By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
How about this? I'll come and park in your driveway for a couple of days so you can't move your car. I bet you would be ready to call a wrecker then. But I guess in that case it would be okay and wrecker drivers wouldn't be dumbasses anymore. One thing's for sure: You will need us.
Out of control: I used to work at 3400 Montrose, which sits right across the street from the second-most-towed parking lot in the city. There's a woman who sits over there in a purple van and calls the tow trucks when someone parks their car and walks over to the Chinese Consulate.
One day, I took pictures of a tow truck driver breaking into cars he was about to tow — seemingly for no reason at all, actually. When the family who was towed walked out of the consulate, I ran across the street and then drove them over to the Westheimer storefront police station to show the police the pics.
The first officer said it was "perfectly legal." When I asked to talk to another cop, they ran my license. Tow truck drivers in Houston are out of control, have been for a long time, and there is nothing being done to change the behavior.
Above the law: I've seen tow truck drivers race through traffic at 80-plus miles per hour. I have watched them drive down freeway embankments; over medians, curbs and sidewalks; and even on the wrong side of the road. Cops ignore tow truck drivers' behavior to the point that I wonder at times if the cop gets a touch of the tow fees. They can charge you whatever they decide, because no one in city/county government will stand up for you. For 20 years I've read of city efforts to regulate this business, only for proposals to die in massive push-back efforts.
So, succinctly, yes. They are above the law.
Props to Craig Malisow! This is what committing journalism looks like. I agree that you should do a follow-up. Judging by the number of comments, I'd say you've turned over a rock with something under it. Gotta love Hair Balls and Houston Press.