McCrory: Don't rush to reclaim abandoned cars
Posted February 13, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Although some cars were towed out of travel lanes overnight to make room for plows and other vehicles, North Carolina State Highway Patrol officials said Thursday morning that many of the cars left on the side of roads and interstates Wednesday afternoon will remain there until they are picked up by their owners.
First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said residents need to consider where cars were left when planning on how to pick them up.
Only cars left in travel lanes or cars that were posing an immediate safety threat were towed, and those efforts were being coordinated by both state transportation and local officials. Some cars left in travel lanes were also moved to the sides of area roads.
Cars left in travel lanes within city limits in the Triangle were likely towed by city-contracted towing companies.
Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday that residents need to be safe when going to get vehicles.
"We recommend that you wait until it is definitely safe," McCrory said. "Check out the conditions where you are before you go and get your car. We don't mind you waiting to do that."
Highway Patrol troopers, National Guard members and local law enforcement were checking each abandoned vehicle to make sure no one was stranded or injured inside, he said. Vehicles were then tagged with crime scene tape to show that they had been checked.
Trucks with the Department of Transportation's Incident Management Assistance Patrol have tried to move abandoned cars to highway shoulders where possible, officials said.
The Highway Patrol towed 139 cars statewide overnight that were either blocking travel lanes of creating a safety hazard, McCrory said. About 50 of those vehicles were in Triangle-area counties.
State law requires vehicle owners to pay for the cost of any towing done to clear blocked roads or rights-of-way, but Raleigh officials said they would waive the charge for vehicles towed in the city.