A Dallas towing company has agreed to pay $50,000 as part of an settlement reached with the Justice Department regarding allegations the company illegally sold five service members’ vehicles, Justice announced today.
Justice officials filed the initial complaint Sept. 28, 2020 alleging United Tows, LLC, auctioned off the vehicles without obtaining court orders, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. One vehicle belonged to now-Senior Airman Fassil Mekete, who was was attending Air Force basic training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, in 2017.
According to Justice officials, when Mekete found out his vehicle had been towed, he contacted United Tows and told them he was out of town on active duty. However, the owner told him she didn’t believe he was in the military; and the company sold his 1998 Toyota Corolla at auction. Before leaving for basic training, Mekete had received permission from the owner of a martial arts studio to leave his car and some personal belongings in the studio’s parking lot, since he no longer had a lease in Dallas.
A subsequent investigation revealed that United Tows allegedly illegally sold at least four other vehicles belonging to service members between Oct. 4, 2014 and April 26, 2019.
Under the proposed settlement, which was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, United Tows must pay Mekete $20,000. The settlement must be approved by the court.
The four other service members will share an additional $20,000 from United Tows, and the company will pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury.
Officials at United Tows, LLC and their attorneys didn’t immediately answer Military Times’ requests for comment. However, the proposed settlement states, “The parties agree that, to avoid costly and protracted litigation, the claims against Defendant should be resolved without further proceedings or an evidentiary hearing.”
United Tows “not only disregarded the legal rights of service members, it made hurtful and dismissive comments about a member’s military service,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in an announcement Friday.
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Last year brought the end to more than 20 vehicles. Halfway into 2021, automakers have already announced nine models headed toward indefinite retirement for the 2022 model year. Some, like the Volvo V60 and V90 wagons, will see parts of themselves live on. And arguably the best version of Hyundai’s Veloster will continue. Others, like the Volkswagen Passat and Honda Clarity are getting booted to make room for more electrified lineups in the future.
The Honda Clarity EV was discontinued in 2020, killing the only fully electric Honda in the United States market. And now, the remaining plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell versions are gone too. Honda says the Clarity will be available as a lease through 2022, with Clarity FCV leases limited to California. The Clarity’s departure leaves the Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai as the only two FCVs available in the U.S. By that, we mean only in California. Although Clarity sales nearly matched the Chevrolet Bolt in 2019, last year wasn’t as fruitful with just 1617 units moved. The Clarity FCV qualifies for up to $5000 in California Clean Vehicle rebates, an HOV lane pass, and a fuel card for $15,000 worth of hydrogen fueling from Honda. The silver lining here is that Honda is likely making room for new models as part of their plan to sell only battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2040.
The compact-car segment loses another player to team SUV. Hyundai’s beloved three-door hatchback is outta here. Although one of the cheapest cars sold today is leaving us, the 275-hp Veloster N lives on (at least for another year) while the Korean automaker shifts focus to its more popular Kona and Venue SUVs. And we’ll remind you that the Veloster N, equipped with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission we tested last year, was the second-quickest front-wheel-drive car we’ve ever tested. Just 2205 Velosters have been sold in the first six months of 2021. That pales in comparison to current Kona sales at 50,996. The Venue has moved 15,050 units, outselling the Accent and the Ioniq. Now that Hyundai is busy engineering new rides for its all-electric E-GMP platform, there’s not much room for models that don’t sell. Next year there will be just four cars in Hyundai’s 10-model lineup.
Back in 2015 we fit six all-wheel-drive subcompact crossovers into a former staffer’s backyard because they were toylike and well, his backyard was a big playground. The Mazda CX-3 won big in that snack-size comparison test. It beat the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, Kia Soul, Fiat 500X, and the Chevrolet Trax. Unfortunately, in 2022, the CX-3 is the loser. Even in a package with less cargo space than its smallest sedan and hatchback, Mazda’s suspension tuning was optimized for low body roll without turning the ride into a pogo stick. Its biggest
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The auto industry’s push into electric vehicles has gained traction this year with sales of these models growing at a faster clip than the broader U.S. car business.
While still a sliver of the overall market, sales of plug-in vehicles more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared with last year, when the pandemic sapped sales. That far outpaced the 29% rise for total vehicle sales, according to research firm Wards Intelligence.
The biggest factor driving the gains was
continued dominance in electrics. Tesla’s U.S. sales rose 78% through June this year, according to an estimate from research firm Motor Intelligence. The increase was helped by Tesla’s Model Y crossover SUV, which has quickly become the company’s top seller since being introduced last year. Tesla is scheduled to report second-quarter financial results Monday.
Other new offerings from traditional auto makers, such as
Ford Motor Co.
’s Mustang Mach-E SUV and
ID.4, also helped push sales of plug-in electric vehicles to over 3% of the total U.S. market in May and June, the highest ever recorded, according to industry data.
Auto companies collectively are spending $330 billion over the next five years to bring more plug-in models to showrooms, according to consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.
Now, the big question looming over the car business is whether consumers are ready to buy them.
Longer driving ranges and a wider variety of body styles and price points are helping garner interest in plug-in cars from more car shoppers, dealers and analysts say. But hurdles remain, including higher sticker prices and a deficit of places to charge them.
Auto executives in recent months have said they believe consumer interest in the technology is rising and should help speed the transition.
In the U.S. market—which lags behind Europe and China in electric-vehicle adoption—executives also are encouraged by the Biden administration’s plans to support plug-in cars through charging-station investment and consumer incentives.
chief executive of global auto maker
NV, said the pace at which drivers make the switch to electrics will depend on regulations and consumer awareness.
“The more the public opinion becomes sensitive to the global-warming issue and how to fix it, the more we can expect a very strong acceleration,” Mr. Tavares said to journalists this week.
Stellantis, which owns Jeep, Ram and other auto brands, recently joined other global auto makers in outlining big investment plans for electric cars and battery plants.
General Motors Co.
, Ford and
each have said they are earmarking tens of billions of dollars on the transition during this decade.
said it is preparing to sell only electrics by 2030 but would respond to market demands.
“The EV shift is picking up speed, especially in the luxury segment,”
The company does not have a fix for the problem that has been tied to at least nine fires nationwide since early 2020. The new fix will likely involve replacing battery modules orperhaps the entire battery pack, said GM spokesperson Dan Flores.
GM and federal safety regulators are providing steps that Bolt owners should take before their cars can be repaired. These include not parking it in a garage or next to another structure such as a home or other building due to the risk of a fire spreading. All the fires occurred when the cars were parked, and there were two reports of injuries.
The Bolt is the only EV that GM currently sells in North America, though it has other EVs it sells elsewhere, including China. US sales of the Bolt have been climbing rapidly, rising 142% to 20,000 in the first six months of this year compared with the first half of 2020. The model year 2020 and 2021 Bolts have a newer type of battery than the ones that caught fire.
This latest fire risk is comes just as GM is trying to expand its EV business.
Over the next four years, GM plans to invest $35 billion to unveil 30 different electric vehicles, 20 of them slated for the US market alone. The company has saiditexpects to be selling 1 million EVs annually by 2025 and has set a goal of selling only emission-free vehicles by 2035.
The new versions of the Bolt, the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV debuted earlier this year. The GMC Hummer EV pickup is due to go on sale later this year, and the Cadillac Lyriq, the luxury brand’s first EV, is scheduled to hit dealerships late next year.
GM first announced a recall of the affected Bolts in November 2020 but, then as now, it said it did not know how to fix the problem. In May it announced a software repair but then there were two fires involving vehicles that got that software fix, prompting the latest recall.
Battery packs are the most expensive component of an electric vehicle, and replacing them could prove very costly. Hyundai recalled 82,000 electric cars globally earlier this year to replace their batteries after 15 reports of fires involving the vehicles, at a cost of about $11,000 per vehicle.
Other steps that Chevy Bolt owners can take to reduce the risk of fire until a new fix is decided include keeping it below an estimated remaining 70-mile range where possible. Owners also should also set their vehicle to the 90% state-of-charge limitation either using Hilltop Reserve mode in the 2017 and 2018 model years or the Target Charge Level mode in the 2019 model year.
Or they can bring their vehicle to a dealership to make that change ahead of the replacement work.
All nine fires occurred in the United States, where nearly 51,000 of the recalled Bolts are located. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said there
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – No one was hurt after a vehicle ended up in a pool in Colorado on Thursday afternoon.
Police in Lakewood say the incident occurred when a teen driver accidentally put the vehicle — an Infiniti — in reverse. The driver and the adult passenger got out safely. The teen driver has been cited for careless driving.
Police thanked fire crews for helping with the follow-up work, as well as a local towing company that assisted officers in getting the car out of the water.
The incident, while serious, also inspired a few “carpool” jokes on Twitter. But the Lakewood Police offered up their own knee-slapper, which they deemed to be the best possible one-liner.
“Just FYI, the best line for this is ‘Check out our new Infiniti Pool.’ Everyone else is battling for second place.”
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee asked for the public’s help in identifying a silver sedan used in a Friday night drive-by shooting that left six-year-old Nyiah Courtney dead.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee, flanked by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at a Saturday afternoon news conference, asked for the public’s help to identify a silver sedan used in a Friday night drive-by shooting that left six-year-old Nyiah Courtney dead.
Contee also said a reward no less than $60,000 is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest in the crime that killed the girl and wounded five others.
“Together we will do whatever it takes to close this case in a swift and professional manner,” Contee said.
Contee said Nyiah would have been starting the first grade this fall. “And now that won’t happen,” he said.
He urged the community to come together to curb the ongoing gun violence in the city.
“We have a collective responsibility to ensure our children have every opportunity to be safe from violence. I am asking that we all stand together and say no more. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Contee said.
Police released a video Saturday showing a silver sedan driving through the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X avenues in Congress Heights at approximately 11 p.m. Friday. Contee described the event as “a drive-by shooting.”
In total, six people were shot, including Nyiah Courtney, who was taken to a hospital where she would be pronounced dead. Three men and two women were also taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
Contee and Bowser urged city residents to help police identify the owner of the vehicle, its driver and other passengers.
“We ask that people take a moment to see if they recognize the car and provide tips or information to bring closure for Nyiah,” Contee said.
Justice for Nyiah was the news conference theme.
“We know from past instances that the community can help us close cases by sharing information or simply reposting images,” he added.
The FBI and the ATF are partnering with D.C. police to help identify the shooter. The agencies also contributed towards the reward.
During the news conference officials acknowledged they did not yet know what the motive for the shooting was.
Community members attending the news conference said they wanted more from the police.
“I charged the police with a simple thing,” Bowser said. “What I believe is we don’t let people get away with murder in our town. We have to stand up against it. We don’t let anybody get away with murder. And we don’t do street justice because then other innocent people get caught up in it. Law enforcement is responsible for arresting and ensuring justice.”
FIRES. ALRIGHT KATIE. THANK YOU BREAKING NEWS FROM OVERNIGHT IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI POLICE SHOT AT A PERSON DURING A TRAFFIC STOP IN THE NORTHEAST SIDE OF TOWN. THIS HAPPENED JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT NEAR INDEPENDENCE AVENUE AND EWING POLICE TRIED TO LLPU OVER A CAR THERE, BUT THAT VEHICLE APPROACHED OFFICERS DROVE TOWARD THEM AND THEY SHOT AT IT THE CAR THEN DROVE OFFPSTO WINCHESTER THE MAN INSIDE GOT OUT AND RAN AFTER A SHORT CHASE POLICE DID TAKE HIM INTO CUSTODY EMS ALSO RESPONDED FATHER THAT THAT MAN WASOT N HIT BY GUNFIRE OR OTHERWISE INJURED. AND RELEASED HIM BACK INTO POLICE CUSTODY DETECTIVES ARE NOW INVESTIGATING THE M
Kansas City police say officers shot at man when vehicle continued to approach them during traffic stop
Updated: 7:39 AM CDT Jul 18, 2021
The Kansas City Police Department said officers shot at a man when a vehicle continued to approach them during a traffic stop early Sunday morning on the city’s northeast side.KCPD said the incident happened just after midnight Sunday morning near Independence and Ewing avenues. Police said they tried to pull over a car, but the vehicle approached officers, and then they shot at it.Police said the car drove off, stopping near 12th Street and Winchester Avenue, when the man inside got out and ran.After a short chase, police said they took the man into custody. EMS responded to the scene, found the man was not hit by gunfire or injured, and then released him back into police custody.Detectives are investigating the moments that led up to officers firing their weapons.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
The Kansas City Police Department said officers shot at a man when a vehicle continued to approach them during a traffic stop early Sunday morning on the city’s northeast side.
KCPD said the incident happened just after midnight Sunday morning near Independence and Ewing avenues. Police said they tried to pull over a car, but the vehicle approached officers, and then they shot at it.
Police said the car drove off, stopping near 12th Street and Winchester Avenue, when the man inside got out and ran.
After a short chase, police said they took the man into custody. EMS responded to the scene, found the man was not hit by gunfire or injured, and then released him back into police custody.
Detectives are investigating the moments that led up to officers firing their weapons.
A Magnolia woman faces charges after police said she crashed into a Delaware State Police vehicle July 18 south of Dewey Beach.
Angela Robinson, 44, was driving a 2017 Lexus ES350 at 3:10 a.m. going northbound in the left lane of Route 1 near Conquest Road when she struck a fully marked Delaware State Police Tahoe operated by an 11-year veteran who was also driving in the left lane, said Sr. Cpl. Jason Hatchell of the Delaware State Police.
Hatchell said Robinson was traveling at a high rate of speed when she struck the rear of the state police Tahoe, causing the Lexus to exit the roadway. The Lexus slid through the grass center median, rotated counterclockwise about 90 degrees, and came to a rest in the median, Hatchell said. As a result of the impact, he said, the state police Tahoe was violently pushed forward until coming to rest in the northbound shoulder of Route 1. The trooper and Robinson were the sole occupants in their respective vehicles. The trooper was transported to Beebe Medical Center for nonlife-threatening injuries.
Robinson was not injured as a result of the collision. During the investigation, Hatchell said, police determined Robinson was operating her vehicle under the influence. She was transported to Troop 7 where she was charged with second-degree vehicular assault, driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, driving a vehicle at unreasonable or imprudent speed, and failure to have insurance identification in possession. She was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 3 and committed to to Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in default of $3,300 cash bond.
The northbound lanes of Route 1 were closed for about three hours while the collision was investigated and the roadway was cleared.
Anyone with information regarding this collision should contact Cpl./3 Argo with the Delaware State Police Troop 7 Collision Reconstruction Unit by calling 302-703-3264, or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.
Older vehicles with over 100,000 miles may be suddenly more valuable than their owners would have expected; they’re now selling considerably faster and for much more money amid growing demand.
Trucks have seen the largest increase of year-over-year average transaction prices, according to consumer site Edmunds, with the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150 taking the lead.
Owners of used vehicles of any vintage should check their car’s current value; chances are they could be worth much more than you think.
If you have a used vehicle in the driveway, you may be sitting on a pile of cash and not even know it. Influenced by the global chip shortage and ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an increased demand for used vehicles amid a shortage of new ones to buy.
The consumer website Edmunds has noted that high-mileage older vehicles, and used cars in general, are “selling faster and for more money than ever.” The same is true for used cars in general, as our family found out recently. In September 2017, we bought an entry-level 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage ES hatchback new for $9600, a significant discount from the MSRP, which was in the $13,000 range. Nearly four years later, with 18,266 miles on it, we sold the car to CarMax for $9400—just $200 under its original purchase price. The car was later listed at $12,998, essentially the same as MSRP.
Edmunds’ data shows that this was no fluke. Its analysts said the average transaction price for older, high-mileage vehicles sold at dealerships was up 31 percent year over year for vehicles with odometers reading from 100,000 to 109,999 miles. Where the average was $12,626 in June 2020, last month it climbed to $16,489. This set of vehicles also sold in an average of 30.5 days in June 2021 compared with 37.7 days in June 2020.
The Edmunds list of top 100,000-mile-plus sellers was led by the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, up 49 percent year over year with an average transaction price of $26,914, followed by the Ford F-150 at an average price of $25,924, up 43 percent, and the Ram 1500, up 42 percent with an average transaction price of $24,657. Filling out the top 10 were the Ford Escape; Honda Accord, Civic, and CR-V; Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler; and the Toyota Camry. All of the top 10 were at least 6.5 years old and some were more than eight years old.
Neal Coppola, general sales manager at Oregon dealership Tonkin Gresham Honda, has been in the auto industry since 2001 and told Car and Driver: “We’re adjusting inventory to people’s needs. A five-year-old SUV that used to be $20,000 is now $28,000 . . . [but] you need to backfill and still have that $20,000 car.” He adds with values escalating, the only way to do that is offering older and/or higher-mileage vehicles.
Coppola said the company is now forced to pay “scary dollar amounts” for auction or trade-in