Funny girl

High atop a hill in Pleasant Grove, Charlotte Parkhurst says the gays are coming to get her--and her pile of mulch too

There is a good explanation for Parkhurst's strong reaction to the city inspectors who kept appearing outside her kitchen window. With each new day, it seemed, she was given a new citation for some new violation that she couldn't understand.

The day Parkhurst allegedly tried to run Crowley over in her driveway, Crowley gave her a citation for dumping 200 loads of dirt on her driveway. Crowley wrote the citation based on a statement he claims Parkhurst made, according to court records. Parkhurst denies making the statement and, though she concedes that there was a pile of dirt on her driveway, she says it wasn't 200 loads.

Two weeks later, Crowley issued Parkhurst another citation, in which he accused her of "vending services" without a certificate of occupancy. Crowley says he issued the citation based on a tip from a marshal that Parkhurst was getting paid to receive the mulch.

Both of those citations were later dismissed, but Parkhurst and Rhoads must still deal with a citation that fire inspector James Brown issued October 13 after he determined that the mulch pile posed a fire hazard.

"Spontaneous combustion creates deep-seated fires within the pile that are difficult to extinguish," Brown wrote. "Control and extinguishment of these fires require extensive resources from a manpower and equipment standpoint, resulting in a lengthy and expensive operation."

In addition, Crowley says he is going to issue Rhoads and Parkhurst a new citation each for operating an illegal dump without a permit with the hope that they appear together before the same judge, who will finally put the matter to rest.

"Once we get a judge to uphold our position, then that will give us more power to pursue a heavy clear," he says.

In city lingo, a heavy clear means that a team of city employees will remove the mulch pile from Parkhurst's yard.

"The taxpayers would have to front the money, and a lien would have to be put on the property," Crowley says. "Whoever the judge decides is responsible [for the dumping], gets the lien."

Needless to say, the bureaucratic runaround didn't make life on the 7200 block of Eccles Drive any easier. Tension between Parkhurst and Rhoads continued to mount daily.

On September 5, Parkhurst called the police to report that Rhoads had allegedly stolen a no trespassing sign from her yard. Although neither Parkhurst nor the police saw Rhoads take the sign, the police issued Rhoads a misdemeanor citation for theft.

At least four additional police calls were made from the Parkhurst residence during October, two of them from Heather King, Parkhurst's 22-year-old daughter.

During a recent interview, Parkhurst presented a picture of her smiling, blonde daughter and volunteered that she and King had recently got into a fight over the daughter's boyfriend. Anticipating that her enemies will use information about the confrontation against her, Parkhurst concedes that she gave her daughter a black eye.

"I did hit her," says Parkhurst, who displays a picture of bruises on her own arm. "But she hit me worse."

The day Charlotte Parkhurst got hauled off to jail began innocently enough. But it quickly turned into a nightmare, which was perhaps appropriate considering the next day was Halloween.

Tim Smith, a friend of Rhoads, agreed to spend the day planting pansies in the Eccles Drive cul-de-sac, right in the middle of Parkhurst's line of sight.

According to Parkhurst, she was at her kitchen island baking cookies all day in anticipation of the trick-or-treaters who would arrive the next day.

Except for taking her car to Precision Tune for a lube job, Parkhurst says, she never left the house. At dusk, she was about to feed her dogs when a police officer arrived and told her that the neighbors were complaining that she had been yelling at them all day.

Parkhurst says that she tried to explain the ongoing problem with her neighbors, but that the officers wouldn't listen. Instead, they suggested that she go downtown to speak to a judge. Parkhurst left for the jail, with no shoes on her feet and high hopes of bending a judge's ear.

"I was never told I was arrested," says Parkhurst, who spent the night in jail after being arrested on a Class C misdemeanor charge for disorderly conduct and profanity.

But, like her conspiracy theory, Parkhurst's version of events is just a little too weird to believe.

Although he could not produce a full report on the arrest, Dallas police spokesman Miguel Sarmiento confirms that the officers made the arrests after repeated attempts to calm Parkhurst.

"She began screaming at the officers after they arrived, and they warned her about staying calm," Sarmiento says. "She refused a couple of warnings."

When told that Parkhurst contends that she was baking cookies all day before her arrest, those gathered at Rhoads' home break into laughter.

At about 5:15 p.m., Rhoads dialed 911 and reported that a woman was screaming at people in his yard.

After enduring comments from Parkhurst throughout the day, Rhoads says, Tim Smith finally lost his patience when Parkhurst approached him and asked him if he was going inside Rhoads' house for his payoff.

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