Op-Ed: At Least One More Abandoned Vehicle Needs Attention

Not every abandoned car has been removed from the roads of the U.S. Virgin Islands, as this photo taken Wednesday morning attests. (sap photo)
Not every abandoned car has been removed from the roads of the U.S. Virgin Islands, as this photo taken Wednesday morning attests. (sap photo)

On Tuesday, Government House issued a statement touting the Abandoned Vehicle Task Force’s recent accomplishments in tagging and removing 200 vehicles ditched by their owners in various locations on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.

The photos that accompanied the release suggested an orderly, if not exactly attractive, jilting of these formerly useful, owned but no longer useful or desired chariots.

One with its guts hanging out appeared to be in a grassy area, the other is neatly parked against a curb on a residential street.

Meanwhile, on a narrow, heavily-traveled thoroughfare leading to popular beach, beach bar and construction site, the automobile pictured here has languished partially in the road for more than a month.

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

Full disclosure: The author lives on this road.

After a trip off island for a week, I returned to find the vehicle was still there. Wishing I had investigated having it removed before I left – while assuming “someone else” would have called the appropriate authorities – I belatedly took action.

I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t know who exactly was the appropriate authority. So, first I called Motor Vehicles. The very helpful, but seemingly uninformed person who answered the phone, said I must call the police department. I did. No answer. So, then I called 911. I was chagrined to have called an emergency number about a non-emergency, and said so. The person who picked up the 911 line said, “oh, if you wait long enough [I had let the phone ring at least five times] someone will pick up.”

She said I had to call the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. Again, I should have known that wasn’t right, but I was tired from traveling and fairly miffed that the car was still there – a hazard.

From the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, I was cordially directed to the Administrator’s Office at Government House, where I was assisted by a communicative, candid individual who said the task force was up and running, but was buried by the number of cars and trucks that had been disowned willy nilly.

She advised the vehicle must first be “tagged” and left for seven days before it can be moved – and said she would pass on my information. I do not doubt one bit that she did.

Meanwhile – it has been a week. I am sorry I didn’t call sooner … and surprised that no one else did given the several close calls that have occurred as a result of the car partway into the road. But this car – which by the way carries no inspection sticker – must be moved before someone is injured. It needs to be a priority.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 COMMENTS

  1. Good morning, It would be nice if you could publish the phone numbers so the public can get involved without having to spend hours researching the different departments! I too would like the junk and abandoned vehicles removed from our roadways! And how about the hurricane debris and garbage still littering our island after almost two years!

    • There was an article in St Thomas Source in May 28, 2019 about this auto cleanup initiative. The current St Thomas/Water Island administrator is Avery Lewis. You may reach the Office of the St. Thomas-Water Island Administrator at (340) 693-4350. I actually spoke to a person at this number, and she was cordial. There is also another abandoned vehicle ON Hull Bay beach, partially blocking the very narrow access road. A dark blue Jeep. The Lexus in the picture has been there since 4-30-19 (Inna Cannabis World party). Police have been called many times, to no avail. A towing company was called, but the cost is about $200.00. Removal of nuisance vehicles and garbage is such a basic service to the community, there is absolutely NO excuse for this to continue like it does. It is encouraging to find out that there is a responsible authority who can actually do something for us.

Support the VI Source

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall - we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. Our sites are more popular than ever, but advertising revenues are falling - so you can see why we could use your help. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. If everybody who appreciates our reporting efforts were to help fund it for as little as $1, our future would be much more secure. Thanks in advance for your support!