Rohnert Park man fights Petaluma's 'crash tax' after wife's collision

Dave Albaugh was waiting to hear if his wife's car was repairable after a collision when he got an unexpected call from his insurance agent. She asked about a $550 bill to reimburse Petaluma for sending emergency personnel to the crash.

Albaugh, a retired Coast Guard lieutenant commander, was surprised, thinking his taxes already pay for such public services.

But the more he researched, the angrier he got. And he's not slowing down.

At issue is an "accident response fee" or "crash tax" that Petaluma charges nonresidents for sending fire and paramedic personnel to wrecks they cause.

Albaugh -- and some politicians and insurance companies -- say the charge is unfair, discriminatory and an illegal form of double taxation.

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