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.