Breaking Free: Tow-A-Way domestic violence

HOUSTON – Tow truck drivers typically get a bad rep for one reason or another.

But here in the Houston area, some are actually changing people’s lives.

Wrecker drivers across the bayou help several victims a month as they’re ‘Breaking Free’ of domestic violence.

It happens mostly because wrecker crews are often the first ones a victim will see if they need help.

More often than not, abusers use vehicles as a form of control by disabling them to keep victims in abusive relationships.

That’s why a simple bag with the bare necessities means so much to a person in trouble.

Tow-A-Way Domestic Violence Bag (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

“A lot of times, they’re getting out because they’re in immediate danger. They don’t have time to grab hairspray, toothpaste, or deodorant. We’re providing that right there,” says On-Site Towing President Mark Denson.

His crews see it all, abusers dismantling cars, slashing tires, or simply stealing keys.

“Seeing this by having these bags to deploy, it’s all age groups. It’s the elderly, it’s men, it’s women, it’s kids. No one’s immune to this,” he adds.

Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alen Rosen says the partnership is a godsend.

His office teamed up with the wrecker community and Aids to Victims of Domestic Abuse or AVDA to create bags filled with useful items like food and hotel vouchers.

“Having wrecker drivers that are out there interacting with the public all the time, and often in some very precarious situations where you have domestic violence victims in car accidents or out at a scene where law enforcement is already there, to be able to give them a bag with resources in it that can help them change their lives to get out of domestic violence is what this is all about,” says Constable Rosen.

Denson adds, “We have people call. We’ve had people send texts. I’ve had an email that read, ‘Hey, can you drop it off at my neighbor’s house? Because I can’t have it at my house.’ and we’ve done exactly that.”

Sometimes the crews are the diversion.

“We can call on our wrecker friends our wrecker community to go over there and get that person out of that domestic violence situation,” says the Constable. “So and they’re willing to do it gratuitously for free and that’s putting your money where your mouth is.”

“We supply them with a just-to-know. ‘Hey, you’re safe. You know we can get law enforcement here if you need somebody. If you’re in direct, you know, danger we can we can kind of shield that a little bit for you. We’re not putting ourselves in a position of that, but I can put you in my truck and get you out of here. If we need to right now,’” Denson tells us. “We care. There are people out there that want to help you, don’t be afraid to ask.”

Tow-A-Way Domestic Violence (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Drivers who are part of the Tow-A-Way domestic violence program each have a purple ribbon with a tow truck and Constable PCT 1 logo on their trucks.

The program is growing in popularity, and wrecker crews from across the nation are calling Houston crews to get the program running in their cities.

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Breaking Free: Tow-A-Way domestic violence

Breaking Free: Domestic violence in the LGBTQ community

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Breaking Free: 3 women die in same week after jumping, exiting moving vehicles during possible domestic disturbances

Breaking Free: The push to de-stigmatize domestic abuse in Houston’s South Asian community

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About the Authors:

As an Emmy award-winning journalist, Jason strives to serve the community by telling in-depth stories and taking on challenges many pass over. When he’s not working, he’s spending time with his girlfriend Rosie, and dog named Dug.

Nationally-recognized investigative journalist. Passionate about in-depth and investigative stories that are important to the community. Obsessed with my Corgi pup named Chulo.