Philadelphia motorists know that it often seems like private tow truck operators know about traffic accidents before even the police do. On Friday, federal prosecutors offered an explanation as to why at least one local towing service often got the jump on the competition.
It was an illegal edge, too, according to U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, who announced the 10-count grand jury indictment of a Philadelphia police dispatcher, along with the operators of a Frankford-based towing company.
According to Memeger, dispatcher Dorian Parsley, 44, of Philadelphia, texted real-time confidential accident information to drivers for K&B Auto Body in exchange for weekly cash payments for the better part of three years. Others named in the indictment include K&B owner William Cheeseman, 42, of Delran, N.J., and two of the company’s drivers, Stepfon Flowers, 24, and Chad Harris, 22, both of Philadelphia.
“Between February 2011 and December 2013, Parsley used her position as a civilian radio dispatcher to provide confidential police information, such as locations of automobile accidents, locations of PPD squad cars and vehicle registration information, to tow truck operators who provided her with cash bribe payments. Stepfon Flowers, who worked for K&B Auto Body in Philadelphia, allegedly paid Parsley $100 to $150 weekly for the confidential information.”
According to the Philadelphia Police Department, Parsley was a civilian employee for 16 years. Commissioner Charles Ramsey suspended her for 30 days, after which he plans to fire her in accordance with contractual protocol. The charges against the four include conspiracy, honest services fraud, bribery and aiding and abetting. ••