MADISON — The Boone County Commission adopted a new towing policy on Sept. 28 when, during its regular session, the towing committee brought forth its recommendations for four certified towing companies with assigned routes for coverage within county territory.
Commissioner Craig Bratcher was not present, but committee board member Michael Mayhorn, who also serves as the director of the Boone County Emergency Management Agency/911, spoke to Commissioner Brett Kuhn and Commission President Eddie Hendricks in the public meeting about the process and the selections.
Mayhorn was joined on the committee by Kuhn, Boone County Administrator Pam White and Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph, who provided legal counseling for the process.
Per state code, the county must meet every three years to review and/or set a new policy, and Boone County had last reviewed its policy in September 2017.
“On July 30, we met with all of the volunteer fire departments and we discussed their needs, wants, concerns and issues that they’ve had in the past and how we may rectify those with this policy,” Mahorn said. “On July 31, we sent out (over) 30 letters to towing companies and operators within Boone County and surrounding counties, and I got their information from the public service commission for all registered companies and operators.”
In total, eight companies submitted information for review by the towing committee, and four were chosen and provided a territory within which to operate.
The 11-page document expanded upon the breadth of the previous policy and detailed the assigned areas into zones one through four.
Area one encompasses 119.6 square miles, area two includes 122.9 square miles, area three has 129.6 square miles and area four 131.1.
Area one, which was assigned Breedlove’s Wrecker Service, includes areas north, west and east of Route 3 and Route 119; encompasses Route 3 to the top of Drawdy Mountain; and all of Ashford, Nellis and Ridgeview to the top of the mountain/Route 94.
Area two, which was assigned to Roger’s Wrecker Service, encompasses the southwestern part of the county including Route 119 from the Rock Creek intersection to the county line, including all of Route 17 and Route 85 to the Robinson railroad crossing and all side roads in between was assigned.
Area three was assigned to Hawks’ Towing and Repair, which encompasses the Robinson railroad crossing to the top of Bolt Mountain on Route 85 and all roads in between up to the top of the mountain and to the railroad crossing at Prenter.
Area four was given to Big M Towing and Recovery and includes Route 94 to the Raleigh County line, including all side roads and Prenter Road up to the railroad crossing.
One addition to the new policy requires towing operators to communicate to the dispatcher when they are in route to the scene to provide an estimated time of arrival for first responders.
County officials have expressed a desire for a more formal and detailed written policy.
Additionally, state code requires that wrecker services clean up the accident scenes in lieu of fire departments absorbing the burden, which was added to the new documents.
The policy also addresses and condemns the unethical process of “scanner hopping,” in which an operator listens to a scanner for accidents within the county and attempts to beat other towing operators to the scene to acquire the business.
Mahorn added that, ultimately, the assigned areas will serve as a deterrent to the practice.
Kuhn spoke about the process of reviewing the backgrounds of each company that applied for consideration. He said that the safety of citizens was the No. 1 priority for the process, followed by fairness to the towing operators who were selected as certified vendors.
“I can tell you that the steps that this committee took in the process was exhaustive and extensive and we tried to listen to all of the stakeholders and tried to give everyone a voice with what was going on, and I feel like that as a committee, we did our due diligence in creating the new policy.”
The commission accepted the recommendations from the committee and made the policy effective on Oct. 1. A copy of the policy can be obtained by request.
The Boone County Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., the third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. and the last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse Annex, third floor. Call 304-369-7303 for information regarding the agenda.