Central Ohio Village Considers Changing Policy After Complaints Over Towing

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UPDATED: Thursday April 3, 2014 6:31 PM

A Columbus couple says they got a raw deal when an officer pulled them over for having an expired license tag.

Police gave them a ticket and towed their car.

It happened in the Village of Brice in Franklin County.

It's illegal in Ohio to drive with expired tags.

While most police departments write warnings or tickets to drivers who are pulled over, in the village of Brice, officers say the chief told them to ticket and impound every car with expired tags.

That policy is about to change after 10TV started asking questions.

"I bet I never forget to renew my tags again," says Connie Sasser of Columbus.

Her SUV is legal to drive again. She has a new license plate sticker to prove it.

It cost her $180 to release her family's only car from the impound lot.

That's on top of the $125 fine for the ticket issued by Brice police for driving with an expired tag.

"My husband and are both retired, and it's a financial burden to pay for all of it," she says.

The couple was spotted by police on Elevator Street and Brice Road Wednesday night.

When they were pulled over on Balm Street in the Village of Brice, they were just a mile from their home.

"My husband was upset with the police officer and asked us to just follow us home, but he wouldn't do that. He said it was against the law that he would get in trouble if he let us drive with the suspended tags," she says.

So the officer made the couple, with their two dogs, wait on the side of the road in their car - until they found a family member to drive them home.

"My husband is disabled and he's on oxygen, so we worried last night about how we were going to home if my daughter couldn't get us but she was," she says.

"I think that was terribly unreasonable," says her husband John Sasser.

10TV took their concerns to Brice Police. The acting chief says he's working on re-writing the policy on towing cars with expired plates, and says he's working with the prosecutor to dismiss the Sasser's civil ticket.

As for the Sassers - "It was my fault I didn't have my tags but I would have appreciated a warning," says Connie.

The Village of Brice says it will likely change its policy to mirror what Columbus Police do.

If a CPD officer pulls over a driver for just for an expired tag, the driver can be cited, but the car isn't impounded. If a car with expired tags is parked, a traffic ticket is issued and the car could be towed.

As for the reason Brice Police gave adopted this towing policy... the acting chief told 10TV he says the chief was given legal advice to do it.

The reasoning he says was that if officers didn't impound the car, and the driver was to get into an accident and injure or kill someone, the village would be held liable.

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