A local driver carrying dangerous cargo said he got caught in Monday night's storm and had no other choice but to pull over into a strip mall parking lot and ride it out. But when the storm was over, he was blown away by the penalty he says he had to pay.
Kevin Gray has been driving trucks for about 12 years now. He's seen a few storms, but nothing like Irma.
"I passed a truck on the side of the road, flipped over on the way," Gray said.
Because he was carrying chemicals in the back of his truck and traffic signals were out all along his route, Gray decided it wasn't worth it to risk something bad happening. So he pulled over instead of fighting 40 to 50 mph wind gusts.
"I get into an accident, and it can become a very serious situation," he remembers thinking. "I had to find some place to park."
He found a strip mall in Decatur off of I-20 and Wesley Chapel Road and climbed into his cab to grab some sleep until Irma blew over. But around 4 a.m. the next morning, he was blown away when he stepped outside his truck.
"I woke up this morning and I found boots all along the car," Gray told 11Alive's Ron Jones.
Not only boots, but warning stickers on his windows, saying if he wanted to drive his truck again, he had to pay a hefty fine: $650.00.
The private parking enforcement company, State Impound Authority of Atlanta, was the one who placed the boots. Gray said he explained to the company why he pulled over, but he said it fell on deaf ears.
"We have rules and you still can't park there, and you're going to have to pay to leave," he recalled. "I think he understood, but I don't think he really cared."
Gray said in the dozen of years he's been on the road, this is a first. But he believed that with Irma pushing his truck around Monday, he had no other choice.
"I have to constantly think about me being out there on the road and how I can also put other people in danger," he said.
11Alive reached out numerous times to State Impound Authority of Atlanta, but they did not return any calls. The signs in the parking lot clearly points out the penalty. Gray said because he's an independent operator, he agreed to pay the $650 out of his own pocket.
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