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OP Supervisor: Cars shouldn't have been towed

Posted at 11:46 PM, Dec 14, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-09 23:46:54-05

The excitement of the Buffalo Bills win over Green Bay quickly wore off for some fans.

Fans, like Rochester native Lou Sortino, walked out after the game to find their cars missing.

"The car was gone," said Sortino. "There were about 40 people in the middle of the road wondering where their cars were."

Sortino and 50 other fans quickly found out their cars had been towed by Orchard Park Police.

"There has always been no parking on Taylor Road," said Lt. Joseph Ray. "There are some signs that are more visible than others, but during Bills games, if cars are illegally parked they are towed."

"There were no signs at all near where my car was," countered Sortino.

Our reporters checked Taylor Road and could only find one damaged sign showing no parking on one side of the road. That sign was upside down and was very worn and difficult to read.

Monday, the Orchard Park Town Supervisor Patrick Keem told 7 Eyewitness News he believes the cars should have been ticketed, but not towed, especially because many people parking there were from out of town.

"I think towing was a little harsh," said Keem. "If other people were parking there already and you didnt see a sign, you would think well it's okay to park there. I would."

Keem says he's going to personally drive down around the stadium to some of the side streets and check the signs.

"You almost feel that it was not fair to tow because if the signage wasn't there, it seems a little harsh to tow when the Bills lots were full. Ticketing would have been ok," Keem said.

Many fans had to take taxis to the Orchard Park Police Department, where they waited in line to pay a $25 bail fee. People who had their cars towed also have to appear in court, and cars cost almost $200 to get from the towing company.

"It's ridiculous," said Sortino. "I thought I was doing the right thing. I'm never going to a Bills game again. I'll watch it on TV, and if it's not on TV, I may find another team."

Police say a lot of the existing signs were damaged during Snowvember.

Keem says although he doesn't believe the cars should have been towed, he understands that cars on the side of the road could cause traffic issues. That's why he's seeking clearer signage for the future.

Fans who are upset about being towed can try to file a civil case against the town to be reimbursed for the cost of towing their vehicles.