Community marches in support of towing accident victim

Elias Konwufine's friends, family say tow truck driver was reckless, negligent

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:23:53 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 20 2013 08:47:58 PM EST
Tow Truck Death March
LAUDERHILL, Fla. -

A community is expressing concern after a man was killed while trying to stop his car from being towed, saying tow truck drivers have long been too aggressive with residents.

According to authorities, Elias Konwufine died Wednesday in the Sienna Green Condo complex in Lauderhill after approaching a tow truck driver who was preparing to move his vehicle.

On Saturday night, Konwufine's neighbors met to swap grievances about the towing company the Sienna Greens Homeowner Association contracts.

"One of them nearly went to shoot me," said one resident. "They're very aggressive in the neighborhood. You can't even leave your car one second."

The group gathered contact information on a bank of computers and notarized witness statements on the spot.

Earlier Saturday, several people in the community marched in support of Konwufine, the dean of Keiser University's business school. Konwufine’s friends and family told Local 10's Christina Vazquez they believe the driver was reckless and negligent, and they want to take action against the towing company.

As police continue their investigation, the group said it is trying to put pressure on police to dig deeper to determine whether the driver followed regulations. To deliver their message, the group chanted while marching the two miles from Konwufine’s home in Sienna Greens to the Lauderhill Police Station.

“We want a fair and thorough investigation,” one man said. “We don't want it to be swept under the rug.”

Elias-Konwufine-march

People said they don’t think police have done enough to investigate how the professor and father of three died.

“And if you can't park in front of your own house, where else can you park?” the man said.

The group also questions the narrative provided by police and Ken, the tow truck driver who spoke with Local 10 Friday, but didn’t want his face shown on camera.

Ken said he was driving when Konwufine was run over by his own car outside the Sienna Green Condos in Lauderhill on Wednesday night.

“I didn't know I ran him over with his car. I thought his tire just got him,” the tow truck driver said. “I’m sorry for the family. It just hurts.”

The explanation is not enough for people who knew the victim. Konwufine's friends are challenging his account with character witnesses, who describe the professor as a soft-spoken family man with a big heart.

“Anyone who has met this guy (knows) he's a very classy guy,” said one man.

Elias-Konwufine

Attorneys for the family drew attention to the towing company's notorious reputation with residents.

“The tow truck company has been badgering this community for years, badgering the community to make a buck. And now he's dead,” said Dean Freeman, an attorney for the family.

“This harassment and atmosphere of aggression has led to the death of a man and that should never happen over a single tow,” said co-counsel Vidian Mallard.

“He will be missed. He will be missed by not just us but the entire community and all of those whose lives he has touched,” the family friend said.

Neighbors said they have plans to establish a web site to collect donations for Konwufine's wife and three children.

A candlelight vigil in Lauderhill was planned for 7 p.m. Sunday.