Stranded snow driver upset at being towed, then charged

Stranded snow driver upset at being towed, then charged a big bill

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"We do what we're supposed to do, and they charge us out the butt," he said. "We do what we're supposed to do, and they charge us out the butt," he said.
"I made sure I was off the road. I made sure I wasn't obstructing anyone going up the highway," Eaton said. "I made sure I was off the road. I made sure I wasn't obstructing anyone going up the highway," Eaton said.
Thursday morning the car was missing,. He tracked it down to a Monroe County body shop, and found he's gotten a citation for abandoning his vehicle. It also said his location was preventing a snow plow. Thursday morning the car was missing,. He tracked it down to a Monroe County body shop, and found he's gotten a citation for abandoning his vehicle. It also said his location was preventing a snow plow.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The snow Wednesday night left drivers stranded in many places, forced to park their car on the side of the road and get a ride home.

One man in Sweetwater contacted us. He says when he went to pick up his car Thursday morning, it had been towed. He had to pay a big bill to get it back.

"It was frustrating trying to get up the hill and not being able to," said Benjamin Eaton, about the many attempts he made at driving uphill on Highway 68 in Sweetwater as he tried to get home from work.

Finally he decided it was best to leave his car and get a ride home.

"I made sure I was off the road. I made sure I wasn't obstructing anyone going up the highway," Eaton said.

Thursday morning the car was missing,. He tracked it down to a Monroe County body shop, and found he's gotten a citation for abandoning his vehicle. It also said his location was preventing a snow plow.

And then there was the whopping bill of $208 he had to pay the towing company.

"It makes me very upset that the state can declare a state of emergency, telling us it's too dangerous to drive, and to pull off on to the side of the road. And then they turn around and tow us," Eaton said.

We contacted Tennessee Highway Patrol to get to the bottom of what happened.

"The general rule with an abandonment is: your vehicle may be permitted to be in a location for 48 hours as long as it's not obstructing safety vehicles, or not creating a traffic hazard. With the weather being the way it was last night, all abandoned vehicles were being moved immediately to allow for right of way for snow plows, salt trucks, emergency vehicles, and overall safety of the motoring public," said Sgt. Bill Miller.

"The owner is responsible for his/her vehicle at all times, hence they are responsible for towing costs," Sgt. Miller added.

We contacted the towing company. They did not want to go on camera, but say that $208 charge was standard for an extreme after hours scenario like Wednesday nights.

Drivers like Eaton say the whole situation is unfair.

"We do what we're supposed to do, and they charge us out the butt," he said.

We're told THP has a wrecker lieutenant that watches out for price gouging. However, they also told us a situation like the storm would have warranted a higher towing charge.

When we asked THP what the ideal way to handle that situation would have been, they said, wait in your vehicle and call for a trooper.

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