By Conrad Dudderar
A new City of Yukon ordinance outlines how wrecker services are used when vehicles must be towed after being impounded or wrecked.
With several wrecker services inside or near Yukon city limits, Yukon city officials have formally established a “rotation” system for wrecker companies that respond to Yukon Police Department requests to impound, tow or otherwise move vehicles.
Ordinance 1421, approved April 6 by the city council, requires wrecker service providers to maintain an office and storage facility within the City of Yukon.
Wrecker companies inside Yukon city limits “may submit a request to the Yukon Police Department to have their name included on a list of available wrecker service providers,” the new ordinance reads.
Two wrecker service providers outside Yukon’s corporate boundaries had been active members of the YPD’s wrecker rotation.
Attorney Cooper Hahn, who represents the two companies, asked the city council on April 6 to reconsider the ordinance – or at least defer the item. He believes his clients “have a right” to continue servicing the City of Yukon.
“They gained access to the rotation through the statutory process,” Hahn said. “They coordinated with (Police) Chief John Corn to gain access.
“Whenever they gained access, there was only one wrecker service actively on the rotation.”
Mayor Shelli Selby asked whether Hahn’s clients were in the City of Yukon.
“They have Yukon addresses,” Hahn replied. “They are located approximately a quarter mile outside the city limits of Yukon.”
To which Selby responded, “But it’s Oklahoma City.”
Hahn said his clients knew of no issues with the service they have provided – and only received notice of this new ordinance April 1 when Chief Corn contacted them.
The attorney noted the new ordinance – with its Yukon city limit restriction – would “effectively remove those wrecker services that are located near city limits.”
“In Oklahoma City,” Mayor Selby quickly interjected.
Hahn continued, “That would reduce the number of wrecker services back to one.
“I believe my clients have fought their way to get on the rotation and would like to keep servicing this community. I don’t think their location, at all, has hindered them. We’ve had no complaints.”
Hahn explained his clients are two companies – with different owners and equipment – operating in separate offices at the same address in the 11100 block of N.W. 10th. That’s just east of Yukon city limits.
Hahn reminded city leaders his clients’ companies also provide “heavier” equipment to tow large vehicles.
Before council members voted, Hahn again asked them to consider revising the proposed ordinance so his clients could continue offering “quality” service to Yukon.
“I understand, and I get that,” Mayor Selby responded. “But my feeling is, we support our Yukon city limit people first. I’d love for your client to move to our city.”
‘I TAKE IT SERIOUS’
Yukon’s Shane Swearingen, owner of A-Z Towing, voiced support for the new ordinance approved by the city council because it provides regulation while supporting local businesses.
“I moved our towing company here in 2009 and it was just in 2019 we realized there wasn’t an ordinance for this,” Swearingen told council members. “We were always under the impression that, in Yukon, you had to be in the city limits.”
When A-Z Towing acquired X-Clusive Collision’s wrecker service, the company bought its wreckers and hired its drivers.
“We’ve been here a long time, and I take it serious,” Swearingen said. “So, we added more wreckers. … We have more conventional wreckers, we have flat-bed wreckers (and) we have the ‘heavy’ wreckers. We have a complete system.
“At this time, we have more wreckers at our facility here in Yukon than all three companies that were here six years ago, five years ago.”
A-Z Towing is in the 1400 block of Lakeshore Drive – within the City of Yukon.
“Being in Yukon and having a facility here, we buy into the city,” said Swearingen, who grew up in Yukon. “Everything we purchase here to operate (including fuel) stays in Yukon.
“We buy as much here as we can, and you’re not going to get that with companies in Oklahoma City.”
A-Z’s personnel “live here” and many “grew up here,” he added.
Swearingen referred to issues of having Oklahoma City wrecker service providers coming into Yukon.
“Right now, it’s a dangerous game,” he reasoned. “Any company that wants on rotation will get an attorney. We just saw it.
“If Oklahoma City companies start coming here, you’re going to see wreckers parked at gas stations, truck stops and Walmart … waiting on a wreck. Because they don’t live here. They don’t office here. So, they’re going to have somebody on call that night who’s just waiting and hanging out.”
Two wrecker service companies are not allowed to share one facility under state Department of Public Safety (DPS) regulations.
“But they (DPS) don’t have the manpower to enforce it right now,” Swearingen noted.
Under the newly approved ordinance, wrecker service providers on the YPD’s rotation list must:
- Meet Oklahoma Department of Public Safety licensing requirements.
- Maintain a safe and secure storage facility to protect stored vehicles,
- Provide service 24 hours per day, every day,
- Arrive on scene within 20 minutes of the call for service,
- Clear streets of all any debris when dispatched to accident scenes, and
- Maintain a timed log of each police call received.
The rotation system does not apply when vehicle owners or drivers designate the wrecker service to be called for towing.