A young woman in Rothesay, New Brunswick believes she is being targeted by police and by-law officers and other drivers for driving the hearse she bought last year as her personal vehicle.
Since she purchased the 1994 Cadillac, Hannah Fleet says she’s been honked at; had a tire slashed; seen the middle fingers flipped in her direction; and received warning letters from town by-law officers.
She’s even had a police officer visit her at home to tell her she could no longer park her car in a highway lay-by with no posted parking restrictions.
Fleet says she parks there because visibility is poor at the end of her steep gravel driveway and she’s worried about pulling out into fast-moving traffic.
The town’s Kafkaesque solution was to tell her to park at a wharf four kilometres away, where there are posted no-parking restrictions.
Local police say they can’t figure out why the town has it out for Fleet and her car, but ultimately say it’s Fleet’s battle. Needless to say, she feels she’s being discriminated against and is considering selling the vehicle.
She has already been approached by a number of potential buyers, one of whom said he wants to “paint the life of Christ” on the sides of the car.
“If the town has a problem with me, watch out for that guy,” Fleet quipped.
There’s nothing illegal about re-purposing a hearse for personal use, and Fleet is far from the highest-profile Canadian to have done so. Neil Young and his band famously used a hearse to haul their gear between gigs; that car, nicknamed Mort, supposedly inspired his song Long May You Run.
Fleet says she can only guess that other residents of Rothesay are simply old-fashioned small-town folk, and don’t like seeing her car because it reminds them of their own mortality. Or maybe they’re just envious because a 25-year-old woman owns a vehicle that’s way out of the ordinary.
If Fleet does decide to keep her hearse – and we hope she does – the small-minded among the residents of Rothesay will have one less reason to wring their hands and gnash their teeth later this summer: Fleet is planning to move to Halifax, Nova Scotia later this summer to begin studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. We have a feeling she and her car will be more welcome there.