Patterico's Pontifications

2/28/2011

Nightmare: Tow Truck Driver Dragged to his Death

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:24 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: See below for a major update on the story.

In Colorado Springs, a tow truck driver named Alan Rose was trying to tow an SUV when something went horribly wrong:

Hundreds of people gathered together Thursday night to remember a man who was dragged to his death in Colorado Springs.

35-year-old Allen Rose was trying to tow an SUV from the Hill Park Apartments Wednesday when a woman jumped inside the car and drove off.

Rose’s leg got tangled up in a cable that broke away from his the tow truck as the SUV drove away.

The woman drove for more than a mile with Rose dragging behind her vehicle before he became disentangled….

“This man, he served in Iraq twice for us. This man was a good citizen. This is not right,” says Shelton.

Police have spoken with the woman who dragged Rose, but they have not yet arrested her.

People at the vigil said she is a juvenile.

A memorial fund has been set up for Rose’s wife and two children at any Key Bank.

This recalls the dragging murder of James Byrd, although obviously there are two significant differences.  First, so far there is no suggestion of a racial issue, here, while it was exceedingly obvious that Bryd was killed because he was black.  Second, it’s not 100% clear it was intentional.  In the video one man says the person was screaming, but I am not sure that was anything but speculation.  A stupid, clueless teenager, with the music turned way up…  is it possible to do this entirely by accident?  It’s possible, but I am not sure how plausible that is.

But it seems that if at any point she was aware she was dragging him, it would have to be first degree murder.  Initially catching the man’s leg as she drove was almost certainly an accident, but if she became aware he was back there at any point, then from that moment onward, she was intentionally dragging him.  In other words, it started as an accident, but if she knew it was happening, it continued intentionally.  And contrary to what a thousand courtroom dramas have told you, the element of premeditation doesn’t require some elaborate plan far in advance (although prosecutors are always happy to be able to have that).  In most jurisdictions, it just requires the slightest second to consider what you are doing.  If the police decide not to charge her, then, I think this driver’s family deserves to hear an explanation as to why.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a very real hate-hate relationship with the towing companies.  Having a company tow your car—illegally—on the night before your wedding will do that to you.  I believe, frankly, that the arrangement most communities have with towing companies are a violation of the Due Process Clause.  They are empowered by the state to commit legalized theft—that is to deprive you of your property without the slightest due process.  And of course every time they take a car—legally or not—they can hold it until you pay a fine, and then you are forced to go to court and try to get the difference back.  Very often the money you lose just by the act of going to court—in terms of missed work—exceeds any potential reimbursement, creating a powerful incentive for ordinary people not to fight it.  Thus this system actually gives an incentive to violate of your rights.  Of course the police have an incentive to give you more tickets, but at least that is counter-balanced by the fact that the police department ultimately answers to the people.  Towing companies answer only to state regulators, which clearly doesn’t provide much of an incentive for good behavior.

But none of that ever justifies just plain violence, let alone first degree murder.  I am sincerely sad for his family and if you are inclined, you might consider donating to that memorial fund mentioned in the article.

Update: Thanks to SarahW who gives us this link to a more timely discussion of the story. Apparently we learn the name of the driver, Detra Farries. She is thirty two years old, thus not a juvenile as previously believed and she maintains it was all an accident. She has also been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

47 Responses to “Nightmare: Tow Truck Driver Dragged to his Death”

  1. if you have all your dark for breakfast you can have lightness and happy thoughts for both lunch and dinner

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  2. yeah, just after i hit publish on the second post, i realized… gosh we are having a dark trend today…

    I’ll have something on sullivan after lunch, which at least has the value of being tragi-comic.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. Unfortunately this seems to be something of a family tradition. The driver is married to a convicted hit and run driver.
    The Husband.

    MaaddMaaxx (206a3d)

  4. She’s not a minor, and she has been arrested.

    Horrible story.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. I would like to know more before getting all worked up. There is a practice of tow truck drivers hooking up and towing cars parked in apartment complexes for 30 seconds while the driver runs into the apartment with a bag of groceries. There was such a case in California a couple of years ago. I don’t see how a driver could drive away if the car was fully hooked to the tow truck. I don’t mean to be callous but I wonder if this was a race between the car owner and tow truck driver.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  6. Had my work truck towed by a contract like that once.
    When I pointed out to the complex management that A: The sign stating all unauthorized cars would be towed was on the ground behind the guard house, and the other was behind some 20 people waiting for a buss and unreadable.
    B: The guard was not in the gate house when I came in, and the gates were locked open.
    C: even without the signage (was my first week on the job, and the company had not gotten me the DirecTv magnet signs) it was an obvious work truck.
    D: My pistol was within and if missing I would charge them with the theft (this started them looking a bit nervous).
    and the coup de gras E: the truck contained a couple thousand dollars worth of DirecTv equipment.
    Once they learned that DTv owned the equipment they got very apologetic, called the tow company and once I got there the tow company first tried to get the full fine, then a call to the apartment manager from there convinced them otherwise. I did have to pay a Notary fee ($4.50 iirc) because I had to sign a statement claiming ownership without the title or registration on hand (the reg was in the truck but of course they were not gonna allow me in to get it, key to the truck or not).
    It is literally a racket of legalized theft.
    every single person at the tower besides me was a legit parker. One guy had just bought the car, and as the rental office was closed when he got home, he had no special sticker so his new car was towed in 10 minutes even though it was parked in the visitors section and that has a 1 hour limit. Another was towed while they were in the office getting the permit. All were not able to get out of the fines….needless to say, all were moving asap.

    JP (e05949)

  7. Mike, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a lot more to the story, but how do you drag someone with your car for a mile? How do you not notice you just tore your car free of some equipment?

    I’ve been towed a single time, when I was inside the store that called the tow. It was a royal pain in the ass to get my car without paying the tow charge. And then it cost me several hours and a ride down to the sticks.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. Couple of points: the accused is not a teenager, she is a 32 year old woman. Also, Alan Rose did not get tangled as a direct result of the woman driving away…, he actively chased the vehicle and entangled himself in the cable. If he had not chased the vehicle, he would not have been caught in the cable.

    SarahW (af7312)

  9. he actively chased the vehicle and entangled himself in the cable

    I hadn’t heard that. Sounds like Mike K’s intuition was a lot more on the money that I thought.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  10. You don’t just “jump into a car and drive off,” you need a key.

    Was the key in the ignition, or did Detra already have her own key? Was she stealing the SUV or attempting to prevent Rose from towing it?

    ropelight (f9eee3)

  11. “…he actively chased the vehicle and entangled himself in the cable…

    So, he was attempting to retrieve his, or the tow comapny’s, property (the cable and gear) that was being stolen?

    AD-RtR/OS! (30e200)

  12. Memo to SUV driver – Check your blind spot.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  13. The only comment I can think to say would be racist.

    nk (db4a41)

  14. I don’t think the driver should be prosecuted. I don’t feel any sympathy for the dead man. Why anyone would want to make a living causing such problems for other people is beyond my comprehension.

    snjbf856475yt (44ab3a)

  15. snj, I’m not fan of getting my car towed, but the truth is we need tow trucks or douches would make it impossible to park anywhere. Sad but true.

    It must be nice being so perfect you’ve never caused anyone any problems. Else you agree you deserve to die a horrible death, right?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  16. And when Obama refuses to sign tow driver protection legislation, it will be like he’s killing Mr. Rose all over again.

    Has anyone had the misfortune to see TruTV’s tow driver “reality” series? I saw one scene where alleged gangbangers drew guns and chased the tow truck. I was a little skeptical that they would do that and just leave the camera crew alone.

    carlitos (01d172)

  17. Of curse not snj if he were a muslim however you would be putting on the water works you frickin scum.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  18. dustin

    obviously we have to have towing. but i would like a police officer to sign off that there is a genuine violation of law before each one. that’s the least of it. but here in virginia, the tow companies are judge, jury and executioner. i have been towed illegally twice.

    which is not to say i have never parked illegally. but those times i got tickets and i paid them, fair and square. the two times i was involuntarily towed, were illegal. and as noted in the post, one of them was at a uniquely inconvenient time. it is not fun to try to make it through a wedding on only about four hours sleep and zero real rehersal.

    Oh, and no one mentioned to me the kneeling. us presbyterrians don’t kneel, but my wife is catholic and i agreed to be married in her church and no one gave me any warning. and they forgot the cushions, so i ended up kneeling for like 40 minutes (i know–i counted the time), and finally whispered to her, pointing at the program, “K_____, at this point in the service, we are standing up. I don’t care what the priest says. i am in serious pain.” for years after i would feel phantom pain in my knees just remembering and i laugh when i hear the song, “Falling in love is hard on the knees.”

    Which is off topic, but I thought i would share.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  19. carl

    are you telling you doubt the veracity of reality television?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  20. but i would like a police officer to sign off that there is a genuine violation of law before each one. that’s the least of it.

    At a minimum. I think you shouldn’t be towed without a parking ticket, and a tow should be considered under color of law. I know some places take digital pictures before towing, and I think that should be mandatory as well. If they can’t prove the towee were in the wrong, they should compensate.

    Now, my guess is that this was a repossession rather than a parking infraction. There was a time when I lived in an apartment and virtually all the towing was of idiots who didn’t pay their bills. I think that might explain some of the problem and why the tow truck guy was a bit more aggressive (I assume a repo man is a lot more aggressive, generally, than a guy who tows parking violators).

    Anyhow, I don’t even care if Rose had no reason to tow that car. I don’t understand how the driver didn’t notice she was dragging a man for a mile.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  21. She knew darned well she was dragging him. She took a route out of the parking lot along a back road through neighborhoods, then parked and abandoned her vehicle.

    Manslaughter is a slap on the wrist.

    I’m no fan of tow truck drivers either, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to kill them.

    Estragon (ec6a4b)

  22. I think the rush to bash tow companies and the people who utilize their services is a bit knee-jerk. Yeah, I have been towed before when I didn’t think it was fair, and I agree it sucks. However, I also lived in a place where we often had people illegally parking in our very small lot, despite plenty of signs posted warning them of the consequences. Because of the way our lot was configured cars had to stack themselves up, so often when you needed to leave you would have to ask the person who had parked you in to move their car. When people illegally parked there and did not inform us, it might take an hour or more to get a tow truck there. If you had someplace to go, you were screwed. Because of this, I wouldn’t support adding a layer of bureaucracy by having a police officer sign off on all tows, since in busy urban areas that could add another hour to the process.

    JVW (1a2602)

  23. Well, there is the Tru Tv slogan to consider: Not Reality. Actuality.

    carlitos (01d172)

  24. dustin

    i agree that it was wrong to have done this to rose, but i get where the ambiguity comes in for others. like suppose we were instead talking about some mere criminal who tried to steal a car… it would be justifiable in many jurisdictions, as a matter of law, to actually shoot the man. but dragging a man to death is an extra level of cruelty that wouldn’t be justified even if it was a common criminal, instead of a man acting under a statute that imho is unconstitutional.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  25. I think a comment of mine is floating in the filter. I made the point that as someone who lived in a place where we occasionally needed to tow someone who had illegally parked, I would not want to have to go through the police in every case. It would often take an hour or longer to get a tow truck on the scene, and adding police involvement might add an additional hour or longer to the process. The details are explained in my other comment.

    JVW (1a2602)

  26. i think i fixed it.

    But i will respectfully disagree with your point. it sucks your parking lot was built that way, but is that supposed to suspend due process? that’s supposed to make it okay to illegally tow my car the night before my wedding? To ruin my night?

    what you call bureaucracy, i call something else: checks and balances.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  27. OK, Aaron, let me put it this way: Let’s say someone is blocking my driveway with my car parked in it. Let’s also say that I need to go to my wedding. Based upon your rule, I have to get a cop to come write a ticket and certify the offending car for a tow. I call my local police and am politely informed that this isn’t a high priority to them and the cop will come when he comes. Let’s say for argument’s sake that I am not in a position where I can get a taxicab or arrange for someone to come pick me up. According to your rule, I just have to sit on my hands while the car blocks my driveway, even though that car is in the wrong? If the guy blocking my driveway happens to show up three minutes before the cops finally arrive and moves his car then there is no consequence for him? Or better yet, I write down his license and file a complaint against him. How does that make me get to my wedding on time. Sorry, but in some instances there needs to be the ability to tow immediately.

    JVW (1a2602)

  28. jvw

    and why can’t you get the towing company to tow it out of your way, but still leave it in the vicinity?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  29. SUVs are destroying the planet.

    TimesDisliker (74377b)

  30. “that’s supposed to make it okay to illegally tow my car the night before my wedding? To ruin my night?”

    A.W. Heh! DIDN’T THEY KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE??????

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  31. Daley

    lol that’s right, i should have identified myself as a future blogger at patterico’s. heh.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  32. I tried to get a vehicle out of impound once that I had power of attorney over, and was attempting to pay off the impound and storage fee. The owner was in the military in Iraq. The towing company refused to accept a Power of Attorney document, and eventually called the police on me and had me removed from the property. I also called the police on them to report vehicle theft, because they were holding the vehicle without legal standing. The police told me it was a civil matter; I could take them to court, but the police couldn’t force them to give the vehicle back to me. The next day I got a lawyer who fixed it very quickly, but I still hate them with a passion.

    Vatar (ad76be)

  33. This may sound (insert politically correct boogeyman here followed by an “-ist”_), but I knew the perpetrator’s complete demographics and life story before I even read the article.

    So entirely predictable.

    Our useless waste of oxygen burdens on society are now murdering us. Politically correct? No. But accurate.

    I might go with Sharia Law on this one: an eye for an eye, a drag for a drag. Since I suspect (not even a tough guess) that she’ll be a hefty gal, you better get a big truck and some heavy chains.

    JK (59432f)

  34. Re: my #11, according to the update, the SUV was Detra’s and she was attempting to prevent Rose from towing it.

    Unreported is the cause of the attempted tow, it could be a parking infraction or a repo for non-payment.

    ropelight (f9eee3)

  35. My car was towed when i got caught dwi about 300 yards from my house but though i had to pay the tow charge on top of my fine, i was not given the option of having it towed to my house istead of the impound lot. Yes i was guilty but that was extra non judicial punishment.

    dunce (b89258)

  36. JK

    well, i wrote the original post without knowing her ethnicity or anything. i didn’t have to. now i know it, it changes nothing.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  37. When I was young, I stole my truck back from a tow yard… lots of flashing lights and bullhorns at last known addresses, they find me at around 3AM and then there is lots of noise about felonies, lots of time in cold rooms with other idiots but in the end, all I had to do was buy a new chain for their yard and pay their tow fees. And be polite… ah. The toughest part was shutting up and paying.
    There was about 100 yards of open space. So it wasn’t like there was a parking crunch.
    I came back to my truck and some kids start taunting me with “my mom had your truck towed”, the husband just got another beer and went upstairs. The sign was covered in ivy, so the lady just shoved it around the back so the sign showed again.
    What a hag.

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  38. One of the posters at that other site appears to know the area, and stated that her path was through a stop sign.

    She has 8 kids, 3 by husband #1, and kid #8 by husband (incarcerated) #2. Why do I think she sounds like the accuser in the Duke LAX case?

    jim2 (fea3ad)

  39. It’s said that ingesting lead–from paint, probably–as a child results in deficient impulse control.
    Explains a lot.

    Richard Aubrey (59fa91)

  40. Nearly all of the news stories are local. Not much national attention so far.

    DN (322684)

  41. my goal today was to not get dragged behind an SUV for any significant distance

    winner

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  42. Any day you can avoid getting dragged to death behind an SUV is a good day.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  43. The simple things in life are important.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  44. Awww . . . Jim2, the wascally wacist wabbit, popped up outta his hole. Hi, Jim!

    Icy Texan (80d439)

  45. What the hell kinda troll name is “snjbf856475yt”?

    Weak!

    Icy Texan (80d439)

  46. To be honest with you the only real issue is what is going to happen to the kids. They are no longer with a Dad. If you don’t understand then do some research on it because that is the only thing that really matters at this point.

    PS#13 (db47e4)


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