When Dustin Lawson set out for a night on Church Street he didn't anticipate paying $160 in order to drive home again.

Such was the case when he left Canvas in the late evening of July 23. 

"We were parked behind Canvas in a lot," he said. "It was an apparent office building,  but there were no signs saying towing was a possibility. People always park back there on the weekend."

The Metro Nashville government website outlines the rules by which tow operators are licensed and under which they may operate in the city.  

A number of years ago, the city reprimanded a company that appeared to routinely search the Church Street area for vehicles to tow without authorization. 

Metro ordinance requires that the property owner or his designee must call for a tow truck, and sign a tow ticket on each vehicle towed. It also sets limits on how much a company can charge when a vehicle is towed ($65). If the vehicle is on a public street or public lot, a Metro police office must authorize the tow.

If the car owner catches the tow truck operator before it leaves, they must unhook the car from the tow truck for $35. Additionally, they must tow the car directly to an impound lot, and they are not allowed to store it at another location. Towing companies must also notify the Metro Police impound lot that they have towed a vehicle within one hour of the tow or the vehicle could be considered stolen.

The most up-to-date information regarding the Nashville city towing ordinance can be found here.

Larson has yet to file a police report, though he's heard from others who've been towed as well. In fact, it was the bartender at the establishment who informed him of the likely place he would find his car. 

"I paid $160 CASH to get the vehicle out," he said. "Someone named 'Nick' authorized the tow."

In the meantime, Larson wants to get the word out in case there are others who feel they may have been illegally towed.

"There were other cars parked there as well," he said.





Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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