Towing woes after winter storm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s caused a bit of controversy, but something had to be done.

The City of Birmingham, along with several other cities declared no vehicles would be towed after being abandoned on road ways during this week’s winter storm.

“If we need to move a vehicle to the shoulder of the road for our emergency vehicles or our sand trucks we will do that a promise from the City of Birmingham, said Police Chief A.C. Roper.

“Any car, if we can’t contact the owner, we’ll have to tow those cars, the ones that are in the right of way. if they’re not in the right of way, if they’re not blocking traffic we’ll leave them be,” said Pelham Mayor Gary Waters.

If your vehicle was towed in Pelham, Waters says you’ll be charged $180 and companies in the city are waiving the impound fee of $200.

Some car owners are having a much difference experience.

“This got out of hand because we had a profiteer, a private towing company on the northern end of town, that took it upon himself to without any authorization to tow 30 cars.” Waters says if one of those 30 cars were yours, you won’t be charged.

The City of Leeds requested that vehicles blocking streets be towed by a wrecker services. Mayor David Miller says owners will be reimbursed by the state.

If your car was towed in Hoover you are urged to look around the surrounding area to see if it was just moved to the side of the roadway before calling the Hoover or Pelham Police Department.

According to Captain Jim Coker, Action Towing and Recovery located at 2075 Valleydale Terrace (off of County Road 261 near Montgomery Highway) towed several vehicles from the areas of Montgomery Highway and Valleydale Road, Montgomery Highway and Riverchase Parkway, and surrounding areas.

If you return to an area near the Montgomery Highway corridor to retrieve your vehicle and it is not there you can call Hoover Police at (205) 444-7700 or Pelham Police at (205) 620-6550.

You may also call Action Towing and Recovery at (205) 390-6596 to see if they have your vehicle.

Coker says there should be no charge to recover your vehicle unless you personally authorized Action Towing to remove your vehicle from its location.

The Pelham Police Department Released this statement and advice for drivers:

The Pelham Police Department regrets the necessity of towing vehicles that were/are blocking main arteries within the City of Pelham. However, roadway access for emergency vehicles to deliver City services must be maintained. If your vehicle was/is abandoned on any of the main arteries (Highway 11, Highway 31, Highway 52 East or West, Highway 119, Highway 261, etc) and was/is blocking the actual roadway and cannot be safely pushed or moved to the shoulder or the owner immediately contacted by responding officers it is likely that it was/will be towed. You may call the Pelham Police Department to determine if your vehicle had to be towed as a hazard.

The exception to this is Hwy 52 West between Pelham Heights Road and Whitling Drive. The vehicles stranded in that location have not yet been towed. However, it is believed that the roadway there will thaw enough by approximately noon Thursday for travel on that road by emergency and/or essential vehicles and the Pelham Police Department will begin the process of clearing vehicles from that roadway. Owners of vehicles that have been abandoned in that area of Hwy 52 East should contact the Pelham Police Department by phone at (205) 620-6550 with a vehicle description and a contact telephone number and be prepared to respond to their vehicle immediately upon being informed that the vehicle can be safely moved. Otherwise those vehicles will be towed by a wrecker company. Wrecker fees are not charged by the City of Pelham but are, of course, charged by the individual towing companies.

The City of Pelham has taken steps to insure that neither wrecker company has increased their normal day to day towing rate during this time of emergency. Furthermore both towing companies have agreed not to charge storage fees for any vehicle ordered towed by the Police Department as a hazard provided the vehicle is picked up by 5:00 PM on Friday. Many insurance policies will cover all or a portion of the towing fee under the “Stranded Motorist” coverage clause of an auto policy.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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