Level 57 Taco Wizard
ST. PETERSBURG — Kathryn Socash said she felt like a hostage.
In the two hours after the Tampa Bay Rowdies game ended Saturday, the 63-year-old Clearwater woman had driven from the fifth floor of the McNulty Parking Garage all the way down to the fourth floor.
She was just one of hundreds who found themselves trapped in their vehicles inside the garage that night, all waiting their turn to escape. So she walked down to the ground floor to find out why it was taking so long.
Socash said she found one working gate staffed by a lone attendant — and right next to it an unstaffed gate blocked by a wooden arm. It bore a warning: “24HR VIDEO $50 FOR BROKEN GATE.”
“I thought that was a small price to pay to stop feeling like a hostage,” Socash said.
So she broke it.
The price, though, was a bit steeper than that.
Socash was arrested by St. Petersburg police and spent the next day in jail. But the incident has reverberated beyond her travails. Others railed against the parking implosion on social media, and the Rowdies apologized to those affected and offered them free tickets to a future game.
“There were a lot of people wanting to break the gates down,” said Tampa retiree Bill Wade, 62. “We’re not talking a few minute delay — we’re talking 2 1/2 hours.
“The word ‘hostage’ came to mind. Until I got to the gate and paid my $10 to get out, I was a hostage.”
The garage at 101 Second St. S is privately operated. An employee reached at the garage on Wednesday directed a Tampa Bay Times reporter to call 717 Parking Enterprises for comment. The company, which operates parking lots and garages in St. Petersburg and Tampa, did not return calls for comment.
After spending two hours trapped in a line of traffic trying to escape the McNulty Parking Garage, Kathryn Socash took matters — and a wooden gate — into her own hands.