Houston teen says tow truck driver abandoned him on freeway


by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News


Posted on January 3, 2013 at 7:43 PM

HOUSTON -- A family is outraged over how they say a tow truck driver treated a teenager after a call for a SAFEClear tow last month.

It happened on a Wednesday night in December: a breakdown in the HOV lane of the Southwest Freeway.

“It’s just not right dropping off a 16-year-old in the middle of nowhere,” said C.J. Barner, a junior at Lamar High School.

Barner said he called for a SAFEClear tow and that a wrecker from Allied Collision & Auto Repair showed up, hooked onto his vehicle and was supposed to take him and his friend to Midwest Auto Storage. He also called his mother from the scene.

“I spoke to the driver,” said Juanita Jackson Barner. “I asked and specifically said that I wanted a SAFEClear tow. Please take him to the storage facility and I will meet you there.”

“He just told me and my friend to get out,” said C.J. Barner.

It wasn’t Midwest Auto Storage, he said, but a Park & Ride 2.5 miles away.

“I was really frustrated and upset about the whole situation,” said Barner, adding that he didn’t know where he was.

While he signed a tow ticket for $155 before the wrecker left with his vehicle, a SAFEClear tow to storage is supposed to cost just $50.

“They asked me to pay $441,” said Barner’s mother.

Ultimately, Midwest Auto Storage only charged her $50, and said it’s not responsible for the driver’s actions.

In fairness to Allied Collision, they didn’t wait until KHOU 11 News inquired to take action. They say the corrected the problem right away and chalked it up to miscommunication.

Juanita Jackson Barner’s receipt states the vehicle was towed because it was abandoned. She says the only thing abandoned was her son.