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Friday, June 4, 2010

TX Towing Co. Under Fire For Inaccessibility To People With Disabilities

Here's the KVUE news story:

A southeast Austin tow truck company is coming under fire for its inaccessibility to people with disabilities.

In late March, 23-year old Tyler Thomas, a person with a disability parked his truck at 608 Rio Grande.

Thomas says he thought he could park in the lot because the business was closed and because his truck has a disability sticker. What he says he couldn't see in the darkness were the towaway signs, a discovery he made the hard way.

"I was in the wrong. I shouldn't have parked in that spot," admitted Thomas, but little did the Texas State University State student know that his problems were just beginning.

Thomas' truck was towed to J&J towing on Linger Lane near Bolm Road. The other side of the front door of the southeast Austin business has a staircase and the window out front where customers pay to get their cars back is elevated and has a stack of cinderblocks to stand on.

The problem is that Tyler Thomas is in a wheelchair.

"I couldn't even get in there to do business with them, I mean how are they going to tow a handicapped vehicle when you can't even get in there to conduct business with them?," questioned Thomas.

Travis County Constable Bruce Elfant says all business operating in Travis County has to comply with the American Disabilities Act or A.D.A. Elfant says there are a few exceptions.

""If we have a citizen in Travis County who's trying to do business with a local business for whatever reason, they want to go purchase something there, they want to go transact something or in this case they want to be able to get their car back they should have access to that business and it is disturbing," said Elfant.

No one from J&J Towing Company returned our repeated requests for an interview nor would anyone answer our questions about whether or not their business or building is an exception to A.D.A. requirements.

"I just want all business to take into consideration when they open up or even if they've been opened up for a while and they're not handicap accessible that we need to get to places too and it's very, very frustrating trying to get in somewhere and you can't," added Thomas.

Constable Elfant also told KVUE that Travis County businesses who do not comply with A.D.A. requirements can be sued.

Elfant encourages people with complaints to contact either his office or Advocacy Incorporated, or the Texas Attorney General's Office.

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