RSS

Tag Archives: tow truck

When Things Are So Bad…Even the Morons in Congress Get it

Street Hijacking by nefarious Tow Companies. The problem is endemic in the DC area, and I am sure shared by other cities. So bad in fact – even the do-nothing Congress is taking it on…

Had a friend who owned one of the first Porsche Bi-Turbo Carreras in the US back in the 70’s. A local towing company couldn’t resist the sight of an expensive car, whose owner would pay megabucks to get it back. They hooked it up via the bumper hook and towed it away – doing about $25,000 in damage to the suspension and steering. He sued, and eventually won – which was a driving reason behind conversion to the bed type tow trucks in the area. Through the years, I have seen more than one car damaged or destroyed by the local city tow contractors.

Predatory towing companies are about to get a beat down from Congress

The terrible reign of the parking lot pirates may be about to end.
And you won’t believe which swashbucklers are eager to rescue the nation from the metal jaws of predatory towing companies.

Congress.

Yep. Our normally dysfunctional House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a transportation bill Thursday morning that — among tons of other things — lets local governments go after the tow truck operators who have picked many families’ pockets.

You know which tow truck operators I mean, right? The hated kind.

The ones who snag your car during the three minutes you ran into CVS to pick up a prescription.

The ones who make millions of dollars baiting deserted parking lots and using spotters at all hours of the night to tow you away.

The ones who hold your car hostage for more than $100 in towing and impound fees.

The ones who hooked a car with kids inside in April.

The ones who have towed cars with dogs inside.

The ones who get taken to court and rarely pay more than a $125 fine when a judge finds that they improperly and illegally seized — and damaged — your car.

Yeah, those guys.

They have no mercy, and their victims can be anybody.

Um, everybody, actually.

“Lots of members of Congress were excited about it,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who co-authored the amendment with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “Getting towed is a very non-partisan experience.”

Van Hollen knows the experience too well.

“I was at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, literally ran in for takeout,” he explained. His car was towed in “less than 90 seconds,” he said.

In his neck of the woods, Montgomery County, that tow will add at least $150 onto whatever errand you were trying to run. Expensive moo shu.

Van Hollen said these kinds of tow guys have turned it “into a science,” with an empty parking lot becoming a “cash cow.” It’s one of the biggest complaints his office gets.

“We didn’t have trouble signing up people,” said Van Hollen, who has been trying to thwart the parking lot pirates for years and may finally be successful with this bill.

Of course, it was Congress that gave the pirates their opening years ago.

A loophole in a 1994 federal law forbade local jurisdictions from doing anything to regulate these guys.

So they saw the opportunity and created a cottage industry of spying on people on empty lots and towing them minutes after they leave their car.

ESPN reporter Britt McHenry had her car towed while she was eating dinner in Clarendon. She was famously caught on video ripping into the cashier when she went to pay them off to get her car back. She was suspended by ESPN for a week.

I was just as angry a couple of years ago when they hooked us after we pulled up near a condo in Clarendon to load a piece of furniture into our minivan.

It was less than 10 minutes, flashers on, sign on the windshield explaining we’re loading and will be right back. It was late at night in front of a dry cleaner that was closed. And it was gone, sparks flying as the undercarriage slammed on the ground and the truck fishtailed away.

Mind you, these aren’t the merciless guys who tow your car parked in a no-parking lane on one of the District’s main streets one minute into rush hour.

Those guys are brutal, but they serve a purpose. One illegally parked car can be like metal cholesterol, clogging up a city’s thoroughfares for blocks and blocks.

The parking lot pirates? A lot less noble.

They lurk in cars and tow your vehicle even if you’re a customer of one business, then walk 200 feet to use the ATM at another. Show them your receipt, they won’t care.

The online complaints about them are outrageous.

One guy was towed exactly one minute after his gym closed. Another was towed because a condo placard was on the left side of the dashboard instead of on the right. And another was towed even though she was parked perfectly legally. And that was just this week.

They’ve been doing this for years.

The late musician Steve Goodman sang about the notorious Chicago towing company with similar tactics back in the 1970s in “Lincoln Park Pirates,” made famous by columnist Mike Royko:

“We plunder the streets of your town

Be it Edsel or Chevy

There’s no car too heavy

And one one can make us shut down.”…

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Florida Police Shoot Man Whose Car Had Broken Down

An off-duty plain clothes cop shot and killed a man in Florida who was standing beside his car waiting for a tow truck…

After his car broke down, Florida church drummer shot and killed by plainclothes officer

Their band, Future Prezidents, had finished their gig almost an hour earlier, so bass player Mathew Huntsberger was surprised to get a call from drummer Corey Jones, 31, around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday.

Jones told Huntsberger that his SUV had broken down and asked if he could help, so Huntsberger drove to find his bandmate, who was stranded north of West Palm Beach, Fl. on Interstate 95. He brought along some oil, but when that didn’t work, the two decided to look up numbers for a tow truck.

“I tried to help him the best I could, but I’m not a mechanic or anything,” Huntsberger said in an interview with The Post on Monday afternoon.

Huntsberger said he called roadside assistance for his bandmate and then, about 2:30 a.m., left to head home while Jones waited for the tow truck.

About 45 minutes later, Jones was dead — shot and killed by a police officer.

“When I left him he was sitting in his car calling roadside assistance,” Huntsberger said. “I never would have thought that someone was going to come kill him.”

Few details have been released about the Oct. 18 shooting — which is one of more than 780 fatal police shootings so far in 2015, according to a Washington Post database of all deadly on-duty shootings by police officers in 2015.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department said that officer Nouman Raja was in plainclothes in an unmarked car when he stopped to investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle on an Interstate 95 exit ramp.

“As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject,” the police department said in a statement. “As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of the subject.”

Palm Beach Gardens is a roughly 50,000-resident city near Palm Beach, made up primarily of white residents.  The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the shooting, referred requests for comment to the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. Officials with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“They’re saying he was armed, but I don’t know if I believe it,” said Huntsberger, who described Jones as a really mellow, church-going guy. “Of course they’re going to say that. If I was there, maybe it’s a different situation. I just don’t know what happened.”

Family members, several of whom are clergy members in the Palm Beach region, and friends have described Jones as a well-known and liked church drummer at Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach.  Jones family plans to gather tonight at a local church to share memories of him, and are making funeral plans for Saturday.

“He was a good kid, just coming home from a gig,” said Jones’s cousin Frank Hearst, 36, of Nashville, Tenn. “He was just an all-around good guy who never got into any trouble, never had any record. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”

Hearst said family members are upset at how little information has been provided about the shooting. They want to know how many shots were fired, and what weapon he allegedly was carrying when he was killed. They  say Jones never carried a firearm.

“They’re saying Corey approached him armed, which is a total lie,” Hearst said. “That don’t make sense.”

Benjamin Dixon said he met Jones because they were both church musicians, occasionally filling in for each other’s bands when a member had to miss a service.

“When you play with someone two or three times, they become friends. Two or three times more, and they become family,” Dixon said.

He remembered Jones as a laid-back guy, often found wielding his drumsticks behind a kit in a church sanctuary.

“He was a very hard worker who you could also find in his church,” Dixon said.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 20, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: