08/10/2007

Chicago officer relished ticketing Wienermobile

By Kevin Pang
The Chicago Tribune
Related: Ariz. cops hot dog it, chase Wienermobile

CHICAGO, Ill. - A massive hot dog clogged Chicago's main artery Thursday morning.

In a rare occurrence of an encased meat vehicle committing a traffic violation, Chicago police ticketed the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile for illegal parking on the Magnificent Mile.

The incident began at 10:57 a.m. in the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue. At least two members of the Wienermobile entourage left the vehicle in the six-lane street with its emergency blinkers on. The vehicle is registered to Kraft Foods under the Wisconsin license plate "WEENR."
 
A police officer approached the Chevrolet vehicle with the 27-foot fiberglass sausage and removable bun roof. The officer radioed for a tow truck.

Matt Smith of the city's Streets and Sanitation department said the city could handle the job.

"We have access to tow trucks that could have handled a Polish sausage, not just a hot dog," he said.

The officer wrote the ticket and affixed it with considerable relish to its foot-long side mirror. Ed Walsh, a spokesman for the city Department of Revenue, said parking in a "Parking/Standing Prohibited Anytime" zone is a $50 violation.

About 15 minutes later, as curious passersby snapped pictures with their camera phones, the driver and passenger of the vehicle returned before tow trucks could arrive.

The entourage got a good grilling from the officer.

"You can't just park here!" the officer barked.

The passenger, who declined to be identified, said they were visiting a Wienermobile alumnus who worked nearby but was unaware that one could not park a giant sausage in the middle of the city's busiest thoroughfare.

Kraft Foods did not return a call for comment. The hot dog was last seen driving north on Michigan.

Copyright 2007 The Chicago Tribune

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