Joseph and LeeLee Banks are team owner-operators who recently experienced a mishap on I-20 EB headed toward Lexington, S.C., in the Columbia area, navigating their rig to the median to avoid colliding with auto traffic up ahead that came to a swift, inexplicable halt.
The pair called “several towing companies,” LeeLee Banks says, to help their otherwise undamaged rig back out of the mud of the median. “We were told that it should have flipped.” There were “angels,” she says, “holding up the trailer.”
With each tow company called, though, Banks adds, it seemed “either no one was available or it would be a few hours. I understand we are not the only ones in need, but when I had finally found a company, I thought, the driver arrives and it’s $425 an hour. But then after a few minutes, he said, ‘We will need another truck’ — at $675 — ‘to assist us as well,’ and it would take two hours. Yet he wasn’t finished. He said the owner of Wayne’s Automotive and Towing said it would be $3,500 to $4,000” all told — a large sum for the pair and their one-truck operation.
Banks took to working to pull the money together before she realized tow coverage through her insurance would pay for the costs. “I got a claim started and asked [the tow operator if charges] could be invoiced to the insurance company,” Banks says. No dice, according to that operator, who said he was relaying information from the owner of the company that all money would be necessary upfront.
“I said we couldn’t pay that,” Banks says. Then, “with nothing yet done, mind you,” the tow operator said the Banks “had to pay $250. My husband said, ‘No, you haven’t done anything.’ The driver said he was going to call the sheriff, and so my husband gave him $200 and he was on his way.”
What happens next is perhaps the most important part of this story, as LeeLee Banks wants credit given where it’s due. She finally heard back from a tow operator with Carolina Fleet, LLC. Dave there asked if they were still at the same location and “was on his way. Now, my prayers were answered. He arrived and with just one truck and a remote control he moved our trailer and truck out of the mud. In roughly a single hour.”
Banks forwarded him their insurance company information and Dave was on his way before the Banks could even really thank him.
“We need more honest, professional and understanding towing companies,” LeeLee says. “There are too many that take advantage of the situation and muscle/rob small carriers. Dave and his company need to be applauded for their compassion and understanding,” and professionalism, no doubt.