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Police Arrest Man For Injuring Tow Lot Employee (VA)


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Police charged a Fairfax man with malicious wounding after he struck an employee at a tow lot with his car as tried to leave without paying.


ARLINGTON, VA -- Arlington County Police arrested a Fairfax man Monday afternoon and charged him with malicious wounding and destruction of property after he allegedly stole back his vehicle from a tow lot in the Ballston area, according a the daily crime report.


An officer was dispatched Jan. 13, at about 3:11 p.m., to the 4000 block of 5th Road N. to the report of a crash with injuries. Arriving on the scene, the officer discovered the suspect had tried to leave a tow lot without paying as an employee was closing the gate. Accelerating his vehicle, the suspect struck the employee and then hit a dumpster and power line pole before leaving the scene. The employee suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to an area hospital.


The officer took the suspect into custody after locating him at 5th Road N. and N. Randolph Street.


ACPD charged Gigssa Bekele Bengessa, 27, of Fairfax, with Malicious Wounding, Destruction of Property and Defrauding a Garagekeeper. He is being held without bond.




Uber Driver Arrested After Pedestrian Struck at Advanced Towing Lot


The driver of a car with Uber branding is in police custody after an incident at the Advanced Towing lot in Ballston.


Witnesses tell ARLnow that around 3 p.m. a man was trying to prevent the Uber vehicle from leaving the tow lot at 4000 5th Road N. when the driver gunned it, striking the man, another vehicle and a utility pole.


When a reporter arrived on scene, the alleged driver was being taken into custody by police a short distance away from the lot. The striking vehicle — a silver Kia with a cross on the hood — could be seen parked on 5th Road N. with a damaged front bumper and the passenger side of its front windshield shattered.


According to scanner traffic, the victim was bleeding from the face after being struck and was being transported to Virginia Hospital Center via ambulance. His injuries were described as non-life-threatening.


A towing company employee told ARLnow that the victim was Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill.

“All this over 135 bucks,” the employee said.


Police said Monday evening that a Fairfax man had been arrested and is facing multiple charges.

“At approximately 3:11 p.m. on January 13, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries in the 4000 block of 5th Road N.,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect attempted to exit a tow lot as the employee was closing the gate. The suspect allegedly accelerated, struck the employee, a dumpster and light pole before fleeing the scene.”


“An officer located the suspect and took him into custody without incident,” Savage continued. “The employee was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Gigssa Bekele Bengessa, 27, of Fairfax, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Destruction of Property and Defrauding a Garage Keeper. He was held on no bond. ”


Advanced Towing gained national notoriety in 2015 after video emerged of an ESPN reporter, whose car was towed, berating an Advanced employee. The company, which tows cars that are considered to be trespassing on private lots and then charges the vehicle’s owner a fee, faces frequent accusations of “predatory” towing.



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There are plenty of these incidents where tow employees are injured or killed when vehicle owners enter tow yards and try to liberate their vehicles. I'm glad to see that vehicle owners are being charged with laws specific to, "Defrauding" and "Criminal Tresspass". I believe that allowing vehicle owners into the tow yard to get their registration or certain personal items from their vehicle only increases the risk of injury or death. Unfortunately, tow companies have to follow their state's laws when it comes to releasing property or releasing vehicles to the registered owner or agent. However, in knowing that, there's not one single car in any tow yard worth being run over and killed for. If someone has the intent of, "running the gate", I tell my employees to simply step-aside and let them go to avoid being hit. If there's a gate runner and it wasn't due to the gate being left open by my personnel, an immediate call to 911 usually gets the ball rolling where the vehicle's owner can be arrested and prosecuted at a later date.      R.

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Randall C. Resch

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