Leeds City Council considers paying for towing during Winter gridlock

Monday night, The Leeds City Council is holding a special meeting to discuss the controversial issues of towing. The towing issues came up after last week's snow storm.


Many drivers left their cars along Highway 78 last Tuesday during the Winter storm. Many couldn't make it up the steep hills or over the sheets of ice and simply had to abandon their cars.{}The city began towing cars at a cost to the owner - which made quite a few people upset. But tonight, the city council will consider a resolution declaring the winter gridlock a public safety emergency. That will allow the city to pick up the cost of towing.{}Mayor David Miller told us, if a car has been towed, the owner can reclaim it at no charge - and the people who had to pay will be reimbursed by the city. He said, the city will take care of the cost for now, but will eventually be reimbursed by the state. The council meeting starts at 6, we will have more on the Night Team News at Ten. {}



Like many metro areas, this was the scene last week in Leeds along Highway 78.

"It was tough. It was tough," Bill Edgil, a Leeds resident said.

Thousands were stranded - many couldn't make it across the ice and abandoned their cars.

"My blood sugar had plummeted," Jimmy Cleckler, a driver from Clanton said. "I was walking up to the Marathon station holding onto bushes to get up there."{}

But when Jimmy Cleckler came back, his car had already been towed.

"He turned around and brought my truck back stood right there and I said, 'Sir, put my truck on the ground.' He said, 'I've got to have $125 first,'" Cleckler said.{}

Mayor David Miller told us, the city made a tough - and controversial call - to move cars out of the way.

"We had to either tow cars out of the way, or not tow them out of the way and not open the only access road to our shelters," Leeds Mayor David Miller said. {}"We made the option in favor of people instead of cars. As a result we were able to take 300 people plus to shelters around town."

But that decision left drivers with a bill of around $175. Monday night, the Leeds City Council unanimously approved a resolution to declare the winter storm a public safety emergency - allowing the city to cover the costs of the towing. Already, many of those drivers have been reimbursed.

"I think the mayor and council did a wonderful job under the circumstances," a man who spoke before the Council said.

"We were able to get 300 plus people to shelters and homes," Edgil said. "It inconvenienced a couple people. I'm sorry it did."

About 37 cars total were removed.{}

The Mayor also told us, the state transportation department told him they would reimburse the city of Leeds for the towing costs since this {}is a state highway.{}