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Snow Causes Cost Concerns for Stuck, Abandoned Vehicles

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The snow has caused difficult driving conditions-- so tough that many drivers are left with no choice but to abandon their cars.
Springfield's Estaphany Reyes was on her way to school Tuesday afternoon.

"I thought it was going to be fine, thought it was just snow," said Reyes.

Near Glenstone and Battlefield, her car lost traction, spinning out of control until it hit a makeshift wall and landed in a ditch.

"No injuries at all," Reyes said. "Really thankful for that."

The damage was minor- scratches to the body of the car and a stuck car.  Photojournalist John Gerding and I gave Reyes' car an extra push to get it out of the ditch. But not everyone is so lucky.

Your car stuck in a ditch can be a hassle and deciding to abandon your car is a tough decision. But how much does it cost to get your car back?

Most towing companies in Springfield charge around $50 dollars to get your car out a ditch and to drive it to a location within the city.

"Most people are calling in for wench outs with their car stuck, or with the cold weather the cars break down a lot more too," said Hayes Gozia, Manager of Premier Towing.

Gozia said Tuesday morning, Premier Towing responded to 15 calls regarding cars stuck in ditches, and projects an increase in the coming days.

"I would say 30 to 40 percent more," Gozia said.

Owners of cars abandoned on city streets have about 48 hours before it will be towed by police. However, if an abandoned car creates a hazard to traffic or safety of drivers, it could be towed immediately.

"Blockage, causing traffic backups, maybe causing people to have to break suddenly because of the blockage in the roadway," said Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer at the Springfield Police Department. "We just don't want additional accidents to happen because of that."

Cars tagged and towed by the Springfield Police Department can be found in the Premier Towing inpound lot. It costs about $40 for towing, and $12 for each day a vehicle lives at the lot. After 60 days, it will be taken to a wreckage yard to be sold as individual parts.  A good reason to not drive at all if you can avoid it.

"If they actually must be out there, to leave plenty of room between you vehicle in front of you, slow down, and be very alert, and prepare for other people to make mistakes," Cox said.

Cox said police aren't actively looking for abandoned vehicles to tag and tow. She said as long as you are taking action to handle your car situation, the police will let you do your thing.
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