City Police Chief Takes Action After KDKA Investigation On Towing

By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What happened to Dale Labby in Brookline has happened to scores of other drivers unfortunate enough to have been injured in an accident.

Labby handed over his keys over to a tow truck operator who had rushed to the scene and 36 hours later there was this bill.

Two tows at $175 apiece, three days’ storage at $50 a day, plus $50 clean up costs all totaled $550.
“I tell you what it’s outrageous. It is,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said.

The KDKA Investigators tracked abuses for more than a year, but today Harper responded to their latest report by reissuing an order to his officers.

To protect an injured victim, all tows from accidents scenes must now be handled by one operator – McGann and Chester – the towing company with the city’s towing contract.

“We need to take control of their property so it remains intact and they don’t get hit with these outlandish bills,” Harper said.

Under the chief’s order, McGann and Chester will tow all cars to a tow pound for no more than the $110 allowed in the ordinance. Chief Harper believes this is going a long way to eliminating abuses of some independent tow truck operators.

But Councilman Doug Shields believes that the city must go even further.

Last year, council passed Shield’s bill to license all tow truck operators. But the public safety director says he has no plans of enacting the legislation saying it only adds another layer of bureaucracy while not addressing the problem.

Tuesday in council, Shields took him to task.

“And if this is the level of cooperation we get on the simple matter of trying to bring order to chaos in the towing business here where the public is commonly fleeced, commonly abused by operators who care a wit for the law and order of this city, than what do we have left to do here,” he said.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Daniel says:

    Let me get this straight..the Public Safety Director can overrule council on a bill that has already passed? I am no lawyer but hopefully this is not legal. And if he is willfully ignoring a valid city law then he should be fired. Mr. Huss that is. I do commend Chief Harper in this regard. What he did is the right thing to do here.

  2. Common Sense says:

    Towing vehicles is what Harper is really concerned with. Why wouldn’t you focus on something more trivial, like having at least one shooting a day in the city and the lives that are torn apart and destroyed from the violence!!! And Harper, not all tow truck companies are as bad as you are making them out to be. You being a man of color, I would think you would know better than to discriminate or stereotype!!!! Focus on the real problems in the world, you trying to monopolize towing is not going to work, I am sure the law department will clue you in on this quite soon!!!!

    1. Mark says:

      You sir are a complete moron who lacks that common sense….

  3. STOPP WITH THE POLITICS says:

    Why is tthe city so intent on making money for the mayor’s friends at McCann and Chester(remeber the city pound?). Pass and Enforce the laws on the books already and stop trying to put a hold on free enterprise. Privat tow companies set their own prices,period not buracrates or police chiefs? We operate without city contracts we need Doug Shield common sense non bias law. Passing and enforcing your own Laws Chief would help eliminate the rogue tow truck drivers. THIS IS NOT HARD STUFF! STOP TRYING TO MAKE MONEY FOR mc1…OR PUT THE CITY CONTRACT BACK UP FOR BIDDING!!!

  4. ronald hill says:

    there should be a county wide law for towing

  5. FixPGH says:

    If the city has a law about how much a towing company can charge, then those companies need to obey that law. Too many companies out there like to rip people off. It needs to stop.

    1. Tow says:

      read the law then comment , the news loves to distort things to make them sound better for there story, the law states that the fees are controled for nonconsentual towing, police ordered tows and impounds if your not sure what that is, the fee that the news and city council is talking about was put in place over 15years ago, the new law didn’t change or update them fees it just included private impound companys, would you work today for the same rates you were working for in 1995, for the most part the fees are justified, and the law cant control private tower fees.

  6. Mr Soho says:

    We don’t need these chasers on the accident scene, Thank you Chief

  7. HYPOCRTICAL says:

    WELL THEN I GUESS WE NEED TO REGULATE ALL ELECTRICIANS , PLUMBERS , CONCRETE COMPANYS , LANDSCAPERS , RESTURANTS , CARPENTERS , HAIR SALONS , BARS, CASINO , AMBULANCE COMPANYS , LIFE FLIGHT ,CAB COMPANYS , JITNEYS ………..ON AND , AND , ON , AND ON …….. REALLY ?????? USE YOUR HEADS AND THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK !!!! CHECK THE TOW BILLS THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF THE CITY ,LIKE MIKE JOYCE IN NORTH BOROS … FARRIS IN SHARPSBURGH …. CULGAN IN SWISSVILLE , PLEASE PEOPLE GET YOUR FAX , BEFORE YOU RUN YOUR MOUTH !!!!

    1. GrammarPolice says:

      Learn how to type before you run YOUR mouth! Seriously? I can just picture a person standing in front of people just SCREAMING insanely when people type in all caps like that. You look psycho. Calm down, have a drink of water, and go back to your corner.

  8. driver says:

    I’m still going to the wrecks. The city can’t give all the tows to mc. The city is just tryin to make a buck or two off us. Just because one guy had to pay a tow bill that he didn’t like, the city wants to give everything to mc, I don’t think soo. Ill see you at the scene 2.

    1. GrammarPolice says:

      driver you’re a gypsy, learn to make an honest living.

      1. nelsen says:

        Grammer police your a cop, ill smack the donut right out of your mouth PIG!!!!

  9. nelsen says:

    You can’t even get the weather right kdka, how are going to predict the towing forcast? Ill see you at the wrecks!!

  10. Charles Watson says:

    You must first realize that there are legitimate towing co. and illegitimate towing co. Once and or IF you can ponder that, then you will need a understanding of the extreme overhead that it takes to operate a legitimate towing co. IF then you’re capable of putting your own bias/agenda aside, then maybe you will come to the very simple conclusion that EACH INDIVIDUAL TOWING CO. SHOULD BE JUDGED BY THERE OWN MERITS.

    The slanderous one sided media coverage is getting old. Chief Harper thinking he can wave his hand and put me out of business is getting old.

    How about dealing with the truth of the matter? How about getting the reporting right? How about reporting both sides?

    CDW Towing
    Charles Watson

  11. Mike says:

    It’s a serious matter because when a accident comes over the scanner they drive like maniacs to get to the scene first. There going to hurt somebody on the way there. How can you tow a vehicle safely with a pick- up truck. You never see these trucks out in the boro’s towing. There should be contracts and limits on charging. They also should be tow trucks not f 250’s with slings in the bed. It be safer to pull a car hauler to the seen than some of those trucks you see.

  12. Business Owner says:

    I don’t beleave it is fair that mc gets all the accidents it should be given to a business in each zone that runs a legitmate business

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