Elderly woman forgotten inside towed vehicle, injured trying to escape

Published 14.01.2020 23:08
Updated 15.01.2020 00:17

Tow trucks once again made the news in Istanbul Monday when an 85-year-old woman who had gone unnoticed by a tow truck operator hurt herself trying to escape the vehicle.

The incident, which was captured by nearby security footage, took place Sunday afternoon in the district of Kadıköy on the city's Asian side. The driver of the illegally parked vehicle, Çiğdem Cingi, reportedly pulled over for a brief period to pay a bill while her mother Leyla Çetinkal waited inside the car.

The CCTV footage shows that soon after Cingi left, a towing truck arrived on the scene and immediately began to lift the vehicle. Çetinkal, apparently panicked, tried to leave the car as it was being lifted up on the winch to be placed over the truck's flatbed. The footage ends with passersby rushing over to help the old woman, who fell on her right side in a nasty fall.

Suffering fractures to her hip, right arm and leg, Çetinkal was rushed to the nearby Sultan Abdülhamid Han Training and Research Hospital. Her broken right shin-bone needs to be replaced with a platinum prosthesis, a risky operation for an 85-year-old.

Çingi told reporters that she was only gone for two minutes before she heard cries as she left the store. "The police officer who was on duty working with the tow truck operator tried to stop me from calling the police hotline at that point," Çingi said, adding she would press charges against both the tow truck driver and police officer.

Çetinkal said she knocked on the window but the tow truck driver did not hear her.

Incidents between tow truck operators and drivers, especially over the hefty towing fines meted out, have long been a source of controversy in Istanbul, where traffic often brings the city's highways and central districts to a standstill.

As recently as December, Turkey's Interior Ministry announced new measures aimed at better regulating illegal parking, instructing the relevant authorities to resort more to monetary fines over towing vehicles.

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