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A D.C. resident received an unwelcome surprise when she returned home after spending months away: her Jeep had been destroyed.

Susan Hekhuis left the area at the end of February to take care of her elderly mother, who had broken her leg. But when Hekhuis sent a friend to check on her Jeep a few weeks ago, that’s when her sorry tale began, Washington NBC TV affiliate WRC-4 reported.

“There I am trying to take care of my mom and do my job and take care of a million other things, and the last thing on my mind was that you towed my car and destroyed it,” she said.

News4 reported that D.C.’s Department of Public Works had towed Ms. Hekhuis’ vehicle from its original spot on Calvert Street NW since it was along the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon route.

The only problem is that the Jeep was towed to Connecticut Avenue NW, where street parking isn’t allowed during rush hour. The car racked up five tickets in two weeks, causing it to get towed again, this time to DPW’s impound lot in Blue Plains.      

After a friend went to the lot on Ms. Hekhuis’ behalf, that’s when they got the bad news.

“I said, ‘Where is it?’ and they said, ‘Ma’am, it doesn’t exist anymore. We destroyed it,’” Ms. Hekhuis told News4.

Impounded vehicles that go unclaimed for 28 days are either sold at a public auction or scrapped, News4 reported. DPW said they waited over six weeks before scrapping the vehicle and even sent a letter to Ms. Hekhuis’ home — but Ms. Hekhuis told News4 she wished they called or emailed instead.

To make matters worse, Ms. Hekhuis said that she had just shelled out $600 to renew her vehicle’s registration before she learned it had been destroyed. She also said she’s not sure she can afford a new vehicle given how expensive car prices are right now.

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