CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A tow truck driver with dozens of driving offenses, no driver’s license and several lawsuits has faced few consequences for how his towing company operates. WBTV previously reported on David Satterfield and his company, Automobile Recovery and Parking Enforcement, after customers complained that he wasn’t being held accountable for illegal actions.
"Mr. Pfiester's truck was basically held hostage,” attorney Joe Culik said.
Culik represented a driver in a lawsuit against Satterfield. The driver says at the time he was being towed he called CMPD.
"The police came, they actually gave him a business card saying which section of the city code was being violated, but they said essentially they didn't have authority to stop it," Culik said.
But violating the city's towing ordinance is a misdemeanor. Pictures from the scene show Satterfield didn't have a marked truck and his employee wasn't in uniform. Both offenses are violations of the ordinance.
Satterfield previously told WBTV he does not drive for his towing company and he employs drivers to conduct towing. But WBTV staked out his business and got video of Satterfield driving his tow truck to a car repair shop and back.
Satterfield has been convicted of violating the local towing ordinance once. In 2017 he was given a $50 fine even though the penalty could be up to $500.
On four other occasions Satterfield was cited for violations related to towing but all those cases were dropped.
Two citations from CMPD prosecutors dismissed. One case of violating the local towing ordinance had no prosecuting witness according to prosecutors notes and another charge of tampering with a vehicle was dismissed without justification.
Two other cases were brought by the North Carolina DMV. In one case Satterfield was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle after being accused of taking a vehicle when he wasn't paid. That case was dropped by prosecutors in the "interest of justice" according to notes on the case. Another charge of failing to report unclaimed property from his storage lot was also dismissed after the officer said Satterfield was in compliance.
A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office denied our request for an interview about all of Satterfield’s dropped cases. Satterfield is currently facing a charge of driving with his license revoked and the DA's office says they can't comment on current defendants.
WBTV also requested an interview with CMPD to ask why Satterfield, a tow truck driver without a license, has only faced two citations for the local towing ordinance. A spokesperson never granted an interview and said the weekly press briefing for Wednesday was cancelled.
Satterfield notified CMPD of 434 vehicles his company towed in 2018 according to police records.
According to a police report from January, Satterfield even told an officer that he personally was towing vehicles, again even though he doesn't have a license.
WBTV reached out to Satterfield but did not receive a response.