20 families leave Bowman Gray Stadium to find cars towed away from city-owned lot

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Nearly two dozen families left Bowman Gray Stadium Saturday night to find their cars had been towed away.

Twenty drivers parked in the City of Winston-Salem Utilities Construction and Maintenance lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive had to pay between $280-$300 after the city confirmed a new employee called a towing company after being blocked in.

“We do know cars were parked illegally in spaces that said no parking," city spokesperson Gale Ketteler said.

Stadium visitors told FOX8 they were surprised to see the sign from Fully Loaded Towing in a lot they've parked in for years.

Some visitors claim their vehicles were damaged in the process.

"We got the car out, and noticed there was all kind of damage, the front bumper cover was torn off, the window seal was messed up, the window tint, they basically just broke in her car and towed it illegally," Kevin Gilbert said.

Gilbert said he started reaching out to other families and city officials immediately.

"I know social media is a powerful thing, I knew that if we got it out there people will stand up and fight for someone getting done wrong," he said.

In a statement, City Manager Ben Rowe wrote that drivers who were wrongfully towed would be reimbursed.

The towing company told FOX8 they did not want to make a comment about the incident.

Below is the full statement from Rowe:

"At this past Saturday's races at Bowman Gray Stadium, a number of vehicles were towed from the Utilities Construction and Maintenance lot, which is located south of the stadium on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The City utilizes the visitor and employee lots at this location for overflow parking for racing events and Winston-Salem State University football games. There is a gated area at the back of the location that is prohibited for event parking. City staff investigated what happened on Saturday and learned that a new Utilities Division employee who responds to sewer calls on the weekend parked in the employee parking lot outside of the gated area and was blocked in by vehicles parked for the races. The employee subsequently contacted a towing company, and a number of vehicles were removed. The vehicles were not parked illegally. Utilities Division management is planning to contact the towing company today to get the information about the vehicles that were towed. Utilities Division management is going to contact each vehicle owner to apologize and reimburse them for the towing charges that were assessed. Going forward, Utilities Division management will make sure employees who work on the weekends know the arrangements in place for overflow parking and where to park on race nights.

"If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Kira Boyd, Utilities Communications Coordinator, by phone at 336-747-7313 or email at kirab@cityofws.org."

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