At Oxford City Council’s Feb. 16 meeting, Chief of Police John Jones reported that 39 cars were towed from snow routes during the previous day’s snow emergency.
Snow emergencies are declared when snowfall accumulates past three inches, and Oxford saw around six on Presidents’ Day.
One of the 39 cars towed belonged to a South Main Street resident who said she and her boyfriend received no communication before their vehicle went missing in the middle of the afternoon.
“His car was just gone with every other car on the street,” said Stacey Whitlock, a recent Miami graduate.
Whitlock said her boyfriend had to call the Oxford Police Department (OPD) to locate the car, then ride with an officer to retrieve it from the Chestnut Street parking lot. He was charged $275.
“I see a lot of complaints on social media, and I understand that, because nobody likes to get their car towed, but it is not a money-making adventure. It is not a revenue source for us,” Jones said at the council meeting. “What it does is it makes it much safer for the snow plows to be out and reduces our accidents.”
Jones said employees were brought in on holiday pay to clear the roads due to Monday being Presidents’ Day.
He noted the 39 towings were an improvement from the last winter storm, when OPD ticketed 216 cars for snow route violations.
To help clear the roads before tow trucks become necessary during snow emergencies, Miami allows anyone to park in multiple lots on campus.
“We open up our remote parking lots at Ditmer, Chestnut Fields and Millett Hall West to any vehicles, not just student vehicles,” said Ben Spilman, Miami University Police captain.
Spilman said these lots are kept open and safe for all vehicles for 24 hours after a snow emergency is lifted.
“During those times, we’ll continue to patrol those lots, but we’re not taking any kind of enforcement action,” Spilman said. “We’re just interested in making sure that people have a safe place to get their car off the street so that they can be clear until the snow emergency passes.”