Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Queens Traffic Officers Issue Parking Ticket to Dead Driver

From the age of sixteen forward, drivers are taught the rules of the road and given a ticket for not following them. The same holds true for parking. So wouldn't it follow that even in death, parking laws would be so ingrained in a driver that he or she would continue to follow them? Guess not. According to Gothamist, a Queens traffic officer issued a parking ticket to a dead driver. Why? Because he was illlegaly parked on the street during street sweep hours, of course.

Gothamist reports on the legally weird citation, "Early Tuesday morning a traffic cop came across Nicholas Rappold who was slumped across the front seat of his Jeep Cherokee...Rappold was dead." The 21 year-old Rappold was dead at the time of the citation, dying from a drug overdose in the early morning hours. An hour after the citation was issued, a friend noticed Rappold's car still parked on the street (Rappold had left his friend's house hours before) and went to check on him. It was at that time that he discovered his cold corpse behind the wheel.

In addition to the ticket, the Rappold family was upset that that citing officer did not check on their son. His mother, Hill Rappold, is quoted in The NY Daily News, "It's really messed up, she could have at least knocked on the window to see if he was all right."

The NY Daily News adds that the issuing parking cop noted that the car had heavily tinted windows, making it hard to see inside. Obviously it was not hard to see the license plate to issue the ticket, but I digress. Rappold had recently been to rehab for pill addiction.

Postmortem tickets....are offenders still responsible even in death? In this case, the police voided the parking summons since it was issued after Rappold had already died. Generally speaking, if an individual has outstanding tickets issued while they are alive but surviving them in death, then his or her estate is still responsible for paying for the tickets from the estate.

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