A frustrated Chicago man who reached his limit with the speed bump behind his home took matters into his own hands and removed it with a pickax and a hammer, according to reports.
Nicolas Benitez told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday he had complained to Alderman Ray Lopez before using a pickax to tear out the speed bump outside his garage in an alley behind his Brighton Park home. The protruding piece of asphalt had reportedly damaged his cars and trapped ice and snow during the city’s frigid winters.
“I did one piece today, another piece tomorrow,” Benitez told the newspaper.
But Benitez got a $500 ticket for his admitted act of urban-planning vigilantism, a fine for destroying city property that he says he’s prepared to fight in court.
“Throw out the ticket,” Benitez told CBS Chicago. “Because he needs to replace not just one, he needs to replace the whole area.”
Benitez admitted to smashing away the speed bump, which he claimed was already cracking and had been in the alley for more than a decade.
“I know it’s my fault,” Benitez told the station. “I broke the rules, but why don’t they pay attention?”
Benitez has a court date set for November. He might also have to pay for the cost of replacing the speed bump, Lopez told the Chicago Tribune.
“We found the asphalt neatly piled up outside the garage, apparently waiting for the city to take it away,” Lopez said.
The alderman said he got a photo on Twitter earlier this week of the speed bump partially removed and went to the location to see for himself.
“I asked Mr. Benitez to meet me there, which he did,” Lopez continued. “I know him from the ward, he’s a nice guy. He was very nonchalant, told us, ‘Yeah, I took it out. I didn’t want to wait.’”
Lopez said he previously told Benitez that he could seek out funds to possibly get the speed bump removed, but that money was “already spoken for” by summertime.
“Please don’t take matters into your own hands,” Lopez tweeted Monday, showing a photo of himself, Benitez and an apparent city transportation inspector. “This man wasn’t happy about a speed bump. It has been in his alley for a decade. He removed it on his own & earned a $500 fine and a court case in the process.”
A message seeking additional comment from the city’s Department of Transportation was not immediately returned Wednesday.