Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OR Assault Victim Can't Avoid Towing Fee

Yeah, I know the tow truck driver was within his rights, but..sigh... just doesn't seem like the best PR angle for a section of the industry that's been in the news a lot lately, especially around Portland, OR.

Here's the story from The Oregonian:

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Neither a bloody face nor a deputy's plea could stop a tow-truck driver from doing what he's paid to do.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said a Wilsonville woman fled her apartment Monday night after getting assaulted by her boyfriend. With blood running down her face, she got in her car and sped across the parking lot to her grandmother's place, where she called 9-1-1.

The 25-year-old provided a statement to the responding sheriff's deputy and then stepped outside to find her car getting towed. The tow driver would not leave the car without making the woman pay a "drop fee."

"I explained to the tow driver that the woman was the victim of domestic violence," Deputy Wes Hall told The Oregonian newspaper. "I told him there was no place to park, so she left the car with its four-way flashers going, because she was trying to get away."

The deputy's arguments failed to persuade.

The driver, who works on commissions, was completely within his rights to tow the car or charge a drop fee to leave it, said Charles White, general operations manager for Retriever Towing. The amount the woman paid has not been disclosed, but White said the fees run as high as $160.

White said Retriever is under contract to patrol the parking lots at the apartment complex, ensuing that fire lanes and emergency-access routes remain unobstructed. "The deputy has no right to tell him to drop the car without charging a fee," he said.

Deputies arrested the woman's boyfriend on an accusation of assault.

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