Sure, the main anti-towing activist in Texas is facing child sexual assault charges, but that doesn't mean towing companies in Dallas are angels. Of all of the towing companies covered here, the Observer's personal favorite is Longhorn Wrecker, headed by a foul-mouthed man named Patrick. Several years ago, a resident at an apartment complex where residents' cars were regularly taken away by Longhorn Wrecker decided to fight his tow in court. The night before the tow hearing, Chris Stoffers told police, Patrick called him and threatened to tow his car again. (Stoffers went to court anyway and beat Longhorn in the case).
Then, last year, we reported that Longhorn was fined $88,900 by the state for a long list of alleged towing violations. "This is bullshit, these are my first offenses. I'm not going to even get fined or suspended or nothing. It's going to end up being nothing. It's my first fine, it's all bullshit," was the official statement given to us at the time by Longhorn's Patrick.
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Finally, just last month, Longhorn towed a car belonging to none other than a Dallas attorney, bringing the towing laws of karmic justice full circle. Karen McRae, an attorney in Dallas who practices family law, was visiting her son at his apartment complex, Annex Manor, and had parked in the lot with a visitor's sticker, she says. Longhorn towed her car, she says, on the basis that the visitor's sticker had faded too much to clearly see. On July 31, Dallas Justice of the Peace Juan Jasso heard the case and sided with McRae: Longhorn now owes her $164 to cover the tow, and then — wait for the kicker — an extra $500 for attorney's fees, bringing the grand total to $664. At the Longhorn office, a secretary said that Patrick won't be back until Tuesday.