Phila. woman says tow company stole her car
CENTER CITY - April 7, 2011 (WPVI) -- Doris Dukes of West Oak Lane still has a photo of her 1993 car when it was new. Last June the 81-year-old woman was involved in an accident and the vehicle was towed by 4 Daughters Towing in Philadelphia.
She says she never saw the car again.
"They stole my car. What do you think they did with it? Probably sold it for scrap," said Dukes.
Dukes took 4 Daughters to court twice and the company and owner Philip Augustine were ordered to pay her two thousand dollars. She hasn't seen that either, and the tow operator is appealing.
"4 Daughters approached my mother and said that her insurance company had sent them there," said Dukes' son, Keith Perkins. "I have been in AAA since 1970. I said I have Triple-A. They said, 'No, you don't have to call, you don't have to pay for this.'"
We tried to reach owner Phillip Augustine and his lawyer Samuel Fishman several times, but to no avail. Meanwhile Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney is quite familiar with Doris Dukes' case. He says towing legislation he sponsored which has passed in Council would help protect motorists from unscrupulous tow operators.
"This particular situation points to the problem. Basically what that company has done is committed a fraud and stolen the woman's car," said Kenney.
The legislation, which still needs state approval, would have the Philadelphia Parking Authority inspect operators and dispatch private tow trucks to accident scenes. Damaged cars would be towed to Parking Authority lots or a place chosen by the vehicle owner.
Meanwhile though, Doris Dukes is just trying to get what was rightfully hers: the car and its contents, including her mother's wedding ring she was going to have sized.
Councilman Kenney hopes his legislation becomes law in the fall. In the meantime he cautions motorists not to sign any document from a tow operator at an accident scene.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, accident, lawsuit, center city, philadelphia city council, local/state, cathy gandolfo
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