MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Memphis tow truck driver shot on the job Wednesday night is now paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors say he may never walk again. The city's tow truck industry is outraged and blaming the incident on a new towing law.
The Memphis city council amended the towing and wrecker ordinance in November 2011. Tow truck drivers must now call MPD to notify them before they tow a vehicle and that can take up to 30 minutes or longer. Drivers tell ABC24 News police are telling them not they cannot tow any vehicles without their approval. City council on the other hand, says approval is not needed. Tow truck drivers find themselves caught in the middle.
"We had 3 shootings within 24 hours and now the third time the bullet got him,” said Larri Roland, owner of 901 Towing and Recovery.
Roland is talking about his employee and friend Scotty Arnold. Arnold has been working for the company for about a year.
"He’s like a brother,” said Roland. “This is like a family thing right here. 901 we're a family."
According to police, around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, Roland's crew was repossessing a Ford truck at the Tulane Apartments. It wasn't the owner of the truck who fired shots at the tow truck, it came from a Cadillac.
"The vehicle (Cadillac) that was shooting, we repossessed that vehicle twice already,” stated Roland. “They were trying to finish the job as we say, trying to shot Scottie but they ran out of bullets."
Roland says after that the shooter and another man ran out of the Cadillac but two of his employees chased them on foot and pepper sprayed them. That's when police arrived and arrested the suspects, David and Joseph Proffitt. They’re charged with Aggravated Assault.
Memphis City Ordinance states tow truck drivers must report the vehicle to MPD before actually towing it. The reasoning behind it is so police know your car wasn't stolen.
"What's happening oftentimes police and the city are requiring the tow truck drivers to sit there for 5 to 30 minutes sometimes and that's what's causing great concern in the industry because they feel like at times that's endangering their drivers,” said David Upton, an advocate for tow truck companies in Memphis.
Employees from 901 Towing and Recovery say they will be at the next city council meeting to talk about cleaning up the wording of the ordinance.