Car in Hwy. 88 ditch raising questions

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

When a car stays in the ditch for a few weeks, people start talking. This one – located about 20 kilometres north of Slave Lake on Hwy. 88, has been sitting there going on a month. We asked RCMP Staff Sgt. John Spaans what the procedure is in such a case when the owner appears to have abandoned the vehicle.

“A vehicle is considered abandoned when it has been left along a highway for 72 hours. At that point, the police/peace officers have the authority to tow the vehicle under the Traffic Safety Act. The owner is responsible for the towing costs and all associated storage fees. If the vehicle is not claimed, the tow company may submit to the provincial vehicle salvage program. Basically, they get a fee for turning the vehicle over for scrap.”

That’s the general situation. As to the specifics of this one, Spaans added he would look into it.

Anna Neale of Alberta Transportation says something similar, in an email response to The Leader.

“In general, any vehicle left unattended or abandoned on highway right—of-way is considered to be a hazard and should be removed.”

It’s up to peace officers to organize the removal, Neale confirmed.

All of which is fine, but doesn’t explain why the car in question has been in the ditch for a month.

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