DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Strangers tried to intervene Thursday when a tow truck in Dallas tried to pull away a woman’s car with her still sitting inside.
“I don’t know this lady at all,” said Raymond Sasser, who recorded the confrontation. His cell phone video shows a man in red clothes blocking the car’s path, as people yell for the woman to drive away. Seconds later, the tow truck begins lifting the back of the car with the woman still in the driver’s seat.
“It’s legalized carjacking,” Sasser said, “because they can just take your car while you’re in it.”
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees towing services, said that this is not legal at all. “If your car is not hitched up, if it’s not ready for transport, they have to release it to the car owner. I mean, the car owner can drive away with it,” clarified TDLR spokeswoman Susan Stanford.
Longhorn Towing’s owner said that the woman’s car was hitched before the owner arrived. He claimed that Sasser’s video only shows the car briefly released as the tow truck maneuvers around another angry witness who was trying to block it in with his truck.
But another video, from a nearby liquor store’s surveillance camera, shows the tow truck as it first arrives and approaches the woman’s car. She can be seen then walking into view. The man wearing red can also be seen standing by her driver’s side door, blocking her from getting in.
“She wasn’t there before the tow truck, but she was there before it was hitched,” said Sasser.
The woman did eventually jump into her car, but was not able to drive away. Longhorn Towing confirmed that it did tow the woman’s car, but returned it later that same day.