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Another commercial vehicle tow leads to another questionable call to police

Last week we reported on a call to police made after an Amazon delivery van was towed. This week, another commercial vehicle tow led to another police response.

Advanced Towing — the Ballston-based trespass tow company with a reputation for being prolific or predatory, depending on your perspective — is at the center of both.

This time around, police were dispatched to the tow lot on 5th Road N. for a report of an alarming incident: a Dominion power crew supposedly had a vehicle towed during emergency repair work. A short time later, several police units could be seen at the lot, talking with the crew.

Arlington’s towing ordinance specifies that public safety vehicles and vehicles responding to an emergency are not to be towed, even if parked on private property.

But is seems that the reality did not quite match the initial report. First, it was a utility contractor’s pickup truck that was towed, not a Dominion-owned vehicle, as seen in the photos above. On top of that, police said the incident was soon cleared by responding officers.

“At approximately 12:35 p.m., police were dispatched to the 4000 block of 5th Road N. for the report of a dispute,” said Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined the dispute was related to a vehicle tow from private property. The incident was determined to be non-criminal and the scene was cleared by responding officers.”

Advanced Towing asserted in a brief statement that the vehicle that was towed was parked on private property for non-emergency work across the street.

“This was a construction crew, and not an emergency crew, with several vehicles parked illegally on private property, while doing work across the street,” the company told ARLnow. “They were not working on the property they parked at. Contractors cannot violate someone’s private property rights, especially to do work and a completely different property.”

The exact details could not be independently confirmed and it’s unclear from which property the vehicle was towed, but the circumstances are not unlike last week’s Amazon tow. Initially, police were told that the van had been stolen, but they later determined that it had been towed from private property; Advanced said the van was parked in a fire lane.

And these were not the only commercial tows to catch the attention of locals over the past week or so. On Twitter yesterday, a user noted a locksmith’s van being towed near the Pentagon City mall.

Police are frequently called to the Advanced lot, but not just for commercial vehicle tows.

Advanced’s poor reputation mostly comes from its towing of private vehicles. The speed with which such tows occur have, along with other factors, at times enraged vehicle owners to the point that police are called for reports of heated disputes at the lot.

In 2020, a rideshare driver become so irate that he struck Advanced owner John O’Neill with his car, injuring O’Neill and also reportedly striking another vehicle before running into a utility pole. That driver pleaded guilty to reckless driving and a felony hit and run last August.

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