404.05  IMPOUNDING OF VEHICLES; REDEMPTION.
   (a)   Law enforcement officers are authorized to provide for the removal and impounding of a vehicle under the following circumstances:
      (1)   When any vehicle is left unattended upon any street, bridge or causeway and is so illegally parked so as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the normal movement of traffic, or so as to unreasonably interfere with street cleaning or snow removal operations;
      (2)   When any vehicle or abandoned junk motor vehicle, as defined in Ohio R.C. 4513.63, is left on private property for more than 72 consecutive hours without the permission of the person having the right to the possession of the property, or on a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking, or upon or within the right-of-way of any road or highway, for 48 consecutive hours or longer;
      (3)   When any vehicle has been stolen or operated without the consent of the owner and is located upon either public or private property;
      (4)   When any vehicle displays illegal license plates or fails to display the current lawfully required plates and is located upon any public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking;
      (5)   When any vehicle has been used in or connected with the commission of a felony and is located upon either public or private property;
      (6)   When any vehicle has been damaged or wrecked so as to be inoperable or violates equipment provisions of this Traffic Code whereby its continued operation would constitute a condition hazardous to life, limb or property and is located upon any public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking;
      (7)   When any vehicle is left unattended either on public or private property due to the removal of an ill, injured or arrested operator, or due to the abandonment thereof by the operator during or immediately after pursuit by a law enforcement officer;
      (8)   When any vehicle has been operated by any person who has failed to stop in case of an accident or collision and is located either on public or on private property;
      (9)   When any vehicle has been operated by any person who is driving without a lawful license or while his or her license has been suspended or revoked, and is located upon a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking;
      (10)   When any vehicle is found for which two or more citation tags for violations of this Traffic Code have been issued and the owner or operator thereof has failed to respond to such citation tags as lawfully required, and is located upon a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking;
      (11)   When any vehicle is left unattended upon any property and such stopped vehicle is preventing ingress or egress to or from such a property or use of buildings thereon, or a vehicle is parked in a fire lane or when a vehicle is parked in such a way as to prevent maintenance or repair of the property.
   (b)   Any vehicle removed under authority of division (a)(2) of this section shall be ordered into storage and/or disposed of as provided under Ohio  R.C. 4513.60 et seq.  Any other vehicle removed under authority of this section shall be ordered into storage and the  law enforcement agency shall forthwith notify the registered vehicle owner of the fact of such removal and impounding, reasons therefor and the place of storage. Any person desiring to redeem an impounded vehicle shall appear at the law enforcement agency offices to furnish satisfactory evidence of identity and ownership or right to possession. Prior to issuance of a release form, the claimant, owner or operator shall either pay the amount due for any fines for violations on account of which such vehicle was impounded or, as the appropriate court may require, post a bond in an amount set by the court, to appear to answer to such violations. The pound operator shall release such vehicle upon the receipt of the release form and payment of all towage and storage charges.
   (c)   No owner or operator shall remove an impounded vehicle from the place of storage without complying with the above procedure. Possession of a vehicle which has been impounded and unlawfully taken from the place of storage, by the owner or operator, shall constitute prima facie evidence that it was so removed by the owner or operator.
   (d)   Any person who registers a complaint that is the basis of a law enforcement agency order for the removal and storage of a motor vehicle under this section shall provide the identity of the law enforcement agency with which the complaint was registered to any person who identifies himself or herself as the owner or operator of the motor vehicle and requests information pertaining to its location.
   (e)   Any towing company authorized to response to calls for service from the law enforcement agency in the City must provide an impound lot lawfully operated as a full-time facility where any and all vehicles towed as a result of a law enforcement agency request must be impounded pending further disposition of the vehicle in conjunction with the vehicle owner, his or her agent, or an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.
   (f)   Any towing company doing business in the City shall comply with the following requirements:
      (1)   The company shall have all licenses and permits required by the State for the operation of a towing business.
      (2)   The company shall provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
      (3)   The company shall maintain in operable condition at least three tow trucks, one of which shall be equipped to tow front-wheel drive vehicles, and a flatbed truck.  The company shall also own a motorcycle trailer or other acceptable means of carrying a motorcycle in an upright position.
      (4)   The company shall only utilize towing vehicles that meet or exceed all legal requirements.
      (5)   The company shall only employ and utilize drivers who have and maintain the appropriate Ohio driver's license.
      (6)   The company, or its agent or employees, shall not respond to the scene of an accident or a possible tow, unless dispatched thereto by the law enforcement agency requesting the tow or unless engaged by a third person having a direct interest in the vehicle or vehicles involved.
      (7)   The company shall be responsible for cleaning all debris on the roadway resulting from an accident from which vehicles are towed.
      (8)   While towing vehicles pursuant to this section, the company, or its agents and employees, shall at all times act in a courteous and professional manner towards members of the public.
      (9)   All towing motor vehicles shall have the company name displayed in letters no less than six inches high.
      (10)   A violation of any provision of this section may result in revocation of the City permit, as deemed necessary by the Director of Public Service.
(Ord. 96-5.  Passed 4-23-96.)