7Investigates: Towing Trouble

(WHDH) — A hiccup on the highway takes a big financial toll on a local trucking company. 7 Investigates why that business was forced to pay thousands for a fix that should have cost a fraction of that.

“I was mad. I was upset,” said George Stacey, the owner of A&G Logistics, based in Hudson, NH.

Last month, his small operation hit a big financial pothole.

One of Stacey’s drivers was on Interstate 291 in Springfield when a piece of equipment on the back of the truck crashed to the ground. The driver pulled into the breakdown lane, and Stacey called his regular mechanic, hoping to get it fixed on the spot.

“But then a state trooper showed up,” Stacey said.

The trooper called in a towing company that has a contract with the state. And that’s when the breakdown became big bucks.

That towing company sent a flatbed, a big rig, and their own mechanic.

“So three vehicles for this one job,” Stacey said.

And to rev up the costs even higher, the towing company the State Police brought in said even though the truck was now fixed, Stacey’s driver couldn’t just drive it away. They said they had to tow the truck just off the highway and onto a side road – a distance of just a couple miles – and that’s where the truck would have to sit until Stacey paid them nearly $5,300.

“I don’t think it’s right that they choose for you, and you’re stuck with that, and you’re like a hostage,” Stacey said.

“It gave me heart palpitations,” Stacey said, referring to the final bill, with a laugh.

The heart-stopping bill shows charges for all three vehicles and for two to two-and-a-half hours of work for all three people. Stacey said only one worker was needed, and he fixed the truck in about one hour.

When asked how much it would have cost if he had handled the situation himself, Stacey replied, “I would say probably $400 or $500.”

State Police said the trooper was following procedure, and that “troopers allow drivers of disabled vehicles to use a tow company of their choosing unless the responding troopers determine that the location and position or condition of the vehicle present a public safety threat that must be cleared rapidly.”

State Police said the situation “necessitated” the truck being towed.

“We’re a small company, so to come up with that much money, $5,300, like that – it was difficult.”

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