A pregnant woman who was left to walk in the cold after her car was towed says the officer could have treated her more humanely, in an incident being investigated by Quebec provincial police.
Laura Cerminara, who's 34 weeks pregnant, told CBC News she was on her way to work in St-Lambert on Montreal's South Shore on Tuesday morning when she was pulled over by police on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.
'I said, "I have to go to work, and I'm pregnant and it's freezing cold out today."' - Laura Cerminara
"He came over and said, 'You have unpaid fines,' and I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about.'"
Cerminara said she and her husband purchased the car in August, and it's under his name. She had assumed the registration fees were paid for a full year.
But police told Cerminara that her registration payment was six weeks overdue.
She said the officer said her car would have to be towed and her husband would have to pay the fees to the Quebec auto insurance board.
"It was just like. 'Get out of your car, give us the keys,' and the tow truck was there right away ... and they just took it away."
"I started crying. I said, 'I have to go to work, and I'm pregnant and it's freezing cold out today,'" Cerminara said.
Police gave her a $481 ticket for driving without registration, plus $143 for the cost of towing, she said.
Her husband also has to pay the normal $334 renewal fee.
The Sûreté du Québec declined an interview, but said it is investigating to see whether the officer acted appropriately.
A spokesperson for the SQ said that, generally speaking, the traffic code does allow officers to have a car towed if the registration is not paid.
'Lack of humanity'
Cerminara said the worst part was she was forced to walk in the cold.
She said the tow truck driver told her he couldn't give her a lift because he wasn't headed in her direction, while the police officer said he would take her as far as the base of the bridge.
"I said, 'Can I go to Montreal?' And he [the officer] said, 'I can bring you to the end of the bridge because I won't go up to Sherbrooke Street. There's too much traffic,'" Cerminara said.
"He literally drove me to the end of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, opened the door for me ... and I had to walk home from there."
Cerminara lives a few blocks from where she was dropped off, or about a 10-minute walk.
In her view, not paying the registration fee was a simple oversight and she doesn't understand why the officer couldn't have let her off with a warning instead of towing her truck.
"It just felt like there was a lack of humanity there."