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Tow truck operator to refund money to Tropical Storm Debby flooding victims

8:16 PM, Jun 27, 2012   |    comments
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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Woodtrail Village is drying out today, but on Monday neighborhood streets were flooded.

"We could barely get out and we couldn't get in with the little car," said Ed Kelly. And that's why Ed and his wife, Wendy, and also a few of their neighbors, parked their cars in a vacant lot a few blocks away.

"It sits low to the ground. It would have never made it through there. It would have floated away," said Ed of his Chevy.

But on top of all the stress of flooding on Tuesday, the Kellys and their neighbors found their cars gone. They'd been towed.

"I was shocked," said Wendy. "Honestly...you almost want something like that to happen to them. Why would you do that?"

The overgrown lot off Little Road was posted and A-1 Recovery charged them $210 to get their cars back. "No credit cards. They were just...it was a bad experience," Ed said.

The Kellys contacted area lawmakers, including Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey). Fasano thought the situation stunk and bordered on gouging during a declared State of Emergency.

"I think someone saw a possibility of making money on the backs of people who were in a very awkward situation and facing a crisis," he said.

Fasano called the towing business owner this morning and, a few hours later, the owner had a change of heart.

"Upon reviewing the tow tickets and seeing where these people live, and driving around last night and looking at the situation and seeing what these people had been through, that's when I decided to refund them their money," said Aaron Watkins.

As for the Kellys, they will be happy to drive through their now dry neighborhood and go to the bank. "It made me feel good that he did the right thing," said Wendy.

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