Tow truck driver facing felonies, injunction, criminal contempt charge, keeps towing three days after WBTV Investigation

NCDOJ is bringing David Satterfield before a judge to explain why he shouldn’t face punishment for violating a court order that essentially prohibits him from towing
Tow truck driver and company owner David Satterfield has faced felony charges, lawsuits and changed business names multiple times.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:31 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For years WBTV has been warning about David Satterfield and his history of pepper spraying people and towing cars illegally. Even though he’s been labeled a habitual felon and has an active injunction against him that virtually makes it impossible for him to continue towing, he just keeps towing anyway.

Now, the North Carolina Department of Justice is pursuing a criminal contempt charge against Satterfield and his company. The charge is the latest in an NCDOJ lawsuit that started two years ago, accusing Satterfield of price gouging during the pandemic.

Despite the plethora of legal challenges Satterfield faces, his business is still very active.

Brittani Barnett reached out to WBTV after her car was towed from the apartment complex where she lives on August 7th.

“The fact that he’s still towing is unreal,” Barnett said. “I don’t even understand after all that’s been taking place, why is he still allowed to do this?”

Barnett says Satterfield’s Automobile Recovery and Parking Enforcement has been towing at her complex for years, even after WBTV’s reporting, his arrests, and the injunction that North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said is supposed to prevent Satterfield and his company from this behavior.

“It prohibits them essentially from doing this work while the case is proceeding,” Stein told WBTV in May of 2020.

Barnett had to pay $276 to get her car back and one of her neighbors had to pay $230. According to the injunction, Satterfield potentially violated the limitations of the order against him in just those two tows.

According to the injunction, Satterfield is limited to charging customers no more than $250 for a tow, is prohibited from charging credit card, storage and any fees outside of towing and booting. His company also must receive written permission from the owner of the property for each vehicle he tows.

The conditions make it virtually impossible to operate a towing company and follow the injunction limitations.

Barnett was charged multiple fees and more than $250.

“I got my kids, rent just got paid. I don’t have money like that for this guy, especially somebody that shouldn’t even be towing,” Barnett said.

“He shouldn’t be able to tow. He shouldn’t even be able to operate a business under any name, under any circumstances.”

“He’s rude, he’s pompous, and he thinks he’s invincible and somebody needs to stop him,” Barnett said.

Nobody has.

The Attorney General’s office is pursuing a criminal contempt charge case Satterfield for violating the injunction. If the judge rules against Satterfield, he could face censure, imprisonment, fines or other punishment.

One of the examples used in the NCDOJ filing came from a WBTV report involving a tractor trailer driver who was towed by Satterfield.

The injunction against Satterfield was filed two years ago. Since then, he’s been sued, arrested, charged with stealing guns and money and labelled a habitual felon. Including the NCDOJ lawsuit, there are several pending cases Satterfield is facing that could see him sent to prison for considerable time.

Barnett called CMPD when her car was towed but said officers told her it was a civil matter.

“Does it feel like anybody is protecting you in this situation?” a WBTV reporter asked Barnett.

“No. You feel helpless, and then when you feel helpless, you feel hopeless,” Barnett said.

WBTV emailed both CMPD and NCDOJ and asked if there was any way for the agencies to collaborate to protect Charlotte car owners while the legal process plays out. WBTV requested a response by Sept 1st.

Attorney General Josh Stein and a couple of NC state legislators have expressed interest in exploring regulation over towing companies to limit predatory behavior.

“My biggest fear is that we’re going to start having copycat tow companies because if they feel like he’s invincible, then they’re going to start doing the same thing,” Barnett said.

WBTV also emailed the management company for Seigle Point Apartments, Community Management Corporation, about why Satterfield is allowed to tow for them and whether they would be willing to refund their residents towed by him on August 7th.

CMC hasn’t provided a response, but Satterfield’s signs were taken down for Seigle Point.