ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kathryn Socash felt like a prisoner in a parking garage.
As the Tampa Bay Rowdies game wrapped up last Saturday evening, Socash joined hundreds of fans who headed to their vehicles in the McNulty Parking Garage at 101 2nd St S.
But they quickly realized they weren't going anywhere.
"After almost two hours of only moving from the fifth floor to the fourth floor, I called 911 and I asked them to send police," Socash told 10News.
The 63-year-old Clearwater woman said they were trapped in the line to exit. She walked to the entrance of the garage to investigate, where she says she found just one attendant manning one gate, while the adjacent gate sat unstaffed.
"I saw the gate that said '$50 if you break this gate' and I honestly I thought I've never done anything like this in my life," Socash recalled. "It was a flimsy gate, I went over and broke it and said to some of the cars, 'Just go.'"
Some cars escaped through the broken gate as the cops finally arrived.
Socash was arrested on a misdemeanor -- but not for busting the gate.
"He spins me around and put handcuffs on me and said, 'That's it, you're under arrest,' he said, for trying to incite a riot," she said.
Socash spent the night in jail on a disorderly conduct charge. She was held 18 hours until she posted a $250 bail.
According to the police report, Socash was jumping, screaming and yelling at the parking garage manager.
“I was not screaming and I was not jumping," she said defiantly.
Reflecting on the entire ordeal, Socash says she was most surprised at how little she felt police and the garage employee did to fix the mess.
“He [the police officer] could have told that parking garage owner you either get someone else taking money here in this other line or you’re going to have to open the gates up," Socash said. "It was like neither one of them cared."
While she takes full responsibility for her actions, she wholeheartedly regrets what happened considering up until this point she never had anything more than a speeding ticket on her record.
"If someone Googles my name now, this is what comes up," Socash said as she began to cry. "I’m horrified because I’m not a criminal.
The operators of the garage, 717 Parking Enterprises, replied to 10News' questions with a statement acknowledging that mistakes were made.
"We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to Rowdies fans and other guests of the garage who were affected. We have taken steps to ensure that similar problems are avoided in the future."
In addition, the garage is offering free parking to all during the Rowdies' next home game on Saturday, March 30.
Though the parking fiasco was outside the control of the Rowdies, the team is offering two free tickets to a game in March or April to individuals as long as they have their March 16 parking receipt.
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