At about 12:15AM on December 24, 2008, I was heading south on Pennsylvania route 202. I was heading home to Baltimore, Maryland. It was raining lightly and The exit for Route 30 was about a tenth of a mile in front of me.
I heard/felt a loud bang/impact and found myself spinning in the road. I counter-steered to get myself out of traffic and towards the left hand side of the road. I was slammed up against the metal guard rail which of course, stopped the skidding.
I sat for a minute, got my wits about myself and checked my passenger. I felt it would be dangerous to remain in the vehicle in the event that some other vehicle would slide into my car. My passenger and I got out and climbed over the guard rail and stood there along with the driver of the vehicle that hit us from behind.
I called AAA, explained that I had been in an accident and that I wanted to have my car towed by flatbed to my home in Maryland. The dispatcher said OK and that a tow truck would be along in about 20 minutes. He explained that the first 100 miles of towing would not cost me because I have a PLUS membership, but anything over 100 miles would cost $4 per mile. Approximately 4 hours and 5 or 6 calls later, a tow truck showed up.
In the interim, my passenger had been taken by ambulance to a hospital. I needed to be seen by medical staff but had to remain with my vehicle for towing purposes. I planned on going to hospital once I got the car home.
One AAA tow truck stopped to talk to me, he was enroute to another stranded vehicle, additionally, his was not a flat bed and because of the condition of my vehicle, a flat bed was required. I called AAA several times as I sat on the side of the highway in below freezing weather to find out where my tow truck was at.
When the truck finally arrived, the driver told me to get in his truck and warm up while he loaded my car onto the flat bed. That sounded like a good plan so I did. When he had my car loaded onto the truck, he climbed into the cab and told me that he would not be taking me to Maryland. He said he would only pull me off of the highway and come back later and get my car.
I said that is not the service I am paying for nor the service I requested. You are going to have a problem leaving me and my car out here in the boonies. He took me and the car to the back of the Sheraton Great Valley parking lot. I said I was not going to get out until the police came because I did not want my car nor myself, left at the Sheraton. He said he was not going to call the police and I could just ride with him all night if I didn't want to get out. He got out to remove my car from his flat bed.
I turned the ignition off and placed the key in my bra. I said call the police and let's get to the bottom of this. He began to yell and cuss and tell me that I was going to give him the key. He called his dispatcher who also yelled and cursed and said I would never see my car again.
When law enforcement arrived, I handed the officer the key and explained that I did not want myself and my car left in the Sheraton parking lot. I explained that I had requested my car be taken home and that I needed medical attention. He said he could not do anything about the car but he could call an ambulance for mewhich he did. He stayed with me until the ambulance came. While we waited on the ambulance, the tow truck driver removed my car from his truck, dropped it in the Sheraton's parking lot and left.
After being discharged from the hospital I took an Amtrak train home to Baltimore. I called AAA and Infinity Towing and was told my car would be brought home later that day. When I left out of my house at 10PM that night, my car was not in my driveway. I drove past my mechanic's shop to see if it was there. It was not. I called AAA and Infinity and found AAA to be evasive. The person who answered the phone at Infinity was loud, rude and hostile and yelled at me as if I were an errant child.
I called AAA Friday morning, December 26, 2008. I spoke with Carol Bailey. I was told that the tow truck company has about $800 worth of charges they want paid before they will release my car. $400 for towing and storage and $400 for a damaged' hydraulic system. Jason???, at Infinity claims turning his truck off damaged his hydraulic system. The system worked just fine when he removed my car from his flat bed and I am certain that an investigation of his driving log will show that he used his truck many times over the course of the night towing vehicles off of ice-slicked highways. Could those charges be what he meant when he said I would never see my car again?
Mr. Jason ??? of Infinity Towing is being vindictive and mercenary. He is hostile because I had the audacity to stand up for myself and insist that the police be called before I would exit his truck and he is keenly aware that having been rear-ended, some insurance company is responsible for my predicament and he is fraudulently attempting to milk the situation for all he can.
To say I am very disappointed with AAA's service during this traumatic experience in my life would be a gross understatement. Not only has the service been awful, but AAA's involvement has exacerbated an already harrowing situation. I would like my car towed to Maryland as I originally and consistently requested. It can be delivered to my driveway or to my mechanic.
To clarify what I perceive as deceptive practices, I have outlined specific behaviors on the parts of AAA and Infinity Towing:
In spite of my being involved in telephone conversations with dispatchers at least 6 times (and my family was calling also from Philadelphia and Baltimore) no one ever said you will not be able to be towed to Maryland tonight. The dispatchers led me and my family to believe that when the tow truck arrived I would receive the service I had requested.
The dispatcher could have/should have told me early on that the tow truck would not provide the requested service. I sat on the side of the highway for 4 hours anyway. That would certainly have been enough time for me to figure out some other course of action to secure my car rather than load my car on his truck and then tell me he was only going to pull me off of the highway.
The tow truck driver suggested I get a room at the Sheraton in spite of me telling him I needed medical attention because I had been in an accident.
I believe an investigation of that driver's log will show that the reason he took 4 hours to get to me is because he kept stopping along the way picking up other towing jobs even though he had allegedly committed to taking me to Maryland
I believe an investigation will also show that after dropping me off at the Sheraton, he returned to the highway and took on several other jobslet's face it, why would he consume 4 hours or more towing me to Maryland and returning to Pennsylvania on one job that I am sure for which he receives a discounted fee from AAA when he could ditch me and get back on the highway and make money all night removing other stranded motorists from the ice-slicked roads?
A different course of action would have made the change in plans more customer service orientated. Informing me of the change so that I could make other arrangements for securing my car and getting myself to the hospital would have allowed my call to AAA to have had a successful ending.
I have full insurance coverage on my car as did the driver who rear-ended me. I also have a fully paid up AAA Roadside Assistance Plus policy with AAA and was eligible to have my car towed where I asked that it be towed. I did not want my car at the Sheraton and at no time did I consent to having my car taken to the Sheraton nor to Infinity's property.
If you have any suggestions as to what I can do to get my car back, please respond. A friend who is a former employee of AAA suggested I go to the top. She said that even though the lower level staff is resistant to resolution, top management would attempt a peaceful resolution. I would like to have a face to face, or at least a conversation with Allen J. Dewalle, the CEO of AAA Mid-Atlantic if I can acquire contact information. I believe he lives in the area of Downingtown, PA. His wife is Nancy R. Dewalle and there are two sons, David A. and Steven M. Dewalle. The COO is Donald R. Gagnon (wife-Marie A.) If anyone out there in cyberspace has any information to share, I am open to suggestions.
Thank you for listening...so to speak.