4/11/2006Utah: Police Confiscate Validly Registered Car
Utah sheriff's deputy confiscates woman's car even though she carried proof of valid registration.
Heidi Ercanbrack had her white Honda Accord coupe towed by a Weber County, Utah sheriff's deputy even though she had committed no crime. Ercanbrack had been driving a fully registered vehicle with proper documentation that showed that it did not expire until October 31, 2006. The deputy, however did not believe her papers were valid.
During the stop, he phoned the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for clarification. Because the DMV mistakenly marked her car as "sold," an employee incorrectly informed the deputy that the car's registration had been canceled. The deputy then seized Ercanbrack's Honda and had it towed to Ogden, stranding her far from home. Later she was told she would have to pay several hundred dollars in penalties, towing and storage fees to retrieve her car.
"I have no transportation," she said. "I have no transportation to get my kids to school, to get to work. It's my only means of transportation."
With nowhere to turn, Ercanbrack contacted KUTV television in Salt Lake City for help. Investigative reporter Bill Gephardt got the Utah State Tax Commission to release Ercanbrack's car without charge and with an apology. No compensation was offered for the lost time and expenses she suffered while her property was improperly held.