NOTE: The Facebook video posted below contains language some may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
Being blocked in by a rogue driver is a dilemma many of us have faced.
But one Vancouver Island man’s hands-on approach to dealing with it, has made him famous online.
It started on Fri. Jan. 11, when Colin Stann returned home from running errands on his day off to find a car parked straight across his driveway.
“My initial reaction was who on earth would park right in front of somebody’s driveway?,” he said.
Since there is a lot of construction on his street in a suburb outside of Greater Victoria, Stann checked with the closest site supervisor to see if he knew who owned the car.
“Nobody would answer the call, nobody would come forward,” Stann told Global News.
So the construction crew across the street offered Stann a tow rope and he went to work pulling the offending car down the block – with worker Adam Peyton recording it all in a video he later posted to Facebook.
WATCH: The full video posted to Facebook. WARNING: This is unedited and contains language some may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
“I said well yeah, ‘f’ yeah right, like I’m totally ready to tow this thing,” said Stann.
As the construction crew cheered, Stann hooked up the car and towed it a few metres down Honeycrisp Avenue in Langford.
Parking is at a premium in Stann’s neighbourhood, where it’s only allowed on one side of the street – and on Sun. Jan. 20, Global News could not find much sympathy for the person behind the parking fail.
One neighbour named Jordan said he’d probably do the same thing if a driver blocked his access: “It didn’t cause any damage to their car as far as I know.”
“If I could do it without having to involve a third party, I might do it,” said another neighbour named Moira.
“Car’s not damaged, no harm done.”
“I think that the fellow was just having a lark lying down on the road and hooking it up and towing it away,” said another neighbour named Judy, who has installed red markers on her lawn to discourage people from parking on the grass.
YouTube is full of videos documenting people’s methods of dealing with driveway-blocking parking jobs around the world. One person stumped a miscreant motorist by placing an 18 kilogram or 40 pound chunk of solid oak right outside their driver’s door. Another person behind the wheel of a Range Rover chose to ram and smash through the vehicle parked in its path.
While Stann has quickly become an internet hero for doing what many homeowners have likely only dreamed about when faced with a driveway obstruction, legal experts say it may not have been the wisest choice of action.
“We have laws. This is vigilantism,” said criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko of Acumen Law.
“He could be charged with mischief for damage to the car. He could be charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle – unsafe towing under the Motor Vehicle Act.”
Calling the city to have the vehicle ticketed and towed would have been a more reasonable option – according to Doroshenko’s colleague, criminal lawyer Kyla Lee.
“Many cities have bylaws that allow tow companies to tow the vehicle if it is parked on or blocking access to private property,” Lee told Global News.
Still, Stann says he knew he’d be liable for damages and was careful not to deliver any destruction. So far, his tow job has had no negative reviews.
“I’ve been getting a lot of thumbs up a lot of high fives.”
Stann later learned the car belonged to one of the painters working on the construction site across the street.
“I waited half an hour to see if he would take his car and the guys next door here said he was waiting inside the garage the whole time – watching me tow his car.”
When asked whether he would do it again, Stann told Global News, “Absolutely, in a heartbeat, wouldn’t even think about it. You bet I would….the guys across the street actually said when I was done, they said I parked it better than he did originally.”