This is sickening…
As much as I love cars, there is no vehicle on God’s green earth I love more than one of my children. That’s why to hear about Volkswagen’s roadside assistance refusing to give police the location of a vehicle taken from a mother at gunpoint, with her toddler in the backseat, for 16 minutes fills me with fury. There is no excuse for what happened.
Check out vintage VW Beetle trailer footage here.
First, the facts as we know them. According to a report from Chicago Tribune, a pregnant mother was carjacked while unloading her two children from her Volkswagen Atlas late on February 23, the thug not letting her get her 2-year-old son out of the backseat, then she was run over by the carjacker.
Lake County sheriff’s detectives contacted Volkswagen’s Car-Net service to get the location of the stolen vehicle. However, the company refused to provide that information to law enforcement until it was paid a $150 fee to reactivate the service.
Around 16 minutes after police arrived at the victim’s house, the stolen VW Atlas and a stolen BMW pulled into a business’ parking lot and the 2-year-old boy was “turned out” from the SUV. Thankfully, a woman in the business saw what happened and ran out, ensuring the child wasn’t run over, abducted again, etc.
While locating the stolen Volkswagen Atlas might not have resulted in a quicker resolution to the child abduction, it’s disturbing to realize Car-Net refused to help until its palm was greased, even after it was explained that an abducted child was in the vehicle. Again, I can’t think of many things more despicable than that kind of response.
Chicago Tribune did get a response from Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies about the whole incident: “Volkswagen has a procedure in place with a third-party provider for Car-Net Support Services involving emergency requests from law enforcement. They have executed this process successfully in previous incidents.” He went on to explain, “Unfortunately, in this instance, there was a serious breach of the process. We are addressing the situation with the parties involved.”
When law enforcement calls and says a child or even an adult has been abducted in a vehicle with a factory tracking system, automakers and their contracted service providers absolutely shouldn’t demand money to do the right thing in the moment. In those situations minutes can be the difference between life and death. Volkswagen can release all the carefully-worded statements it wants, but the company needs to do more to ensure parents that they won’t face this kind of situation. After all, who does the automaker think are most interested in the Atlas?
Source: Chicago Tribune
Images via Volkswagen