Commissioners postpone changing Montgomery County's tow rotation system following opposition

The current method of nonconsent towing has resulted in numerous tow trucks simultaneously responding to and congregating on incident scenes, which can cause safety issues, according to a proposed ordinance. (Courtesy Fotolia)
The current method of nonconsent towing has resulted in numerous tow trucks simultaneously responding to and congregating on incident scenes, which can cause safety issues, according to a proposed ordinance. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The current method of nonconsent towing has resulted in numerous tow trucks simultaneously responding to and congregating on incident scenes, which can cause safety issues, according to a proposed ordinance. (Courtesy Fotolia)

An ordinance that would have established a 15-minute rotation for tow truck companies failed to pass at a Nov. 19 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting, largely due to concerted opposition from tow company representatives.

The ordinance was to regulate nonconsent towing, or towing that occurs when a person leaves a vehicle unattended in an unauthorized parking area, through an incident management rotation list, effective in January. It would also restrict towed vehicles to be stored inside Montgomery County.

Commissioners said they will bring the item back to discussion Jan. 9.

The issue of how to best regulate tow trucks has been a source of contention since 2015, commissioners said. The current method of nonconsent towing has resulted in numerous tow trucks simultaneously responding to and congregating on incident scenes, which can cause safety issues, according to the ordinance.

The sheriff’s office would have the authority to administer and enforce these requirements. Sheriff Rand Henderson, who presented the ordinance, said his goal is to efficiently and effectively get wreckers to clear scenes, and this ordinance would be the best option for the county.


“I don’t want to hurt anyone’s business, but in order for us to move forward in our modernization of the sheriff’s office and methodologies that we use going forth, this is something that we need,” Henderson said.

However, more than a dozen tow truck representatives spoke in opposition, saying they did not feel included in the process, and the time slot of 15 minutes would be nearly impossible for them to make. They also expressed concern about being penalized for not making the time slots, as well as issues over the wording in the ordinance.

“We have officers that can’t respond to calls in 15 minutes. You expect a wrecker to make it there in 15 minutes?” Texas Towing & Recovery owner Russel Schoonover said. “I’m not going to put other people’s lives in jeopardy to make it to a call in 15 minutes.”

Charles Miller, a representative from Miller Towing & Recovery in Conroe, said he has issues with the wording of the ordinance, particularly with how it defines a light-duty, a medium-duty and a heavy-duty truck. He also said the ordinance will not solve the issue of tow truck congregation.

“Guys are still going to be racing to the scenes,” he said, “We still have the same problem.”

Others, such as Clinton Bass, a representative from Bass Towing & Recovery, said he believes the issue lies with the sheriff’s department, as wreckers often wait anywhere from 45-90 minutes on a scene until a deputy arrives, he said. He also said the county is too populated to be on a rotation schedule and suggested there should be a method to notify wreckers when there are enough tow trucks on scene.

“The problem is not the tow trucks. The problem is the Montgomery County sheriff’s department,” he said amidst applause from the tow truck representatives. “I hate to point that finger, but that’s the finger that needs to be pointed.”

Because this portion of the meeting was reserved for public comment, Henderson did not publicly respond to Bass’ statement.

Commissioners debated on how to proceed, with County Judge Mark Keough in favor of moving forward on the motion with the intent to modify it at a later date. Commissioners ultimately tabled the item and will bring it back to discussion Jan. 9 at 6 p.m., and they urged stakeholders to attend the meeting to weigh in.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Eva Vigh

Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


MOST RECENT

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, speaks to students at Covenant Christian School. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady and others celebrate Covenant Christian School's FEMA grant

The event saw representatives from the city of Conroe, Montgomery County, the Texas Legislature and more.

Sam Houston National Forest is home to various flora and fauna, including the endagered red-cockaded woodpecker. (Courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service)
National Forests and Grasslands to waive entrance fees for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Although camping fees will be in effect, the fees will be waived at the several parks.

Conroe Art League draws national attention ahead of March gallery

The gallery will run March 5-28 with a meet-and-greet reception March 7 at 5-8 p.m. where the jurors will announce the prize winners.

The deadline to pay property taxes in Montgomery County is Jan. 31. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County Tax Office to extend hours for property tax deadline

The deadline to pay property taxes in Montgomery County is Jan. 31.

(Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert tickets go on sale Jan. 16

Lower-level seating options are already very limited.

God's Garage repairs and gifts cars to single mothers, widows and wives of deployed military. (Courtesy God's Garage)
Local nonprofit God's Garage relocates in Conroe

The nonprofit repairs cars for single mothers, widows and wives of deployed military for free, in addition to giving away donated cars.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

HGA driver Derek King picks up a patient from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Spring before transporting her to the Texas Medical Center. (Courtesy Derek King)
Houston Ground Angels seeking volunteers to drive patients to Texas Medical Center

Houston Ground Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides transportation between local airports and the Texas Medical Center for patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases and illnesses.

Council Member Tom Cronin abstained from voting on new members of the Montgomery Economic Development Corp. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery City Council appoints new Planning and Zoning Commission, Economic Development Corp. members

Montgomery City Council appointed several familiar faces as well as newcomers to boards that serve the city, despite some confusion among council members.

A San Jacinto River Authority-operated dam at Lake Conroe controls water releases. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County commissioners join Conroe in opposing annual lowering of Lake Conroe


Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved a resolution 3-2 at its Jan. 14 meeting opposing the annual lowering of the level of Lake Conroe.

Montgomery County Commissioners Court met Jan. 14. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Montgomery County plans to buy building for traffic operations center

Montgomery County commissioners approved the $1.3 million purchase of a building for a building to house the county’s traffic operations department at its Jan. 14 meeting.

glamour avenue parties spring houston
Spring-based Glamour Avenue Parties reaches 10-year milestone

The business offers a mobile spa and beauty-themed parties for girls ages 6-14.

Back to top