Bereaved family denied access to daughter’s belongings in car
The cremated remains of Peggy Rosales’ daughter sit perched on a living room mantle at the family’s home in Mack.
Renae Christine Spear, 31, left behind four children, the youngest 16 months, on the night of Nov. 2 when she drove drunk and rolled her Toyota Camry off the road at U.S. Highway 6 near her parents’ home.
After authorities sifted through the accident scene, the Colorado State Patrol called Girardi Towing, 3183 D Road, to have the wrecked vehicle removed.
It remains today in the company’s impound lot.
As Rosales and her husband, Victor, scrambled to make arrangements for their daughter, they soon found themselves in the middle of another unwanted mess: the recovery of their daughter’s property.
Peggy Rosales said she and her family were allowed by the towing company to photograph her daughter’s car.
But they were told they couldn’t get inside to retrieve her belongings until they signed over title to the vehicle and paid a bill totaling several hundred dollars for the tow.
An invoice shows a bill for $267, which Rosales said doesn’t include “storage fees.”
Rosales said they have no interest in the car.
“The car’s done, totaled,” she said. “I just wanted her stuff.”
She said she’s unsure of anythingg that might be in the car.
“She had all her clothes with her; perhaps her glasses and her purse are still there,” Rosales said.
“My daughter has already paid a high price with her death,” she said.
When contacted by The Daily Sentinel, a representative of Girardi Towing said the company is following state law.
The representative, who refused to identify himself, declined further comment on Rosales’ assertions.
A reading of Colorado Revised Statutes suggests the tow firm is within the law. Once a vehicle is towed by a private company at the direction of law enforcement and stored on the company’s property, the company has a lien on the vehicle, which “shall be satisfied before all other charges against such motor vehicle,” according to state law.
“The tower’s bill has to be paid before anything’s done on the car,” said John Connolly, president of the Denver-based Towing and Recovery Professionals of Colorado.
Connolly said towers can offer payment plans to individuals, among a host of options.
“Emotions are high” in cases involving fatalities, but Rosales’ situation is fairly common, Connolly said.
“Looking at this from the tower’s point of view, once the personals are out of the car, the owners are gone, and then the tower is sitting on this car in his lot for 60 to 100 days,” he said, adding costs can top $2,000 for the business.
That doesn’t ease the mind of Peggy Rosales, who said she was told her daughter’s car will soon be crushed for demolition.
“This is just wrong,” she said.