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Lending a hand brings fight over 'stupid' ticket

SIMON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2013
John Russell
FINE PARKING: John Russell rolled 84-year-old Valerie Drewet’s car to this spot after it was damaged in an accident outside his Howick menswear shop. Mrs Drewet is grateful to Mr Russell but says it was ‘‘stupid’’ that he ended up fighting a parking ticket for his good deed.

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Good Samaritan John Russell ended up fighting a $40 parking ticket after helping an elderly woman whose car broke down.

He won but says the whole saga could have been easily avoided.

The Howick shop owner received a letter from debt collection company Baycorp this week demanding payment before hearing from the Eastern Courier that Auckland Transport has waived the fine.

It all started when Howick resident Valerie Drewet, 84, was involved in a nose-to-tail outside Mr Russell's shop on October 18.

Traffic was swerving around her damaged 1967 Chevrolet Impala that could not be started because of leaking radiator fluid.

Mrs Drewet recovered with a cup of tea in the shop while Mr Russell and others rolled the classic car down Moore St on to a concrete pad to await a tow truck.

Mr Russell saw a parking warden about half an hour later and explained the situation but was told the infringement had to be finished because it had been started.

"He then proceeded to give it a ticket which I thought was just out of order."

Mr Russell wrote to Auckland Transport asking for the ticket to be waived so Mrs Drewet would never know about it.

"I didn't want to pile misery on the top of dismay for the poor old lady."

Auckland Transport asked the shop owner to provide proof of the accident before January 10 - an extension on the previous due date.

Mr Russell got letters from Mrs Drewet and her insurance company and sent them on January 4.

But on Tuesday he received the Baycorp letter dated January 11.

An Auckland Transport spokesperson says the documents were received on January 8.

"Notification of the waiver is in the post and Mr Russell should receive it very shortly," she says.

Mr Russell is pleased with the decision but he was prepared to go to court on principle. He wishes the ticket was never issued in the first place.

"I doubt whether I could have achieved the same result on my own," he says.

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- Eastern Courier

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