Before lawsuit, tow truck driver had history of skirting the law

Updated: May. 6, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte tow truck driver is being sued by the North Carolina Attorney General for price gouging after booting tractor trailers that were delivering essential supplies during the pandemic. A WBTV Investigation found that 1,172 people have been towed in Charlotte since the stay-at-home order started and complaints about this specific tow truck driver are nothing new.

A1 Towing Solutions owner David Satterfield is banned from towing and booting because of a temporary restraining order signed by a judge while the lawsuit progresses through the court system. The lawsuit also alleges unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Besides truck drivers there are others who are looking for money back.

“We always park on the curb right her,” Toni Robins told WBTV.

Robins had her car towed from her apartment complex by A1 Towing Solutions in early April. Over the phone they told her and her niece it would be a little more than two hundred dollars.

“The price was like $230 then when we get to the towing company he’s telling us it cost $305 dollars and I still have my receipt,” Robins said.

But the price A1 Towing Solutions and owner David Satterfield charged truck drivers after booting or towing them sometimes topped $4,000 dollars.

According to a lawsuit filed by North Carolina Attorney General against Satterfield and A1 Towing Solutions the company was booting truckers who were carrying food, water and medical supplies during the pandemic.

“That’s what really offended me and what brought us to bring this lawsuit,”Attorney General Josh Stein told WBTV.

“What we heard from the complainants were that they had permission from the manager of the store, wherever they were, to be there,” Stein said.

“There was one guy who was actually in the cab of his truck when the car was booted.”

But that’s nothing new to WBTV.

David Satterfield was arrested for assault last October after pepper spraying a truck driver when he booted him while he was in his truck. The case is pending.

He pepper sprayed a woman outside her apartment complex earlier in 2019. She pressed charges but a judge later dropped them.

WBTV also caught Satterfield on-camera in 2019 driving, even though he admitted he had a suspended license at the time.

Twice he’s been cited by CMPD for violating towing ordinances and twice the charges have been dropped. Three other times Satterfield has been sued and judges ruled that he violated Charlotte’s towing ordinances. But even in cases where CMPD officers were there he hasn’t always been cited.

WBTV asked Charlotte Mecklenburg Police why Satterfield hasn’t been cited more during his towing history. CMPD sent WBTV an email saying “Tow disputes are frequently civil related and the parties involved are referred to court where a judge will assisting them in resolving the civil related matter.”

According to CMPD records 1,172 cars have been towed in the City of Charlotte since the stay-at-home order was issued.

WBTV tried calling Satterfield on two different numbers but couldn’t reach him.

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