Advantage Towing ruled against in Mission Valley accident case

Homeless man gets $2500 for lost car he was living in

Mr. T.’s car found in Chula Vista — with some of his possessions still in it
  • Mr. T.’s car found in Chula Vista — with some of his possessions still in it

On March 21, at the small claims court at 330 W. Broadway, there were about 22 cases on the roster, but Mr. T., a homeless, thin 80-year-old, was number six on the list. He appeared to be the only transient there. He came with two supporters or witnesses and took the seat on the plaintiff's side when his name was called. Commissioner Peter Doft presided as judge that day.

Mr. T. — told to “get on with his life”

Mr. T. — told to “get on with his life”

On November 21, 2015, Mr. T. was involved in an accident in Mission Valley that left his green 1996 Honda crashed and undrivable. Mr. T. was not able to view the damage because he was transported to the emergency room via ambulance for his injuries. These injuries turned out to be facial cuts, rib contusions, and banged-up legs; Mr. T. ended up in a rehab center for another month before he was able to walk steadily. Mr. T. had been living in that car and kept all of his possessions in it. The other car that was involved in the accident, a Jeep, was occupied by a young couple who said they witnessed Mr. T.'s car being towed away from the accident by Advantage Towing as their Jeep was towed by the same company.

The SDPD did not make a police report on the accident because they said they did not think anyone was injured. When the police called Advantage Towing to inquire about Mr. T.'s car, Advantage Towing said they did not have it. The police called them because witnesses claim they saw Advantage Towing take the car. Mr. T., his friends, and the police called Advantage Towing for six months. The car search was turned over to the SDPD stolen car unit halfway through the ordeal.

Finally, after Mr. T. called Detective Andrew Spears around June 2, 2016, Detective Spears reported that Mr. T.'s car was sold to a parts store in Chula Vista. His belongings were gone, and "go on with your life" was Detective Spears' advice.

Mr. T. asked two of his friends to help him file a small claims case against the San Diego police and Advantage Towing.

On March 21, the City of San Diego representative (a middle-age woman) and manager of Advantage Towing (a tall, young man) were there. Neither of these brought any witnesses. Mr. T. spoke first in a loud voice saying that "he was homeless and they took his car and the police told him to get on with his life." The judge asked him his age. Mr. T. had the police report that said Advantage Towing said they did not have the car when the police called them. Mr. T. called them, and the police called them month after month. The judge said that something was not right when no detailed accident report was written. When the judge asked Advantage Towing to give him his belongings, there was silence. The judge awarded $2500 to Mr. T. plus court costs.

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Good luck to him; he will need it if he ever wants to collect from a towing company. As far as he had fallen, trying to deal with the towing "industry" is just going to be worse.

The cops won't do a formal accident report unless someone is injured and "transported." Well, he was both injured and transported, but the cops didn't "think" anyone was injured. San Diegans, this is your police department in action. They screw up every day, and there's little or no accountability.

Mayor Kev-boy has many things to deal with, and this dysfunctional PD is right near the top of the list. Will he act? LOL

It is routine for understaffed police departments to "blow off" calls.

I find some of the SD officers have an aversion to writing accident reports. I was rear ended at a stop light on Broadway in the downtown. There were police nearby. One officer said just "move on" if your cars are drivable. I was shocked and asked his to write a report. He said that was not done in SD. I was upset at his response. Fortunately there was another officer near by and asked if I was injured. My lip was swelling since it hit the steering wheel and said yes. That officer told the initial office that a report must be written. I was uncovered that the driver had no license, unregister vehicle not belonging to him and no insurance! was told the report would be available in a few days and given a phone number to call to receive a copy. I did and no report was found. My insurance company had no luck in getting a copy and no information given about the other driver. It went on a year of my insurance company attempting to get the report to no avail.

I applaud Mr. T's fortitude especially at his age and physical condition! It is a shame on the SD police department to have handled this accident so poorly. I believe training of officers is necessary to live up to the motto "to protect and serve."

— Honora Borso, Mission Valley

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