PHILADELPHIA — Federal prosecutors say a Philadelphia police sergeant took more than $20,000 in bribes to give two towing companies an unfair advantage at accident scenes.

Sgt. Brian Smith is accused of accepting weekly bribe payments over the course of 11 months in return for giving confidential information on accident locations to the tow truck drivers.

According to an indictment unsealed this week, Smith texted the drivers with advance notice of accidents before official calls were placed to the towing company next in line on the city’s rotating list.

The list was started in 2011 to fairly distribute business among Philadelphia’s licensed towers after a series of incidents of wreck chasing and violent encounters.

Smith pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges including bribery and lying to federal authorities.

His attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., calls the allegations unfortunate and says they hope to resolve the matter quickly.