A woman from Riverside, Ohio, faces a mandatory $10,000 fine or two to four years in prison for transporting four extra scrap tires she says she planned to dispose of properly.
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Barbara Horst, 57, was pulled over in June by a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy who told her transporting more than 10 scrap tires carried a potential stiff penalty.
“Like I told the sheriff, if I knew that it was a felony, do you think I would be riding around with them in the back of my truck?” she said.
Horst, who was in court Thursday, said the saga began when she loaned her pickup to a man. But when she needed the pickup back on June 15, she went to the man’s house and discovered it filled with tires.
“The cops said, ‘Why didn’t you push all the tires out?’ and I said because I’m a woman. I was mad because he didn’t have it back to me on time,” Horst said. “I just jumped in it and took off.”
Horst said she told authorities that in a few days she would have the money to take the tires to a disposal facility.
“I was just going to leave them in the back of the truck until I got the check to do the right thing and take them to the incinerator,” said Horst, who was a nurse’s aid until recently she left her job to care for her mother.
Horst’s public defender, Tom Kollin, said he is working to get his client, who is indigent and now lost her truck to the impound lot, into a diversion program.
“I have a grandma who was carrying four scrap tires too many when she thought she was doing the right thing,” Kollin said. “It’s amazing to me.”
It’s illegal to transport more than 10 scrap tires at time anywhere in the state of Ohio without first being registered with or obtaining a registration certificate from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, according to the state statute. New transporters must submit a registration application and $300 to the Ohio EPA at least 90 days before transporting any tires. The registration must be renewed, and the fee repaid, each year, according to the state.
The law is meant to prevent the illegal dumping of tires.
“I didn’t even put them back there. I was just trying to do the right thing and take them to the incinerator,” Horst said.
Horst’s case will be considered for diversion on Nov. 1 when she is in court next.
“I hope they drop this. This is crazy,” Horst said. “I’m just really in a bind.”