KENT, Wash. - A run-of-the-mill tow request turned into a terrifying situation for a woman with disabilities, who police found alive in a tow yard after nine days. The company's manager said they had no idea someone was still in the car when they towed it.
"We said we didn't notice anyone," Skyway's general manager, Bonafacio Pauza, told FOX 13 News.
Officers asked Pauza and his team to unlock the car and search it, after the woman's sister reported her missing. Police say the last time the woman was seen was Feb. 5, with her mother. The mother reportedly drove them to a gas station, left her in the car and walked away.
Eventually, the gas station called to have the car towed.
"One of the first questions we ask is ‘Is there anybody in the car?’ The property owners knocked on the car window, doors were locked," Pauza explained. "When my driver got there, he did the same thing. No one responded."
So, the driver towed the car to a lot, where it sat for nine days. After Kent Police called, they went out and broke the locks.
"We found a lady in the backseat covered over by clothing and other detritus, so she couldn't be seen," said Pauza. "You don't expect to find, especially after a car that's been impounded for a few days, that there's actually someone still inside it."
Pauza said the woman was unresponsive, but police confirmed she is alive and was immediately taken to the hospital.
"[I'm] happy that the lady is alive," said Pauza. "I've been in this industry for over 30 years, and it's the first time I've ever seen it. It's never happened before."
Even so, Pauza said management has discussed adding procedures to make sure this does not happen again.
"Most people do not want to hear that a tow truck driver was applying to their car," said Pauza, "and you really don't want to give carte blanche to towing companies to say ‘Oh, just go into any car you want and go through their stuff.’"
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