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Parking Meter Controversy

January 13, 2010

By Sean Schoppe

EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene man says he could be $800 in the hole when he was just trying to be a Good Samaritan.

“I was getting ready to go into the Post Office and I paid my meter,” Ben Bond tells KEZI 9 News. But as he was sliding his quarter into the allotted slot, Bond noticed a meter maid headed his way. At that point, he says he noticed the car’s meter next to his flashing zeros. Bond says, “I put money in it and the meter maid said she was still getting at ticket.”

Bond says he simply continued on his way. Once he was finished with the Post Office, though, he says he saw the meter maid down the street, continuing to ticket more cars. Bond says he confronted her, unhappy that she gave the car neighboring his a ticket, despite his attempt to keep it from happening.

“I went two blocks ahead and put money in the meters,” Bond says. That confrontation ended with Bond handcuffed and charged with harassment and obstruction of justice.

“They basically said that they got him for harassment for filling the parking meters because he was doing a random act of kindness,” says Juaqin Hildebrandt, who saw the whole ordeal unfold through the window of his nearby restaurant.

“They about slammed him up against the wall,” Hildebrandt continues. “I dont know [why] what he was doing wrong. They obviously thought something was wrong, putting quarters in parking meters is like some horrible crime.”

Bond says he was given the choice of going to jail or being ticketed for $800 — $530 for the obstruction of justice charge, another $270 for harassment.

“I was just trying to save people from getting tickets,” says Bond. “I just want people to have a heart. Wake up. We’re all in it together.”

KEZI 9 News called the Eugene Police Department for comment, but our calls weren’t returned.

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