Bexar Towing hit with hundreds of SAPD citations

Employee arrested on charge of violating a city ordinace

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist, mrivers@ksat.com
Published On: Aug 07 2012 05:13:42 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 07 2012 05:41:12 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

A dispute over towing fees lead to a Bexar Towing employee being arrested last Friday and hundreds of citations filed against the company. 

The dispute could prove to be a pivotal point in the city's ongoing battle against towing companies they said are violating a city ordinance.

The ordinance states towing companies cannot charge someone more than $85 per tow. If they do, police are able to write citations, and they've done so in force, writing hundreds since May.

Last Friday, John DeLoach, an employee at Bexar Towing, tried to charge someone nearly $300, the towing company's standard rate and a figure within state regulations on towing fees.

The person called police complaining the figure was too high, and DeLoach was arrested.

While citations have become the norm in this situation, DeLoach's arrest was the first time a towing employee had been arrested during the enforcement of the city ordinance, according to Bexar Towing attorney Mark Cannan.

"This is a dispute that should be resolved in the courts and not by arresting workers," said Cannan.

He's filed suit in district court claiming the city ordinance violates state regulations on towing fees. He argued that Bexar Towing is following state law, and that city ordinance's saying otherwise do not supersede state authority.

"The arrest was meant to exert pressure on Bexar Towing, for the city to assert and flex their muscles, and it's an abuse of power," said Cannan.

The law does state, however, that police have the right to arrest, depending on the situation.

"There's no hard and fast rule that says we're going to arrest every time we go out there or we're going to issue a citation every time we go out there," said Sgt. Javier Salazar, SAPD spokesman.

DeLoach was arrested on a charge of violating a city ordinance in connection with the incident.

Bexar Towing will challenge the hundreds of citations they've received since May in municipal court. Cannan said the company will argue the citations are invalid because the city ordinance violates state law.

In the meantime, there's no indication the company plan to lower their prices, meaning those citations will likely continue to pile up.

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.