Dear Governor Crist,
Warm summer greetings from Orlando’s city beautiful.
First I want to thank you for your outstanding and heartfelt service to our State and its people.
As you know Senator Victor D. Crist has been tirelessly working for years to reform legislation and toughen tower regulations before local law enforcement discard Florida citizens’ automobiles to unscrupulous towers.
I urge you to give the utmost attention to this matter considering the safety and personal property of the people of Florida are at stake.
Please allow me to document a dreadful incident I experienced after I was hit by a repeat offending drunk driver in Volusia County at 4:40pm on July 8, 2008. Following a near deadly accident in which I was hit repeatedly by an out of control drunk driver who never thought to apply her brakes until she hit me and thereafter drove off the highway to hit another car parked at a restaurant, my car ended up in the restaurant drive way.
Deland Police Officer Quinn did an excellent job attending to the accident and filing the crash report 09675822. Another officer working for Deland’s law enforcement however was very pushy and impatient with me when informing me that my car would have to be towed by reason of State law, which I was told required all vehicles be removed within 30 minutes.
I had every intention of removing the vehicle and bringing it back to my home in Orlando, but first needed to attend a brief interview for a Masters degree program in Mental Health Counseling at Stetson University two blocks down the road. Nevertheless the unknown officer was so overbearing I had no choice, but to comply after which the police assigned tow truck “Johnny’s Auto Body” arrived to remove my car.
When I phoned Johnny’s Auto Body (230 S Industrial Dr. Orange City, FL 32763) on the morning of July 9th to inquire as to the itemized charges, they were very unprofessional and rude to me. When I arrived at 9:00am on July 11th to pick up my car from the storage yard, the following series of events transpired.
My car was kept at Johnny’s Auto Shop for 3 days, but they charged me for 4 days. Johnny’s receptionist and owner refused to show me an itemization of charges and demanded I pay in cash beforehand.
Hence I could not see what I was paying for and was made to pay for highly questionable charges and fees that I knew nothing about before I could see an itemized invoice. When I looked at my car before the AAA tow truck arrived, Johnny’s refused to allow me to take any of my personal items (like breath mints) out of my car.
As our relations immediately reached an impasse, the secretary and owner barking out orders behind the desk refused to give me their names when I asked. Beyond lacking professionalism, they were quite rude and condescending.
I felt like I was being treated like a criminal just released from jail on bond, but I was nothing of the sort as I had been hit by a drunk driver and just wanted to retrieve my car.
After paying $331.52, Johnny refused to allow me and my mechanic next door into Johnny’s storage yard (which is marked “not responsible for vehicles or contents”). Johnny wanted $55 to move my car 20 yards on to the street so my mechanic could make a free estimate for repairs. Johnny himself offered me an estimate for $25 for repairs, which I refused. Furthermore, Johnny’s refused to allow me to park my rental car in his massive empty parking lot, neither did the company allow me to wait in their lush AC showroom while AAA took 2 hours to come.
So after enduring being hit by a drunk driver and sustaining back and neck injuries, I had to wait outdoors in the hot sun to retrieve my vehicle from a tow company I in advance paid in full and was afterward treated by the company like a criminal.
Johnny’s has big jugs of water from Crystal Springs but wouldn’t give me a cup to have a drink when I was thirsty. Johnny’s wanted to charge me $25 to use his bathroom.
When I finally received a somewhat itemized invoice for charges amounting to $331.52, the invoice was not legible as the ink was extremely faded. I kindly asked for another darker and more legible copy, but was told by the secretary that they were out of ink. I than asked for a copy to be mailed me once they purchased ink for their printer. Johnny immediately offered to mail me a legible copy for a fee of $25.
Upon walking around a bit and talking to Johnny’s neighbors, I also discovered Johnny is disliked by some businessmen on his street. Auto Work next door told me, “Johnny’s Auto Body is unprofessional in their approach. He treats people unfair and his neighboring businesses.”
Auto Works are some very nice guys next to Johnny’s Auto Shop. Auto Works told me that Johnny called the police on a woman who’s battery died in front of his shop to have her arrested and her car removed.
Upon examining State records, I noticed numerous citations against Johnny’s and owner John Brucato which are cause for safety concerns. This being said, as a matter of public safety I must ask:
1. What professional standards does the Statewide Traffic Incident Management Team adhere to when adding towers and tow truck companies to law enforcement’s roster to render services to the general public?
2. Does the State of Florida not regulate towing companies responding to law enforcement requests for service? And if not, should not local law enforcement and the State of Florida be jointly liable for referring such faulty and fraudulent companies to the general public?
3. Is not the quality of towers being given business in response to law enforcement needs a matter of legitimate concern to the State of Florida? And if not, are not transportation systems across the State being grossly jeopardized?
4. Are there no proper site management practices to which towers should be made to adhere when working on behalf of law enforcement across the State of Florida?
5. To what extent is the State of Florida and its respective countries properly training towers and tow truck responders?
6. Is not the State of Florida, its counties, and cities liable for the negative impact of improper tow procedures if it willfully neglects the above mentioned?
7. Should there not be some mutually agreed and acceptable safety and business practices for all towers responding to calls from law enforcement?
8. What procedures are currently being discussed and implemented to reduce the number of emergency vehicle crashes across the State of Florida?
9. When a tower has a record of traffic violations should he be licensed and referred business from law enforcement in the State of Florida? Should this industry be no less regulated than the Department of Education that will not hire a teacher with a criminal record?
10. When more deaths and injuries occur on our highways daily than anywhere else, what can be said for a State that carelessly neglects to attend to these matters?
11. Is the State of Florida currently complying with the Federal Highway Administration guidelines? To what extent are towers and tow companies being made to comply with National ITS Standards?
12. How is towing dispatched by law enforcement regulated and contracted for across the State of Florida? What minimal qualifications are required of towers before law enforcement dispatches business to these towing companies?
13. How committed are you to establish a team that meets on a regular basis to evaluate and improve coordinated incident responses to law enforcement and to address these above mentioned problems?
14. Are towers in the State of Florida required to be certified under the Towing and Recovery Association of America’s National Driver Certification Program?
Governor Crist, I respectfully urge you to strategically plan and quickly attend to the matter of towers conspiring to defraud the general public and breaching their fiduciary duty to law enforcement and Florida’s citizens.
Such safety violations and unfair business practices as mentioned above will no longer be tolerated by the people of Florida.
Sincerely concerned and wholeheartedly committed,
Paul F Davis
PO Box 684
Goldenrod, FL 32733
Paul F. Davis is a world-changing minister who has touched over 50 countries, more than 50 islands, and 6 continents building bridges cross-culturally and empowering people throughout the earth to live their dreams!
Paul is the author of 14 books. Paul has appeared on numerous internationally broadcast radio shows from Oprah & Friends to Fox News Radio to talk about conflict resolution, peacemaking, foreign policy, and diplomacy. Playboy Radio’s Afternoon Advice host Tiffany Granath calls Paul an “awesome” relational coach and recommends his books on love, dating, and sexuality.
Academically outstanding Davis was trained in transformative mediation & conflict resolution (Hofstra Law School); strategic negotiations (Harvard Business School & U. of Washington); advanced interrogation (Reid & Associates founders of the polygraph); and NLP & Life Coaching (NLP & Coaching Institute of California).
Paul humorously and elegantly transforms individuals and organizations.
Paul’s organization Dream-Maker Inc. builds dreams, transcends limitations, & reconciles nations.
Paul worked at Ground Zero in NYC during 9/11; helped rebuild a home at the tsunami epicenter; comforted victims of genocide in Rwanda; spoke to leaders in East Timor during the war; inspired students & monks in Myanmar; promoted peace & reconciliation in Pakistan; and has been so deep into the bush of rural Africa where villagers had never before seen a white man.
Paul empowers people to love passionately and live fearlessly.