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Tow truck company suspended from call list for towing without insurance

A Killeen towing company was suspended from the Killeen Police Department Towing Service List for 180 days per a decision from the Killeen City Council at a special workshop meeting Monday night.

The new suspension period was a reduced sentence from the permanent suspension imposed by Killeen Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble.

The suspension was a result of CJ’s Towing operating without the required insurance for a little more than one month, according to Assistant City Attorney Jerris Mapes.

“In July of 2018, the business received a permanent suspension (from the list) for towing with lapsed insurance,” Mapes said. “CJ’s has not denied the insurance violation.”

According to paperwork Mapes provided to the council, 11 tows assigned by the KDP Tow List were performed during the period of June 23 to July 30, 2018, the time frame that the company was reportedly without the proper insurance.

Also, multiple tows were apparently performed that were not issued by KPD.

Current and past owners of CJ’s Towing and several employees were at the workshop to protest the permanent suspension imposed by KPD.

“Forty percent of the business’s revenue comes from the contract (that places the business on the KPD Towing Service List),” owner Antonio Durand said. “I am a new business owner, and I learn from my mistakes. This won’t happen again.” Durand purchased the business from the previous owner, Tim Jones, in May 2017.

Councilman Jim Kilpatrick proposed lessening the sentence to a 180-day period, beginning Monday. Councilman Juan Rivera seconded the motion, saying “I can go with a 180-day suspension, with the condition that we completely follow up with the company to ensure that they are in compliance.”

When Mayor Jose Segarra called for a vote, council members Kilpatrick, Rivera and Shirley Fleming voted in favor of the reduced suspension.

Members Debbie Nash-King and Butch Menking voted against. Councilman Gregory Johnson was not in attendance Monday night, and Councilman Steve Harris arrived late to the meeting, so he abstained from voting.

“They had 24 incidents where an accident could have occurred while they did not have insurance,” Nash-King said to explain she voted against lessening the suspension. “What is the purpose of having the ordinance if we don’t hold individuals accountable for breaking it?”

Currently, KPD has 16 companies on the Towing Service List, which officers rotate through when calling tow trucks to accidents and crime scenes. CJ’s Towing’s suspension means there are 15 active companies on the list.

Article Courtesy of Killeen Daily Herald

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