Carmel considering ordinance to limit how much tow companies can charge

CARMEL, Ind. – The City of Carmel is looking into possibly creating an ordinance to limit how much towing companies can charge when called out to clean up a car accident scene.

Officials started considering the measure after a man expressed frustration when he was charged thousands of dollars following a fatal crash, where he was not at fault.

Hooman Rahimi vividly remembers the night in June when he was driving along US 31, near the 146th St. overpass, and noticed a wrong-way driver coming right at him.

“All of a sudden I see headlights coming,” Rahimi said.

The two collided and the other driver died at the scene.

For Rahimi, the emotions from the incident are still fresh. But, he said the stress the came next was from the towing company called in to clear the crash scene.

“Had I known what they were going to charge me, I would’ve not allowed it to happen,” Rahimi said.

According to him, he got an invoice from Paddack’s Wrecker and Towing Company charging him thousands of dollars for towing his truck and trailer.

“I was like ‘are you kidding? Is this real?'” Rahimi said.

He tells CBS4 the towing company eventually brought the total amount owed down to $2500. He said he felt compelled to pay that in order to get back his pick up truck and trailer, which had his beloved race car inside.

“The adjusters didn’t think it should cost that much, the police didn’t think it should cost that much,” Rahimi said. “They’re allowed to do whatever they want, charges as much as they want.”

The owner of the towing company, Jeff Ripley, sent CBS4 a statement, saying in part:

“Paddack’s has standard operating procedures that apply to every accident/impound that we come in contact with… Mr Rhamini’s [sic] loss in this unfortunate chain of events is completely reimbursable.”

Ripley also said the service provided to Rahimi involved more than just a tow and involved large scale clean-up of the scene.

But, Rahimi said there are limits to the insurance and it will not cover all the damage and expenses associated with the crash.

Rahimi took his concerns to the City of Carmel, which then started looking into the practices of towing companies in the area.

“Carmel is looking into the possibility of creating an ordinance that would regulate the rate allowed for towing for companies that work with Carmel Police Department when they request a tow,” said Nancy Heck, director of community relations for Carmel via email. “This is usually, but not exclusively, for towing as the result of an accident where it is important to clear the roadway as soon as possible.”

Other cities already have such ordinances in place.

Rahimi said he’s glad the city is taking action to regulate the towing companies’ prices.

Ripley maintains his company did nothing wrong.

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