Fatal Tow Truck Driver Had History of Unsafe Driving, Lacked Permits

By now, you’ve doubtless heard the sad story of Olivia Gamboa. The 47 year old Metro bus driver was killed yesterday in a horrific crash that involved an out-of-control tow truck and a 7-11. You can read all of the details of the crash in our headlines round up. It kind of makes me ill to write about it.

Olivia Gamboa, RIP. Image via The Source

However, it wasn’t until yesterday evening that NBC 4 broke the news that the tow truck driver, Yousef Adhami, has a history of unsafe driving and no longer has a valid driver’s license. In fact, the tow truck company Adhami owns, Adhami’s Hermosa Beach Towing, does not have a permit to legally operate in California.

Let’s count the number of warning flags in Mr. Adhami’s record:

1. Adhami does not have a current driver’s license.

2. Adhami’s license was suspended four times between 2009 and today

3. Adhami’s Hermosa Beach Towing does not have a license to operate

As awful as yesterday’s crash was, as we mourn we must also take a moment to realize that this crash was avoidable, and not just if Adhami had a shred of responsibility, but if we as a society took traffic safely seriously.

How is this man allowed to own tow trucks or a tow truck company? What gap in the system doesn’t have this man’s property “temporarily” confiscated when he owns a towing company and operates trucks without a license or permit. Adhami will doubtless face some jail time, the short arm of traffic law tends to come down on unsafe drivers unlucky enough to star in a media story, but the system already let down Gamboa…and likely continues to let down the rest of us.

How many have to die before serial traffic violators are treated as the criminals they are before they kill someone?

  • Anonymous

    In addition to what is suggested in this article, I think we need special, stricter penalties for tow truck drivers caught breaking traffic laws.

    Consider this: As a tow truck driver, you have a financial incentive to race to the scene of an illegally parked vehicle before its owner can move it. And you’re going to do so in a 5+ ton vehicle capable of causing massive property destruction, injury, and death. We need equally strong incentives for tow truck drivers NOT to break traffic laws as they drive to the scene.

    In the 3 years I’ve been in LA so far, I’ve witnessed tow truck drivers breaking traffic laws on many occasions. Once I saw one on Sunset in Echo Park driving through red lights and speeding so egregiously that I tried to follow him to take down his licence plate, and I literally could not keep up with him to do it.

    I hope this tragedy serves as a wakeup call that we need to be paying a lot more attention to the behavior of tow truck drivers. Olivia Gamboa’s death was needless and tragic, but lets not let it be completely in vain.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a massive breakdown in our regulatory system that should be addressed as soon as possible and as thoroughly impossible. An avoidable “accident”.

  • Erik Griswold

    He also “led police on a high-speed chase while living in Ohio, driving 69 mph in a 35 mph zone, records show. Officers finally cornered Adhami in a cornfield, where he falsely claimed to have a bomb strapped to his body.”

    Sorry, why is this man, if he is not a citizen, in the USA still?

  • HighNoon

    This doesn’t really strike me as an immigration issue.

  • Erik Griswold

    If he is in the country on a visa it is. Or it will be made one.

  • keith

    And I’m guessing he’s not the only tow operator zipping around town hooking up illegally parked cars but: without a license, a permit or any insurance & the no one from the state/city’s going to go chasing after bandit tow trucks.

  • name

    he is a US citizen born and raised in America. If his name is not an American name, it does not mean he is not American.

  • HighNoon

    Actually, it isn’t – like I said.

  • tom

    check out the daily breeze.. you can read everything theyre very accurate



Why Is the Press Giving LAPD a Pass on Adhami Crash?

Last Friday, the Daily Breeze released the terrifying details of Yousef Adhami’s driving record, including details of the four license suspensions and high-speed-chase he led police on in 2008. That such a man is allowed to drive at all, much less drive professionally and own an impounding service, remains a sure sign that America and […]