‘He Hit the Gas’: Wicker Park Tow Ends With Guns Drawn, Driver on Hood of Truck – NBC Chicago
Trouble with private towing companies is a common complaint across Chicago, but what happened to Jermall Harvey last October stands in stark contrast to other stories.
What started with Harvey’s understanding of the law and his pleas for a tow truck to not take his car illegally, ended with him hanging onto the hood of the moving truck and the truck’s passenger pointing a loaded gun at him, all in motion while the truck drove through a busy intersection in Wicker Park.
“At this point, I’m like, ‘Are you going to die over this?'” Harvey told NBC 5 Responds.
It was a harrowing experience, Harvey said, that ended with the tow truck’s passenger under arrest and the infamous Chicago company behind the tow, Lincoln Towing Service, facing $1,500 in fines for several alleged violations of state law, including the fact that the tow was unlawful to begin with.
“It’s just really been frustrating,” Harvey said. “What’s going to change? Who’s going to change this?”
The inciting event occurred on Oct. 12, 2022, at a historic Wicker Park building where Harvey works on the corner of Ashland and Division.
Harvey said he parked in the CVS Pharmacy parking lot below his office while he ran up to grab something. On his car’s dashboard, he showed NBC 5 a pass that CVS Management had given him to park in the business’ lot when needed.
But on this day, his business partner called him to say what every Chicagoan dreads: a tow truck was eyeing his car.
“He had seen the tow truck approaching,” Harvey explained. “That’s when he essentially called me and told me, ‘The tow truck is down here,’ and I was like, ‘I’m already coming downstairs.’”
Illinois law is clear: If the driver of a car approaches during a tow, before it’s complete, towers have to unhook it.
Yet, surveillance video obtained by NBC 5 Responds shows that’s not what happened with Harvey’s car.
A screenshot from surveillance video showing Jermall Harvey running out to stop a tow truck from taking his car on Oct. 12, 2022.
The video shows a red towing truck backing up to Harvey’s car as his business partner tries to get the driver’s attention. Regulators with the Illinois Commerce Commission determined the truck was operating for the company “Protective Parking Service Corporation dba Lincoln Towing Service,” according to an investigative report obtained by NBC 5.
In the surveillance video obtained by regulators, Harvey can be seen running up as the tow truck lifts his car and hits the gas, moving forward. All despite Harvey’s pleas to drop it.
“I’m like, ‘Yo, you’re taking my car illegally! I know what the law says!’” Harvey recalls. “And he hit the gas, […….