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Why did WPD call an out-of-town towing company when my daughter had an accident?

Q. My daughter had an accident and the police had a tow truck from across the river come tow the car. This place was several miles up U.S. 421 and it costs us more than $400 to retrieve the license plates as the car was totaled. Why would WPD call a service from that far away especially when they charged partly for the distance they towed the car?

A.  According to Lucy Crockett, the Wilmington Police Department’s public affairs officer, when a car needs to be towed following an accident, the police officer is solely responsible for calling 911, not the towing company. The officer is put in contact with the New Hanover County Dispatch Center.

The county has a list of more than 30 towing companies that are located in and within a one-mile radius of Wilmington. This includes companies across the river. The county has come up with a system so every company receives an equal amount of calls. A rotation list was created, listing all of the companies in alphabetical order. Whichever one is next on the list will be the next one called for the job.

The cost for retrieving the license plate is most likely due to the amount of time it was left on the towing company’s premises. Crockett said that a typical towing charge is approximately $200. However, it is common for companies to charge an overnight fee if the customer does not pick up the car or license plate the day of the accident. Also, complications during the towing may lead to additional charges.


If a vehicle is towed in New Hanover County for illegal parking, does the tow truck driver have to notify the police?

Can tow truck companies charge anything they want to get your car back?

User-contributed question by:
Linda Vitek

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