Victims Required to Pay City $2,000 to Recover Cars After Violent Carjacking

( – After suffering a reportedly violent hijacking, a family from Washington, D.C., has to pay authorities thousands of dollars to retrieve their vehicle from a police impound. The Terrell family experienced the carjacking while Michelle Terrell’s husband worked a food delivery job. As Terrell’s husband returned to their family’s home, a car thief threatened him with a gun and stole the family’s vehicle. The initial hijacking incident occurred in November 2023, resulting in months of hardship for the Terrell family.

Police began searching for the Terrells’ car shortly after the incident but failed to find any leads until January 2024, when they recovered the vehicle. Authorities attempted to inform the Terrell family about the car’s recovery but sent mail to the wrong address. Michelle Terrell eventually discovered the letter detailing the authorities’ recovery of the vehicle, prompting the Terrell family to travel to the local impound lot to retrieve their SUV. Despite losing the car in a carjacking, authorities refused to give the Terrell family the SUV before they paid a $2,000 fee.

Authorities charged the Terrell family $2,000 for towing and storage costs related to the SUV and also sought more money for a speeding ticket that occurred after the carjacker stole the vehicle. Police reportedly had camera footage of the speeding incident but failed to report the car’s location to the Terrell family despite it being stolen weeks earlier. After Michelle Terrell had discussed the speeding ticket and the abnormally high recovery fee, authorities agreed to lower the cost but didn’t remove it altogether.

Despite the circumstances surrounding the vehicle’s theft and recovery, the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles indicated that the Terrell family should pay the fines and suffer the consequences of the carjacking. According to a spokesperson with the city department, the Terrell family would’ve received notice about their car’s recovery sooner had they properly updated their address and other relevant information. The $2,000 fee is likely due to the car remaining impounded for so long, for which the department seemingly blames the Terrell family.

Although the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles seemingly blames the Terrell family for the high recovery fee and the communication mishap, the department confirmed it would reexamine the circumstances surrounding the Terrell family’s vehicle. Michelle Terrell discussed the incident with various media outlets, confirming her family’s car remained impounded. Michelle Terrell then said that she’d been victimized for a second time.

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