For all citizens of Virginia and those who pass through, it is extremely important that you hear my story, and I ask that you support me in pressuring the police department and Willow Springs Towing Company to give me my car back - which I feel has been stolen.
There is a loophole in the law that allows for this kind of extortion. In the bidding process for the contracts, there is nothing in the documents that reconcile damages if a police office or department make a mistake with a car; no exceptions. In many other states, you have 24-72 hours to have a car removed.
As a parking officer, you are not allowed to assume how long a car has been there. You have to log the tag in, and when the time has expired on the tag, you go back to the car. If the car is still there, you can ticket it, but not one minute before or else the ticket is made void.
The police currently have no system. They see a car and if they want it towed whether they are right or wrong, whether the passengers are in an emergency or not - they have the car towed. They have no more responsibility they claim to the vehicle. It is now in the hands of the tow truck. You can sign this petition now, or keep reading to understand my story. Your signature helps me to inform the state and the police that I should have my car back. The legislation should change on this issue.
Also, by the below state of Va code I should have had 24 hours. My car was not in the roadway.
§ 46.2-1209. Unattended or immobile vehicles, generally.
No person shall leave any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination thereof immobilized or unattended on or adjacent to any roadway if it constitutes a hazard in the use of the highway. No person shall leave any immobilized or unattended motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part or combination thereof longer than 24 hours on or adjacent to any roadway outside the corporate limits of any city or town, or on an interstate highway or limited access highway, expressway, or parkway inside the corporate limits of any city or town. Any law-enforcement officer or other uniformed employee of the local law-enforcement agency who specifically is authorized to do so by the chief law-enforcement officer or his designee may remove it or have it removed to a storage area for safekeeping and shall report the removal to the Department and to the owner of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or combination as promptly as possible. Before obtaining possession of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or combination, its owner or successor in interest to ownership shall pay to the parties entitled thereto all costs incidental to its removal or storage. In any violation of this section the owner of such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or part or combination of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, shall be presumed to be the person committing the violation; however, this presumption shall be rebuttable by competent evidence.
My Car Story
While driving about 60 mph on the highway, the car shut down. The lights came on, the radio flickered on and off - all signals to a problem that I found out later was an alternator that will need to be replaced.
Online I found out that a new alternator costs approximately $150 - $200 depending on the car make and model. The car shut down in the middle of the highway, and I was able to steer it over to the side of the highway out of the way of traffic. I was not able to accelerate or put on the brakes - they totally went out.
Saturday, February 9, 2013 it was 30 degrees outside. My daughter was with us. Our phones were dead. We had to jump a medium and walk along an exit which was pitch black. An exit we had never taken before, in Vienna. We ended up in a residential neighborhood that felt like the middle of nowhere. We continued to walk and found the Vienna Metro Station.
We made calls to get a ride out of the cold, and proceeded to try to make calls to get our car towed. When some emergency like this happens, you need time to wrap your head around it. As soon as we got to the Vienna Metro and looked out of the bridge that was over-top of, and across the highway - we saw the highway patrol stopped behind our car. Within minutes our car was surrounded by the police and a tow truck quickly followed.
We had a note in the window saying, "Be right back with Tow Truck". This was ignored. Within 20-30 minutes our car was towed to Willow Springs impound. I know that the car engine was still warm which would have been an indication that the car had recently broken down. Devastated, I gave up immediately.
You see, my daughter and I were homeless for three years and this car was our home unfortunately during times of our homelessness. This car served as protection from the elements of the weather, and ensured that we were able to keep my daughter's school life normal. No matter where we slept, or where we showered, I would be able to get her to school.
There are memories with this car. And there is one more extremely important point. I have full coverage insurance on my car. This means that my car has a FREE TOW!
Today, as I write this petition my car costs $950 to get out of Willow Springs. Originally I was told that it would be a $240 tow and $65 per day. Now I am told that it was a $175 tow, $125 administrative fee, and $65 per day. This price is good until midnight tonight.
UPDATE: The price is over $1405 as of February 25th, 2013
They hold the car for sixty days and then if I don't come up with the money the car will be disposed of as they see fit after putting a lien on the car. In sixty days, this bill will be more than the car is worth. The car is not a hoopty by any means.
During the writing of my memoir, 'Identity Crisis' http://ressurrection.wordpress.com/identity-crisis-book-buy-on-amazon/
I wrote about being homeless. Of course, it was not in reflection but in the moment as I was homeless while completing the book. My mother helped me to keep the car. There's no shame in that. Many parents assist their children in getting ahead in life whether helping with a car note or other bill. The significance and the revelation from this experience was learning that she was doing this because she really loved me and not because we shared a responsibility.
My mother is praying. My daughter who the car is supposed to be passed down to if I ever make it as a writer is praying. My husband is praying who, just got a brand new job and needs to get to work. If you are remotely spiritual then maybe you will understand when I say that I feel that this is an attack.
God told me to write - so that is what I'm doing. I have made phone calls, spoken with Trooper Goode who, told me that he was able to take the car because it was "abandoned" despite me leaving a note, us being scared of being on the highway without any lights on, and the time it took to get to Vienna Metro (a safe place) to make calls and arrangements.
Willow Springs per Trooper Goode has a contract with the state. They placed a bid on the contract and won. So, he was open to calling Willow Springs for me and connected me with Franky (who is not the owner), who had no more to say than Trooper Goode. According to Willow Springs, they want their money - period. They are flip flopping me back and forth, both Willow Spring and the Virginia State Police, inflexible.
Here is the bottom line and why I am asking you to please read and sign my petition. If I were given more time, the conditions of the weather, situation and note on my car not ignored, I would have my car right now FOR FREE!!!
Did I mention that I get a free tow because I have full coverage insurance? I am three months away from no car note. I have a good car. My husband and I are just starting out together. Part of our testimony is that we met in a homeless shelter. He a homeless veteran, and I a single mom.
I am a professional speaker and published author. I am working on my next book to be released in April. In the meantime, I have obligations as a mother, wife, entrepreneur and H.E.A.L.E.R. to be independent and get around in my car. My next speaking engagement is February 21 - though unpaid, I am teaching a group of writers how to develop and catapult their blog space into irresistible content that attracts their target clients.
My husband and I help homeless people to overcome homelessness. We help them to navigate the system and to get the resources they need. In addition, as a child sexual abuse expert I help adults to overcome the affects of past abuse, and have created curriculum around both healing and prevention.
This is serious. My car is not a luxury, it is a necessity and I'm asking for you to please sign this petition so that I can take it to the police department, a politician who will listen or even show Willow Springs that we will not stand for this kind of treatment. A new policy should be developed in the bid from the police department that under certain criteria, the fee will be waived, or that the police department will be responsible for the bill, and not the owner of the car.
Yes, they have a job to do but there are always extenuating circumstances. In fact, since Willow Springs has a contract with the State Police, I'm sure that they can let my car go at no cost at all.
We have NO money, and by NO money I mean that in all sincerity. At this point, I think it is unfair to ask us to pay $1000 for a problem that would have cost us in total about $200. I have a mechanic and a free tow.
Also, I have about 150 copies of my memoir in the car trunk, and my husband had gotten a total gym from his dad earlier that day.
Call Willow Springs. Call them so much their phone will not stop ringing to tell them to let my car go. 703-631-9399. Don't harass or be mean, but let them know that you got this phone number from a petition on Change.org and that the exposure to my story will not stop until they call me at 202.717.7377 (RESS) to tell me to pick up my car at no cost to me.
There information is:
Willow Spring Towing and Recovery
14395 Penrose Place
Attention: Kenneth Cuccinelli, Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Fax: (804) 225-4378
Our telephone counselors are available to assist you with consumer questions, including where to file your complaint. You may call our Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 552-9963 if calling from Virginia, or (804) 786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area or from outside Virginia. Our business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Call your state representatives, or the state police department in Virginia. 703-803-0026 There is something that they can do, they can ask the owner of Willow Springs to let my car go because it was a mistake to take it in the first place.
If you have questions for me:
Please call 202-717-7377 (RESS) and before you call, please know that I have called and sent hardship letters to all responsible parties without any response than the initial comment from Trooper Goode from the state police, and Franky (and another employee) from Willow Springs that my car will need to be paid for without any discounts. I don't want a discount - I want my car back.
If you don't want to get involved in the petition at all, another way to solve this issue is if I can get booked (and paid) for a speaking engagement. My speaking fees are $2500 + and I am coming from the Washington DC area. This cost does not include travel and accommodations.
For more information on my writing and my work you can go to: http://www.ressurrection.wordpress.com
I already have a book campaign going (which could be doing better) so if you are inspired to support me in some way other than above, I welcome your support here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sexual-discipleship-the-strategic-plan-to-legalize-sex-with-children-book/x/1551087
If you want to see my car - you can find it in this old video of me when I owned my massage company and things were well. Thank you ---> http://youtu.be/4Eg-i5hdpO8