Tow-truck driver: Man whose illegally parked car caused Sky Harbor incident was 'embarrassed' & 'scared'

This is the rental car abandoned at the passenger drop-off at Sky Harbor Sunday morning.. (Source: Richard Polanco Jr./3TV/CBS 5)

Thousands of people were affected and more than 100 flights canceled or delayed all thanks to one man's careless decision to leave his rental car unattended in one of Sky Harbor Airport's passenger drop-off zones.

The man who towed the rental car illegally parked at Terminal 4 said the driver was "embarrassed."

Richard Polanco Jr. owns Alliance Towing and talked with the 29-year-old driver who told him he left his rental car for "10 to 15 minutes" to help his 19-year-old girlfriend.

"He said he left his car there so that way he could help his girlfriend check in," Polanco said. "She was having problems. And he decided to leave the car there and came back and noticed the police were all around his car."

"He was just saying that he was scared," Polanco continued. "Now he has a bunch of things to deal with and that he couldn't believe leaving the car there for such a small amount of time led to an airport closure."

The man apparently told Polanco he didn't even look at the many signs warning drivers to not wait or park in the passenger drop-off zone.

Polanco shared photos of that rental car Monday.

"When I first got there, the car looked like a brand new car and when I got there the second time, all four windows -- the two on the driver [side and] two on the passenger [side] -- had been blown out. The trunk was ripped open and the hood was ripped open," Polanco said, also explaining how he had to wait hours before he could tow the car.

Police told Polanco the K-9 bomb dogs had a track on something, so they took extra precautions.

It turns out there was no threat and the false alarm led to a lot of frustrated travelers.

"I wasn't shocked to get the call to tow a car, but for the airport to actually be shut down because of something like that?" Palanco said. "Like I said, I've been here for 10 years doing that and never had we had anything like that before so it was pretty crazy."

Police didn't release the name of the driver who only faces a $52 parking violation ticket and is responsible for the $75 towing fee.

"It's worth it to pay for the garage and read the signs," Palanco added.

Police are not pursuing other charges against the driver who left the vehicle but would not specify why.

Officers also wouldn't explain what made the car suspicious because it's considered "sensitive security information." Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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