The Battle of Towing Companies and Drivers in Wilmington - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

The Battle of Towing Companies and Drivers in Wilmington

WILMINGTON -- Drivers say tow truck operators in Wilmington can be overzealous, but operators say they're just doing their job.

Now, there is someone who is sorting out the towing tug of war by keeping towing companies in line and drivers educated.

You have an empty feeling when you return to where you parked your car and find it gone.

That happened to Tonya So, and she said her car was towed in a matter of seconds.

"I was only inside a second, I came back out and was towed," said Tonya.

Tonya, a downtown business owner, said she stepped into her salon one Saturday just to bring some items inside.

She opened the blinds, turned on the lights, entered the security code, then stepped back out.

The sign in the lot stated that any car without a permit parking on Saturday was subject to being towed.

Tonya didn't have a permit.

Tow truck drivers just say they are trying to make an honest living.

The war between drivers and towing companies has simmered through the years.

That's in part to El Taruas Bluford, the Wilmington Police Department's permanent towing watchdog.

"People still think they can run in real quick , but the tow truck is sitting around the corner, waiting for them," said Bluford.

Bluford said that the city has worked to make sure parking lots are properly marked with signs, which can clear up many of the problems between drivers and the wrecker services.

He said that many of the complaints still focus on how much a towing company can charge someone.

He's the man caught in the middle.

"I'm the mediator, the one who's left to sort it out," said Bluford.

Bluford said he can't fix any problems unless people contact him.

If he has a complaint against a company, he can enforce the city codes by fining them or even taking them off a rotation for wrecker calls to accident scenes, a valuable bonus to company's regular business.

While Bluford keeps an eye on illegal towing, Tonya said she'll park in the deck the next time she has to run inside her salon for a quick stop.


Reported by Joe Keiley

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