Chelmsford police offer ride, towing program to prevent holiday OUIs

The initiative, called “Tow Drunk to Drive,” will run from Nov. 23 through Jan. 1. Day or night, residents can contact the Chelmsford Police Department or Christopher’s Towing Company, which will dispatch a truck to provide a free tow and ride to anywhere in the Merrimack Valley. Police would like to note that cars must be operable and residents will be taken home, not to another party or establishment.

The Chelmsford Police Athletic League will donate $20 to a charitable cause for every person who utilizes the “Tow Drunk to Drive” program.

“We at the Chelmsford Police Department would like to take a proactive step during this holiday season by offering residents a safe and convenient way to get home if they have been drinking,” Spinney said in a press release. “We have zero tolerance for those who get behind the wheel while intoxicated, and hope to cut down on alcohol-related accidents and injuries while also giving back to the community through donations.”

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JCMC, Advanced Towing offer free assistance for Bayonne seniors

Advanced Towing on Kennedy Boulevard in Bayonne and Jersey City Medical Center and RWJBarnabas Health’s Bayonne programs are offering free roadside assistance for Bayonne seniors.
Jersey City Medical Center and other RWJBarnabas Health programs in Bayonne are teaming up with Advanced Towing to offer free roadside service through the end of December to senior citizens in the city.

This is the third consecutive year this partnership will be helping the city’s seniors during the holiday season.

Free services for those 62 years and older includes lockout service, roadside assistance for tire changes, emergency fuel delivery and emergency jump starts.

“We are a small company and we have a small advertising budget, but we want to help the community’s senior citizens in any way we can,” said Mark Borkowski, owner of Advanced Towing of Bayonne.

“We get about two dozen calls each month for jump starts and people locked out of their cars, but with this program we have gotten numerous calls from people just calling to say thanks.”

Mark Rabson, spokesman and director of public affairs at Jersey City Medical Center, said the free service has impacted on the dozens of Bayonne residents who have been helped over the past two holiday seasons.

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AAA Towing offers free tows through New Year

AAA will kick off its Tow To Go program, which offers free towing to members and non-members, specifically around holidays.

The service is aimed at those who might otherwise try to drive impaired and they said they’ll start to offer free rides on Friday, December 23 through Monday, January 2. They’ll be able to get free tows within 10 miles of where they are.

“This next week is usually the busiest time of the year for Tow to Go, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Amy Stracke, with AAA. “Please plan ahead to make sure you and your loved ones get home safely.”

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City auctions off dozens of vehicles from overflowing tow yard

The city is taking steps to ease overflow at a contracted tow yard.

Starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21, the Department of Customer Services held a district tow auction to sell off 42 cars from Kuni’s Automotive and Towing.

Then starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, the city will hold an abandoned vehicle auction where 21 vehicles from Kuni’s will be sold.

City officials say the auctions will be held online.

Unclaimed and Abandoned Vehicles Online Public Auction

  • Minimum bid of fifty dollars ($50) for each vehicle
  • Vehicles may be inspected within 5 calendar days prior to the day of auction. Call for appointment at (808) 682-0770.
  • Vehicles will be sold as is and where is by online internet bidding using the City’s Vendor Self Service system (VSS).
  • All auctions will begin closing at 10:00 a.m. each respective day.

In addition to the auctions, the city says all HPD District 4 requested tows will be rerouted to Kuni’s recently approved overflow facility located at 672 Bannister Street.

“This procedure will provide immediate relief to the Isenberg Street lot by having the vehicles towed directly to the Bannister Street facility,” said Sherilyn Kajiwara, Department of Customer Services director.

Residents are urged to contact the city’s Department of Customer Services at 768-4381 if they see towed vehicles parked in metered stalls.

As we’ve previously reported, numerous residents have contacted KHON2’s Action Line to say Kuni’s Automotive and Towing has a lot so full, it’s had to move dozens of cars onto Isenberg Street, taking up premium parking space. We’ve continued to receive complaints, even after our stories aired.

All-Island Towing has a contract with the city, but also shares some of the work with tow yards like Kuni’s and Empire Towing in Wahiawa.

All-Island Towing says the problem is the auctions aren’t held often enough to keep cars from piling up at tow yards. The city also recently missed an auction.

We’re told the yards are filled with abandoned cars that cannot be auctioned off due to a lawsuit involving the city, but All-Island Towing president Paul Perry says there could be a short-term solution.

“We are in discussions with the city to trying to have auctions more frequently, at least every two weeks,” said Perry.

The city currently holds public car auctions online every four weeks.

“What’s going on right now, over the past few months, is the U.S. Justice Department has been in litigation with the city. I can’t get into specifics, but it basically has to do with military-owned vehicles. We’ve had to place a hold on processing these cars and disposing on them. At this point, we (tow companies island-wide) are holding them indefinitely. As of today, we have approximately 250 cars taking up real estate in our storage lots,” Perry said.

But why has Kuni’s been parking vehicles on Isenberg Street?

“There is no excuse to use public streets to store vehicles, but our quagmire is we are completely out of space. We — myself and the subcontactors — went out of pocket to rent additional lots. We’re footing the bill for all of this. We’re doing everything we can,” Perry responded.

“What would you say to residents who are beyond frustrated with the overflow, and say it is the towing company’s responsibility to find storage for these abandoned vehicles?” KHON2 asked Perry.

“First off, I’d like to apologize for the inconvenience sincerely, and assure them we are doing everything humanly possible to get more space,” he said. “I plead with them to just give me a little time. Please be patient.”

City officials previously told KHON2 they cannot comment on pending litigation.

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Man stuck with towing bill months after car sold

Jonny Rozela’s cautionary tale starts in August.

He had just bought a new car, which meant it was time to part ways with his old 2004 Kia Spectra. So he posted an ad on Craigslist to sell it for cheap. Before long, a buyer came to check it out.

“He test drove it. He’s like, ‘All right, I’ll take it,’ We ended up going to $325,” Rozela said of the sale.

The buyer paid cash. Rozela took the plate, removed his insurance from the vehicle, signed over the title and made sure the buyer signed it, too. The deal was done.

selling a car tips graphic 122216

Or so he thought.

“I completely forgot about the car,” he said.

Then, just a few weeks ago, he got a sudden reminder when the Michigan Secretary of State sent him a letter.

“It was impounded for almost three months,” Rozela recalled the notice saying. “You have 20 days or it’s going to auction. Whatever it makes will go towards the bill and whatever is remaining on the bill will be billed to me.”

Apparently, the car broke down on the side of road about a month after Rozela sold it. McClaine’s Towing in metro Battle Creek brought it to their lot, where it has been sitting for months.

Rozela would have to pay about $2,600 to get it back.

“That’s not money I should pay,” he said.

The problem is that the car is still in his name because the title was never officially transferred to the buyer. Rozela watched the buyer sign it, but it was never taken to a Secretary of State’s office. And he doesn’t have any proof the deal was done.

“Biggest mistake I have here is (I) didn’t get a bill of sale,” he said.

selling a car tips graphic 122216

Rozela called up the buyer, who claimed the car was gone when he and a friend returned to fix it. He told Rozela he had lost the title and Rozela’s number.

“The last thing he got to me was, ‘I don’t have the money.’ He hasn’t texted me, he hasn’t called me since,” Rozela said.

Target 8 was able to reach the buyer, but he hung up before explaining what happened.

The owner of McClaine’s Towing told Target 8 that this kind of thing happens at least once a month. The company cut Rozela the same deal it does with others who are saddled with bills for abandoned vehicles they thought they had sold. Rozela will pay the towing fee — $163, in this case — and sign over the title to McClaine’s, which will keep the car for parts.

Rozela said that at this point, that’s his best option. He’ll almost certainly end up paying less than he would if the car were to go up for action and he had to pay the difference on the full towing bill.

He hopes others will learn from his situation and be more careful and less trusting.

“My word of advice would be to, even if it’s a family member, make sure to get a bill of sale if you’re selling it to someone,” Rozela said.

The Secretary of States recommends sellers go with buyers to an office to make sure the title is officially transferred.

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A Car Towing Tale of Woe


A car being towed in New York City.
A car being towed in New York City.Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

5/17/13 | Updated with comment from towing company’s lawyer.

When we were looking for a home in a new city a few years ago, my family took a welcome break from house hunting to eat dinner.

We emerged from the restaurant just in time to see our car speed by — on the back of a tow truck. Apparently, we had mistakenly entered the incorrect parking space number in an automatic payment machine. We had paid — for the wrong space. So an alert local towing firm had pounced.

Our little adventure ended an hour or so later, after we tracked down the location of the tow lot and retrieved our car. The tow operator didn’t want to hear our argument about having paid for the wrong space, and the children were cranky, so we just paid the fee and went on our way.

But things didn’t go so easily for Robert Pelkey of Manchester, N.H., who sued a towing firm after it hauled away his car and then sold it, even though his lawyer told the towing firm he hadn’t abandoned it and wanted it back.

The towing firm invoked a federal transportation law to argue that his claim under a New Hampshire consumer law was invalid. The towing suit made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which this week ruled that Mr. Pelkey’s suit can proceed.

Here’s Mr. Pelkey’s tale of towing woe. In February 2007, a firm called Dan’s City Used Cars towed Mr. Pelkey’s 2004 Honda Civic from its parking spot because he had failed to move it during a snowstorm, per the policy of his apartment complex.

It turned out that Mr. Pelkey was ill, and ended up in the hospital to have his foot amputated shortly after the car was towed. He suffered a heart attack while in the hospital, and stayed there for nearly two months, according to a brief filed by his lawyers.

A notification mailed by Dan’s City to Mr. Pelkey was returned, according to the court’s opinion, so the firm scheduled the car for auction. When Mr. Pelkey did return home and found that his car was gone, his lawyer located the car and offered to pay any charges owed to reclaim it. But Dan’s City sold it anyway, without paying Mr. Pelkey anything for it.

Mr. Pelkey sued in state superior court, which found that his claims were pre-empted by federal law and couldn’t proceed. The state’s Supreme Court reversed that finding, so Dan’s City appealed. On Monday, the United States Supreme Court upheld the New Hampshire high court’s ruling. So Mr. Pelkey may yet be compensated for his troubles.

Adina Rosenbaum, a lawyer for Public Citizen and Mr. Pelkey’s co-counsel, said the Supreme Court “affirmed that people can bring state law cases against towing companies that tow their cars and sell them against the owners’ wishes.”

Andre Bouffard, the lead counsel for Dan’s City, said the high court didn’t rule on the merits of the specific allegations in Mr. Pelkey’s lawsuit. “There are still a lot of facts in dispute,” he said, like whether Mr. Pelkey had agreed to pay charges owed to the towing company. Those issues will be considered if the case goes to trial, he said. The two sides could also settle out of court.

Regardless, he said, the decision “creates a wider scope for state law suits not only against tow truckers, but also other motor carriers.”

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Watch a Lamborghini Murcielago Tow a Trailer Full of Goats

I’ve become jaded to videos of people doing silly things in supercars, but just when you think you’ve seen it all, a video of some dude towing goats in a Lamborghini Murcielagoappears. I’m not sure why this guy thought this was a good idea, but ehhh, it’s probably better not to question it.

The video comes from Australia and was posted to YouTube last week by user Joseph Criniti, who doesn’t offer any explanation as to why this guy was towing goats in a Lamborghini. Whoever was sitting in the passenger seat of the Murcielago seems unfazed by the bizarre situation she’s a participant in.

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