

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

naw you're right... i never have a problem parking. never. not once ever. lived here since the 70s shoulda been an option. but only the locals would be able to use it. Peace Wax

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Polls on are not actually polls, they're editorials by whoever chooses the options.

David Frye

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

I'd like an option for "Parking? No thanks, I walk."

Paula Gardner

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Not a dig. Seemed like "rarely" covers the "it's not an issue" answer. And every story about downtown yields plenty of comments about how people have stopped going there.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

No law broken, perhaps, but the lady was occupying a parking space without paying for its use, which seems to me to be a violation of sorts. Of course, she may have paid for the space but it'd be a bit unnatural for a person to do that.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

That may be true in this case, Ross, but it doesn't address the bigger question: can a person block a parking spot with or without plugging the meter? The other response said a person isn't a car and doesn't need to pay to stand in the slot, which is true. Suppose I chose to use something other than myself to block the spot - would that still be acceptable, or would that now be a violation, even though it's not a car?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

It was at night. There is no fee required after 6pm! duh.

peg dash fab

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

it is perfectly legal to occupy a parking space without paying for its use. you need a refresher on the difference between parking and standing.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

The driver who hit the woman is so totally WRONG. Give me a break, there is no excuse for deliberately hitting a person with a car.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Carole, are you sure that really happened?

Robert Granville

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Oh but there is.... I did it once when a thief was making off with my 12 year old cousins bike. Totally off-topic and random but just thought I'd throw that out there. There are excuses for car on person violence.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Remind me again when it's OK to deliberately stand in front of a car.

Dr. Fate

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

Does this include Kardashians?


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

Used vehicle as a weapon. Exactly as I said in the original article, with the person standing in the space having broken no law.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

People sometimes do get bent out of shape over a parking spot. I was at a surface lot and saw a space and pulled in. Then a lady blocks me in with her car, storms out and start screaming at me. Apparently she had pulled up to reverse in so she'd be able to just pull out of the space. I didn't see her or her car. It was just sitting here up ahead with no rear lights on. I stayed in the car and waited her out. She got done screaming at me and got back into her car and drove away. It's a PARKING SPOT. There were lots of empty spaces in the lot. Oh god forbid you have to walk five extra feet. These are the same people who never return their shopping carts and talk in the theater.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

If it's a city lot, you can get a ticket for backing in. So you actually saved her a potential ticket. ;) (I got one for doing that a few years ago. A friend said it's because it's harder to tow your car if it's backed in. Seemed to me like that ought to have been an add-on charge if they actually had to tow it rather than an offense all on its own, but whatever.)


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Patty - I didn't do it on purpose. Not did I have a clue what this woman was doing. Her car wasn't near the parking spot. Her reverse lights weren't on. I thought she had parked in lane. I have parked and driven in Chicago. All I can say is that I made it out alive!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

I'm more inclined to think that people who jump the gun on a parking spot while someone else is getting ready to pull into it, and who keep the spot after being informed of what they've done, are the same people who never return their shopping carts and talk in theaters. Here's a word of advice: If you ever visit Chicago, don't try this. Your car would probably look somewhat different when you returned.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

There was a funny Seinfeld show about that. Just carry around a big orange cone in your trunk. Use that, if its get run over, it just bounces back to shape.