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Watch Out Wednesday: Oklahoma couple waits months before getting much-needed handicapped parking tag

Disabled Parking
Posted at 3:22 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 07:23:53-04

GROVE, Okla. — Parking in a handicapped spot can net anyone without a permit a hefty fine.

An older Grove couple says they need a placard to legally park in a handicapped spot, but for months keep running into the same roadblock to getting it.

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Joan and Larry Rieves moved across the state line, to Bella Vista, Arkansas. But when so much of life was eventually shut down there, they decided to move back to their old stomping grounds around Grand Lake.

In recent years, Joan Rieves's ability to move around had become limited.

“When we got back in February, we finally got a chance to apply for handicapped parking,” Larry Rieves said.

They mailed the application for a handicapped parking placard to the Department of Public Safety, along with documentation from their doctor.

March came and went, then April, then May — all without getting that placard.

“In about the middle of June, I told Joan, my wife, we’d better check on this, so we called Oklahoma City, oh we didn’t get it,” Larry Rieves says.

So Larry Rieves says the person he talked to told him to send the request in again to her attention.

“Nothing, yesterday we called that office again, oh, we didn’t get it again. You need to resend it again, this time priority mail.” The third attempt still didn't work.

Larry Rieves says he’d end up blocking traffic, as he stopped in front of a store or business, to slowly help Joan out, and into the front door. Then he’d go park in a regular spot, and do the whole thing over again when it was time to leave.

He didn’t dare park in a reserved spot without a permit.

“That really doesn't work too well,” Larry Rieves says when thinking about possible hefty fines.

The couple says the situation is simply irritating.

“It’s because it’s the old story of, come on guys, this is not rocket science, it’s easy," Rieves said.

At one point, he says he was told there was a long, long backup at the office that handles the handicapped permits.

“She says from the day we get it, we don’t send them out for six weeks.”

The 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers got in touch with the Department of Public Safety, so the couple can legally park in a handicapped spot. A representative was able to find their paperwork and dropped their placard in the mail that same day.

So now, five months after moving back home to Grove and Grand Lake, finding a legal place to park, won’t monopolize all their time.

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