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Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Driver's unusual sit in after towing protest

The driver sat in his car after it was hooked to the truck. Photo / Supplied
The driver sat in his car after it was hooked to the truck. Photo / Supplied

First it was car clampers earning the wrath of irate drivers; now a tow truck driver has fallen foul of an unusual sit-in.

A stubborn driver sat in his car for more than an hour this week while he was hooked up to a tow truck in Auckland during a tense standoff.

The incident happened at the Penrose Business Plaza on Thursday morning after the man refused to pay a fine to have his car released when he had, according to the towing company, parked in the wrong place.

Witnesses said the Asian driver got back in the car and refused to budge after being advised by passers-by that he couldn't be legally towed if he was still behind the wheel.

"The driver appeared to have a bit of a problem speaking English and the towie was rude to him and unhelpful," one woman, who works nearby, said.

"When the towie hooked the car up at first, the man wasn't in it but he climbed back in and just sat for ages after he was informed of his rights.

"The towie also got back in his vehicle and neither would back down or seemed to be willing to make the next move.

"They eventually came to some kind of agreement and the man then shifted his car a few metres into a space he was legally allowed to park in."

Antony Ashford, boss of the Grey Lynn-based Auckland Towing Co, insisted the driver had originally agreed to pay the $60 charge but changed his mind after people told him to get back in the vehicle and do nothing.

"My worker had come to an agreement with the man that he could pay $60 to have his car released, or it would be towed away and would cost him $250 to get it back," Ashford said.

"When my employee went to get his receipt book from his cab, the man jumped back into his car while it was on the back of the tow truck and refused to move for about an hour.

"My driver assured me he wasn't rude to anyone and the gentleman had no problem in understanding what he was saying. My towie sat there until the guy agreed to pay up."

He paid the $60.

Ashford admitted the driver had claimed the towie broke into his car to hook it to the truck.

"My employee never broke into the man's car and the crazy thing is, if the guy had parked in a nearby empty space he would have been fine."

The incident comes after a clamped motorist won a Disputes Tribunal case for $550.

- Herald on Sunday

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