Vehicles left on metro Atlanta interstates towed

A tow truck pulls an 18-wheeler out of a ditch in south Fulton County on Thursday.

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A tow truck pulls an 18-wheeler out of a ditch in south Fulton County on Thursday.

If you abandoned your vehicle on the interstate and did not go back to get it, the state did it for you.

Col. Mark McDonough, state commissioner of Public Safety, said that taxpayers would be on the hook for at least $50,000 in tow-company fees for about 500 vehicles that were either towed or moved off the roadways. He said the state had negotiated fees for most towing companies and it was the same whether they were towed to the impound lot or moved off the road for safety reasons, he said.

About 147 vehicles were towed Thursday night, he said.

McDonough said that the state was requesting that tow companies waive any storage fees, but wasn’t requiring them to do so. He said, however, the state was monitoring anything that appeared to be price gouging and had one towing company lower what had been a $230 bill. Overall, he said, the towing companies were lowering rates, noting the $100 was a reduced rate.

If someone is charged whose car was towed because of the winter storm conditions, he or she can be reimbursed by filling out a form available on the department of public safety website,

Those whose vehicles were towed from interstates should call 511 for assistance in locating the specific towing company.

A look at vehicle retrieval efforts in metro counties:

  • City of Atlanta: The Atlanta Police Department has towed less than 25 vehicles that were abandoned and impeding the flow of traffic. The department will people to retrieve vehicles left on the side of the road until Sunday at noon and then will begin towing those that remain. The Atlanta Police Department has waived vehicle impound fees as a courtesy to our citizens for any vehicle towed as a result of the winter storm. However, the normal fees will apply to those cars towed after the deadline. The Atlanta Police Property Unit is located at 3493 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy. 404-546-4330 The hours are 8:00a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

  • Cherokee County: The county's sheriff's office began at 4 p.m. Thursday towing any vehicles left in the roadway blocking the flow of traffic. Vehicles off to the side of roadways will not be towed, but owners should make plans to retrieve them as soon as possible, Lt. Jay Baker said. If your vehicle is towed, call 678-493-4080 to see where it was taken.

  • Cobb County: Police have been working with vehicle towing services to relocate a limited number of vehicles that were blocking the road or creating a significant hazard. In most cases, vehicles were moved within a few hundred feet of the location where they were abandoned. In some cases, vehicles had to be removed and taken to an impound yard. Vehicle owners will not be charged if their vehicle was towed at the request of Cobb police. Information on claiming towed vehicles from impound can be obtained by calling Cobb police headquarters at 770-499-3900.

  • DeKalb County: Some motorists already have paid to retrieve their cars from towing lots, but they will be reimbursed, said DeKalb police spokeswoman Mekka Parish. Those people affected should contact DeKalb's permit office at 404-297-3934. DeKalb uses five towing companies – Brown and Brown, South DeKalb, Statewide, S & W and Cymill. Parish said each has been notified that motorists should be given their cars free of charge. The deadline to pick them up is Friday at midnight.

  • Gwinnett County: Motorists retrieving their cars in Gwinnett County on Thursday may have found them gone. Spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said any vehicle that presented a road hazard was towed by one of three companies: Lance, which serves the West and East precincts, Statewide, serving the Central and South, and Willard for the northern areas.

  • North Fulton: Motorists have until 5 p.m. Sunday to retrieve their cars in Sandy Springs. As of Thursday afternoon, the city had towed about two dozen cars to A Tow at 11412 North Fulton Industrial Blvd. in Alpharetta, where motorists can retrieve their vehicles without charge. You need your car tag's number or vehicle identification number, proof of ownership and a driver's license. But not all has gone according to plan. A crash left Cotillion Drive, the access road next to I-285, blocked from N. Shallowford to N. Peachtree roads on Thursday afternoon.

The City of Alpharetta has ordered the removal of abandoned vehicles that are blocking travel lanes. The City has contracted with United Towing to tow the vehicles; however, the company is waving their lot fees and the towing charges are being paid by the City.

“At this time our largest obstacle to returning area roadways to normal operations is abandoned vehicles, so we must begin removing them,” said Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard. “At the same time, we know that the drivers of those vehicles have been through a lot in the last 36 hours, and we do not want to add to their frustration. We have to get the cars out of the travel lanes, but we will ensure that the drivers do not experience additional costs because of it.”

United Towing can be contacted at 770-751-0581. It is located at 1160 Tidwell Road in Alpharetta. The City also has authorized its Public Works Department to provide rides for those who need to get to their vehicles. Those needing assistance should call 678-297-6200 to make arrangements.

Owners of vehicles abandoned in Johns Creek rights of way should recover their cars or trucks over the weekend. Starting Monday, abandoned vehicles may be impounded at the owners’ expense.