by Jake Anderson
In a crude indictment of both human inattentiveness and local parking enforcement, it appears that over the course of four days, multiple parking citations were issued to a car that contained a dead man.
The SunSentinel reported that Jacob Morpeau, 62, of Miami, was found by police, his body slumped under the steering wheel. County resident Carolyn White, who discovered the body inside an Isuzu Axiom SUV, said the man held a credit card in his hand.
The Broward County Medical Examiner’s office stated Morpeau, an immigrant from Haiti, died from natural causes complicated by hypertensive cardiovascular disease. No one knows how precisely how long his body had been inside the Isuzu. What’s also unknown is how many of the tickets were written with Morpeau inside the vehicle.
What we do know is that, according to the SunSentinel:
“Two of the tickets were written within three minutes, and just six hours before White saw Morpeau’s body inside the SUV. The same parking officer cited the Isuzu for two expired meters, perhaps because the SUV’s front end was in part of the next parking space.”
White, who discovered the body, explained her interest:
“I was being nosy. I never let the meter man catch me. I never got a parking ticket and I wanted to know why somebody else got caught. And that’s what made me look inside.”
“I can understand why the meter person probably didn’t see him from the driver’s side. He was underneath the steering wheel, his head was in the middle of the seat, between the two seats. But you could see him on the passenger’s side. That’s how I [saw] him, from the sidewalk.”
Upon discovering the body, White’s screams drew the attention of a nearby business owner, whose staff called the police.
Alain Danier, one of six of Morpeau’s adult children, said of his father: “He was a good man. Danier noted Morpeau was cremated. “He raised all of us, and gave us everything we needed.”
The city dismissed $160 of Morpeau’s parking fees “due to extenuating circumstances.”
Parking citations are a huge problem all across the state. The University of Florida alone issued 73,000 parking citations last year.
Are parking enforcement agents paying enough attention to the conditions of the vehicles they ticket? Furthermore, do humans practice enough cognizance and awareness in our moment to moment actions? From this morbid case, maybe we can instruct a teachable moment: look around, be aware of the present, and the conditions of life pulsing within it.
And, perhaps, parking enforcement officers can learn to dial back their drive to issue tickets instead of mechanically doling them out without hesitation.
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