An Arlington father says his car -- and two children -- were nearly towed away during a recent trip to a local CVS, but the company that hooked his vehicle says their driver didn't see the children initially.
Max Daout said his 7-year-old son was suffering from a bad cold Friday. Daout went into the CVS on Columbia Pike to speak to the pharmacist and get medicine. Outside in the car, his 17-year-old stepdaughter Triysi kept her little brother occupied until both felt a jolt.
"The car started to lift up," young Max said, raising his hands skyward. "I was like scared. I looked out the back and then saw the tow driver and then I opened the door a little bit and said, 'Wait, wait wait.'"
An Advanced Towing driver had hooked their car. Max's shouts stopped him cold.
"When I started crying he said, 'I'm sorry for freaking you out,'" said Max.
The tow truck was driving off as Daout walked out of the CVS and found his son crying in the car.
"I was ticked off. I was very upset. I got right on the phone to the tow company," said Daout. "I would like them to be held accountable for the predatory practices that they are implementing by towing cars that are there legally parked."
Advanced Towing's owner promised to follow up, but he hasn't heard back, Daout said.
It's the second complaint against Advanced Towing that News4 has reported in recent months. In December, a woman's car was towed to the impound lot with her dog still inside.
Advanced Towing's owner sent News4 a statement about the latest incident. John O'Neill claims the car was illegally parked because its owner walked off site before returning to the CVS. He wrote in an email: "The vehicle had tinted windows, however, before removing the vehicle from its parking space, occupants were noticed and the vehicle was never moved from its space."
O'Neill also sent a link to a story about a Delaware daycare provider who was charged when she left a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old alone in a car that was towed.
About 20,000 vehicles are towed each year from private parking lots, Arlington County officials said. Police receive 50 to 75 complaints a year and investigate each. About 10 of those were found to be cases of improper towing.