Milwaukeeans retrieving cars after they broke 4-inch parking rule

CREATED Feb 28, 2013 - UPDATED: Feb 28, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - It was a tough day for hundreds of people in Milwaukee when they discovered their car has been towed.

The City of Milwaukee invoked the four-inch rule and towed hundreds of illegally parked cars.

"I ironically woke up at 5:30 a.m. to your newscast and saw cars were being towed," Nicole Drew told TODAY'S TMJ4's Nick Montes.  Panic set in for her.

"I (checked) on my car, and it was gone...I'll pay the $100 (fee) and $40 ticket."

A friend took her immediately to get her car from the City Tow Lot on South 39th Street and West Lincoln Avenue to pay a fine and get her car.

"I should probably have known there was a snow emergency, but I was not expecting a mass towing of cars," said an embarassed Drew.

The city warns people to get their cars off posted snow routes in order to clean snow off of congested city streets.

When TODAY'S TMJ4 arrived Thursday morning at the lot, they saw a row of tow trucks carrying cars to the impound lot.

The line of trucks poured on to the street, with 240 cars eventually impounded.

When four inches of snow or more fall in Milwaukee, the city implements a four-inch rule, using more stringent parking rules.

"We ticketed and towed those vehicles in the snow emergency routes," said tow lot manager David Lawrence.

They do that so city plows can clear the streets without a hassle - particularly on the east side.

Veronica Sanchez's car was towed, though she knew about the 4" rule.

"We thought because the street was already cleaned off, it was OK to leave it on that side, but obviously, it wasn't," said Sanchez.

Owners of towed vehicles have to pay a tow fee, their ticket, show proof of insurance and have a driver license to get their car out of the lot.

The lot has extended hours Thursday, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.