RICHMOND, Va. -- The City of Richmond is taking action to combat those who take advantage of free disabled parking once offered throughout Richmond. The city recently adopted an ordinance requiring payment for parking that includes spaces designated for drivers with disabilities.
But for Sandra DeeJames, a parking ticket on June 3 came of surprise. For years, DeeJames has parked outside VCU Medical Center to get treatment for Lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.
"At one point we had four hours, then they lowered it to two. Now none and no notification," DeeJames said about the free parking situation.
DeeJames said there should have been some type of notification in the mail, especially for drivers with handicap stickers.
"Why are you making us pay for the ones that's doing wrong? You know, look them up properly ticket them," said DeeJames. "Don't ticket us, that's not fair. We go through enough."
DeeJames said she has to pay $25 for her ticket, which she said she can't afford on her monthly disability checks.
"I have to pay for living expenses for my mother. I have to pay for gas in my truck to make it back and forth," DeeJames said. "I have to pay co-pays as well with my insurance. I don't get anything free, believe me."
She just hopes the city can do something to help those who actually are disabled.
"Everyday I go through this, getting up, trying to make it. Trying to keep my faith because I know God is not going to let me down. But it seems like my people, my city, is letting me down," said DeeJames.