Legally handicapped tenants question towing company’s right to tow them from parking spots

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 4:55 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Anger and frustration tonight over cars being towed from handicap spots in an Omaha apartment complex. The vehicle owners are not only tenants, but they have state-issued handicap placards.

So why were they towed?

If the cane isn’t enough to show Maggie Graham needs a handicap spot outside her apartment, she has a blue sticker to prove it.

But over the weekend the same company towed her car again.

“Maybe I’m asking too much of this world to be fair and to be kind, but he had towed my car once before, he knew I was legal,” said Graham.

This the second time in two weeks Maggie went with a relative to a private lot asking a driver on duty why the car got towed.

The lot claims they didn’t see the sticker.

The relative can see the placard in the passenger seat.

“The apartment complex knew she was legit, they knew she was legit, you can look I just took a picture of it before we walked up to the car, you can look in and see it,” said a relative of Graham’s.

Another tenant from the same woodland pines complex had her vehicle towed from a handicap spot.

Yasmine Tucker said, “Mine was not displayed I will own that, but I told him I have a handicap card to prove it, to prove I am the owner of that handicap sticker for my blind son. And he said it doesn’t matter you have to pay me the $202 anyway.”

Maggie says her placard has been torn by the mirror, so she doesn’t hang it.

Both tenants say an expensive tow should depend on whether their placards are easily visible or not. They say the tow truck drivers should have a list of license plates to verify they can legally park in these spots.

Heartland and Tow Pro’s owner Joe Livingston declined a recorded interview but says, “If you can’t put your handicap placard up it’s not my fault. Your handicap placard has to be visible at all times like it says in the law. We took pictures.”

“Two weeks ago, they towed my car the very same car I’m sitting in right now, they towed it and they should have known from two weeks ago that I was legal,” said Graham.

The total of two tow-aways in two weeks with storage costs $479. On a fixed income, Maggie says she borrowed from relatives to get her car back.

“No more towing, it will stay taped to my dashboard,” said Graham.

The vehicle owner filed a police report and a complaint with the city prosecutor to investigate if tow laws were followed.

The tow company owner hung up before we could ask him that question.

The property manager for Woodland Pines says Heartland Recovery does have permission to come into the parking lot and tow from handicap spots if there’s no handicapped sticker.

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