Vancouver carjacking victim hit with $536 towing fee to get van - KPTV - FOX 12

Vancouver carjacking victim hit with $536 towing fee to get van back

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

Just last week, Shelby Griffith was carjacked by a man in her Vancouver apartment complex. Now, she feels victimized again – this time by a towing company demanding more than $500 to release her car.

One day after Griffith got 15 staples removed from her leg, she recalled that moment when 24-year-old Sankara Etienne allegedly barged into her minivan and attacked two people with a knife. Griffith says she tried to push him out, but she got tangled up in her seat belt.

She was dragged alongside her van right before police said Etienne crashed. Griffith went straight to the hospital and gave deputies permission to take her van as evidence.

The van was transported by TLC Towing in Ridgefield. When Griffith tried to get it back, she was told it would cost her $536. She was stunned.

“The police told us it was in evidence, so I just assumed I’d be able to get it back and I wasn’t expecting there to be such a high fee,” said Griffith. “But I didn’t think I’d have to pay it because it was going into evidence."

FOX 12 went to TLC’s tow yard looking for answers. Employees told us the owner was out of town and no one was able to provide a statement on-camera. But one man said Griffith’s fee is a state-regulated rate.

Sgt. Fred Neiman with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said they have a contract with TLC Towing, but it appears Griffith is being charged an impound fee. Neiman said that does not seem right.

The minivan was a gift from Griffith’s family and she’s only had it a few weeks.

“They all pitched in to buy this car for me for Christmas. I’m a single mom with two kids. I have my own business. I need a car," she said. 

She can’t afford the towing fee or repairs so she’s looking for a replacement, but Griffith still has big questions.

“I don’t think the overnight fee was really fair, but it is what it is, I guess," she said. 

Neiman says the sheriff’s office is looking into the matter.

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