The City's crackdown on towing companies is on hold. A judge has issued a temporary restraining order stopping San Antonio police from ticketing towing companies for over-charging customers.
Bexar Towing, also known as Roadside Recovery Specialists, sued the City after it began enforcing an ordinance that limits tow fees to $85. Police wrote Bexar Towing more than 400 citations for over-charging in a two-week period – after the SAPD began enforcing the law.
On Monday, 37th District Judge David Berchelmann granted Bexar Towing a temporary restraining order that keeps police from enforcing the ordinance until a hearing on June 4th.
“During the time period that the restraining order is in effect, we will not be writing citations”, police Chief William McManus said.
After a series of stories by my fellow Trouble Shooter reporter Jaie Avila on towing complaints and questionable practices, the police department discovered an ordinance on the books limiting the tow fee to $85. But it had not been enforced.
McManus and City Attorney Michael Bernard believe the towing ordinance will be upheld at the court hearing.
“I think it's a good ordinance for San Antonio – I think it's fair, I think that the people of San Antonio deserve such an ordinance," McManus said. "There’ve been predatory practices by many of the towing companies, and I think that this ordinance is a safeguard against those predatory practices.”
Bexar Towing did not return a call for comment, but the San Antonio Towing Association says enforcing the $85 towing ordinance will put many companies out of business.
“We have asked, and continue to ask, to participate in creating regulation that is fair and doesn't cause devastation to our businesses”, said Liz Johnson, president of the San Antonio Towing Association.
— Brian Collister, WOAI Investigative Reporter. Find him online at woai.com, where you can watch the related broadcast. Email tips to email@example.com.