DC Police Leave Stolen Car in Traffic for Week
Here’s a story you don’t see every day: A stolen car was left parked in traffic — even facing the wrong way — in a busy DC thoroughfare for a week. WaPo’s Mary Pat Flaherty reports.
For more than a week, the silver Mercury Grand Marquis sat abandoned in a traffic lane of 15th Street NW near the intersection with M Street. Yet for a big sedan resting unattended in the nation’s capital less than a mile from the White House and directly outside the building housing the Embassy of Djibouti it did not seem to be attracting keen official attention.
The car faced southbound in lanes that all run northbound on 15th Street at evening rush hour on a busy commuter route, and for those of you who have been trapped in slogs home, that wrong-way car in the 1100 block of 15th has not been your friend. For a time, it had been snuggled up against a mountain of curb-side snow, but that mound had been cleared and in fine D.C. fashion, drivers eager to snag metered parking spaces had taken to driving around the marooned sedan and backing up into the parking spaces it was blocking.
Now the four-door with Texas tags sat as a giant, unmoving, unlit hulk in the middle of a major street in the middle of what I’d have thought was a spot where security would be heightened: big car, embassy, White House nearby.
Three parking tickets fluttered under the wiper: each from around 6 p.m. on Feb. 16, Feb. 17, Feb. 18. Each said a tow had been requested. Each carried a $100 fine.
It took one phone call to Fort Lee to get in touch with First Lt. Mohammad AlRomayan of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard, whose car it is and whose name appeared on that base parking pas son the dashboard. He had reported his car stolen to District police on Feb. 13, he said and had a form and tracking number. He’d come to the District from Fort Lee, about 35 miles south of Richmond, where he is training at the quartermaster school. He had been shopping near 13th and M Streets NW and thought he’d been towed when he came back and couldn’t locate his car, he said. He called the numbers listed on parking signs, he said, and when he had no luck, filed a stolen car report.
Essentially, no one did anything about this car until Flaherty brought it to the attention of DC police supervisors — at which time prompt action was taken.
This was a block from my office, which is directly across the street from those of the Post. Diplomatic plates are common in the area and cars so adorned routinely flout traffic laws. So, for that matter, do cabs, buses, and delivery vehicles. And cars are routinely parked in lanes that convert to driving lanes at 4 pm well after the appointed hour. And don’t get me started on blocking the box. There’s just not much traffic enforcement.