Family of Elias Konwufine, Who Was Killed in Towing Incident, Files Lawsuit

Towing company, driver facing lawsuit in death of man run over by own car

Friday, Jan 25, 2013  |  Updated 8:04 AM EDT
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Rally Demands Accountability in Lauderhill Man's Towing Death

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The family of a South Florida man who was killed when he was run over by his own car in a towing incident has filed a lawsuit against the towing company.

Elias Konwufine, the 39-year-old dean of Keiser University's business school, died after he jumped onto the running boards of the tow truck outside his Lauderhill home last week and fell under the wheels of his car as it pulled away.

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Tow Truck Driver Details How Man Was Killed By Own Car

The dean of Keiser University's business school was run over and killed by his own car when he tried to stop it from being towed, Lauderhill police said. NBC 6 reporter Christina Hernandez interviews the tow truck driver and family and friends of Elias Konwufine, who died.

Rally Demands Accountability in Lauderhill Man's Towing Death

Cries of Justice for Dr. K were heard Saturday as a group of people marched toward the Lauderhill Police Department demanding "justice" for a man fatally run over by his own car in a towing incident. NBC 6 reporter Donna Rapado has the story. Among those interviewed are a friend, Andre Menyunga, and Vidian Mallard, an attorney who accompanied Saturday s group.
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The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Broward Circuit Court by Konwufine's family against Superior Lock & Roadside Assistance LLC, doing business as Capitol Towing, and the driver identified only as John Doe, according to the Miami Herald.

According to the lawsuit, Doe ignored Konwufine's pleas to stop the towing and "gunned" his truck, dragging Konwufine several hundred feet.

Konwufine "grabbed hold of the tow truck as it began to leave because as the tow truck left it swerved into him and was going to run him over," the complaint says, according to the Herald

When Konwufine couldn't hold on any longer, he fell under and was run over by the wheels of his Mercedes-Benz, the complaint says.

Konwufine was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died. The car was towed because it was parked in violation of a community policy, police said.

The lawsuit, which is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 for Konwufine's widow and three children, claims the driver never gave Konwufine an opportunity to pay a service fee as his car was in the process of being towed, as required by Florida law.

It also claims the driver "negligently failed to maintain control of his vehicle," and "failed to maintain a proper lookout for pedestrians."

The driver, who spoke with NBC 6 last week and only wanted to be identified by the name Ken, said he wasn't out to hurt anybody and was just doing his job.He said things went bad when Konwufine tried to stop him from driving away with his car.

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“We’re just doing our job,” the tow truck driver said. “You do what you got to do and tow the cars. It ain't about money.”

He said Konwufine jumped on the running board -- the stepping board used to get in the tow truck -- "and held onto my handle of the tow truck."

He said the car owner "started beating on the window to get in to stop me." The tow truck driver said he turned to look at the car owner as he slowed his tow truck and "saw him get back off the truck."

Next, he said he felt “a bump, not knowing he fell off the truck. His car ran him over.”

A woman answering the phone at Superior told the Herald she had nothing to say. According to the paper, the company's owners have had multiple lawsuits filed against their numerous towing companies, and Superior has earned an "F" rating from the Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau.

Lauderhill Police are still investigating Konwufine's death. A viewing and funeral will be held for Konwufine on Saturday at Fred Hunter Funeral Home in Hollywood, before his body is shipped to his native Cameroon for burial.

This past weekend, demonstrators held a rally in Lauderhill, where they pushed for a thorough investigation into the death.

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