To the Editor:
In response to David DeWitt's June 4 article about the vague and ambiguous towing laws in the state of Ohio, I would like to begin by sharing a story of someone close to me: fall quarter of this year my girlfriend was backing her car out of her apartment alley behind 9 W. State St. She parked there to move a heavy item into her apartment. Though she knew those spaces were in a tow-away zone, she opted to put her hazards on and park for a short amount of time, less than 30 minutes. Without incident, she got into her car and began to drive out of the alley, only to be met with an intimidating, red tow-truck.
The tow-truck blocked the only exit to the alley and got out of their truck, saying someone called to report an illegally parked car. My girlfriend apologized and explained the situation, saying she was sorry that they had to come out there, but that she was already on her way out. The company physically refused to let her out of the alley until she paid them a fee of $40 because they "showed up."
I have also witnessed a situation involving a friend who was charged upwards of $50 to get their car off the same company's red truck, with no receipt and without signing any document. The driver simply put the cash in his pocket and took his chains off the car. This towing company's fees apparently vary with the drivers, and often are not logged in accordance to any policy.
The towing free-for-all that is currently happening in Athens and on Ohio University's campus needs to be regulated by state legislation, or the state needs to give towing regulation powers back into the hands of municipal government. Blanket towing regulations that give the towing companies excess power over citizens through unclear laws need to be stopped.
North Congress Street