October 1, 2019

Allie Nelson, a retired law enforcement officer, was born and raised in Chicago and has lived in the city most of her life. In October 2017, Nelson was in Houston, Tex., recuperating from cancer treatments. She left her car with her granddaughter, along with strict instructions that her granddaughter’s then-boyfriend was not allowed to drive the vehicle. Unfortunately, that direction was ignored.

Police pulled over the car while the boyfriend was driving, claiming the car had a cracked windshield. They discovered marijuana in the car, seized the vehicle and had it towed to an impound lot. Nelson’s granddaughter was a passenger, and police left her on the side of the road without her purse or cell phone, forcing her to walk to get help after dark.

In February 2018, an administrative law officer determined that Nelson was liable for a $2,000 fine for unlawful drugs in a motor vehicle and $3,925 in towing and storage fees. Nelson cannot afford to pay that and was informed that the city had disposed of her car. This, despite the fact that Nelson was not even in the city when the car was impounded, and all charges were dropped against the driver.

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