By Eve Meinhardt, ParaglideAugust 24, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Handling an issue with your vehicle is hard enough during a normal day while juggling everything in your life. Discovering there was a problem with your vehicle after returning from a 12-month deployment overseas is even more difficult to handle.
To help redeploying Soldiers avoid discovering their vehicle has been towed and they owe more in towing fees than the car is worth, the Fayetteville Police Department is working with Fort Bragg and has developed a program to help prevent Soldiers from coming home to a large, vehicle storage debt.
While your car being towed while you're deployed may be something you dismiss as an impossibility, that is not necessarily the case said Sgt. Eric Dow, traffic unit supervisor, Fayetteville Police Department. While you're away, the status of the place you were parked may change, causing your vehicle to be towed, or the vehicle may be stolen and recovered, resulting in storage fees by the wrecking company until the vehicle is claimed.
Acoording to Dow once a motorcycle was stolen, then found and recovered. By the time the Soldier returned from deployment, the Soldier received a $6,000 tow bill in order to recover his bike resulting from $25 a day storage fees. This was more than the bike was originally worth.
To avoid this potentially large bill, the Fayetteville Police are asking deploying Soldiers to register their vehicles with them and provide a point of contact who has the ability to pick up the vehicle if it is towed for any reason.
"I would estimate that this happens to at least a couple dozen deployed Soldiers every year. At $25 a day, the cost adds up fast and most deployed Soldiers don't even have a clue that their car has been impounded," said Dow. "We're just trying to lessen the potentially negative impact on the Soldiers serving their country overseas."
The program is in the beginning stages and will soon have a dedicated hotline and Web site. Dow encourages Soldiers deploying in the near future to call 433-1561 to register their vehicles and assign a designee the police can call if there is an incident.
Anyone with questions about whither their car has been towed, where it is and payment information can visit www.nc.towedcar.com.