UPTOWN — "Remember me?"
That's what a man who had his car towed by Lincoln Towing allegedly said just before clobbering the unsuspecting tow truck driver with a metal pipe in the back of the head.
The attacker ambushed the driver, hiding behind a dumpster and waiting to get revenge for being towed, according to a police report.
The driver, who also serves as a business manager for Lincoln Towing, said the attack happened Jan. 5 while he was out looking for vehicles to tow in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood on the North Side.
The 53-year-old driver told police he was in a parking lot in the 5600 block of North Lincoln Avenue, not far from the tow yard at 4882 N. Clark St., around 8 p.m. looking for illegal parkers.
According to a police report of the incident, the driver said the attacker hid behind a dumpster, jumped out and asked him if he remembered him. After the driver reportedly told the man he did, he turned his back to the attacker and was hit with a pipe across the back of his head.
The driver was knocked unconscious and suffered a black eye and injured ribs, he told police. He awoke several minutes later with blood running over his face and several painful but not serious injuries, police said.
The Lincoln Towing worker declined a trip to the hospital for the head injury, according to the report.
He identified the alleged attacker by name to police, claiming the man lived Skokie and had a vehicle towed in late December by the company. No arrests have been reported.
The driver did not respond to a request for comment.
Lincoln Towing's aggressiveness in towing cars from lots has made it one of the most controversial companies in Chicago for decades. In the 1970s, Steve Goodman wrote the song “Lincoln Park Pirates” about the firm: "Be it Edsel or Chevy there's no car too heavy, and no one can make us shut down."
The song still plays today over the company’s phone when a customer is put on hold.
Drivers and management at Lincoln Towing have been accused of threatening and intimidating people whose vehicles they’ve towed. Last September, two Lincoln Towing drivers were charged with felonies, accused of knocking a man off a 16-foot ladder and shattering his thigh bone him while towing his vehicle.
That same month, police cited the company for towing vehicles without authorization after a state child welfare worker had his car towed while he was in the Rogers Park District police station talking to officers.
In October, an 18-year-old man who attempted to intervene on behalf of several women who had their vehicles towed was attacked with a baseball bat and nearly run over in front of the tow yard. The victim of that attack said he was interested in pursuing “street justice” against the drivers who’d attacked him, but the man involved in the most recent attack was not the same man from the earlier fight, according to the report.
Lincoln Towing recently returned a vehicle to a woman after its driver was accused of illegally towing it and lying about its location. The company said its driver was new to the business and simply made a mistake.
A petition circulating to suspend the company’s business license received nearly 2,000 signatures in three days.
Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) and Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) said they plan to introduce a resolution on Wednesday asking Lincoln Towing "to testify on their towing practices and policies." The aldermen said they want to develop a "towing bill of rights" based on documents in other major cities.
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