Man claims center to help low-income people delayed by damage from trucks

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man who says he's trying to do something good for the community claims semi-truck drivers using his driveway are causing him a huge setback.

Donnie Wheeler, director of Refuge Memphis, says he can't open a center to help low-income people on Austin Peay Highway until the damage is repaired.

"We're going to create jobs with this. It's going to be a job assistance program, is the overall model for it," Wheeler said, describing the program.

But Wheeler said the project, partially funded by a city of Memphis community improvement grant, is behind schedule due to this damage on his property's main road.

Wheeler blames semi-truck drivers delivering and picking up mail at the post office next door.

His driveway runs parallel to the post office's driveway, and he claims drivers are having to make wide turns on his property to access this loading dock.

"It's easier for the 18-wheelers to come up my side of the driveway and make the turn into the back of the post office dock where they can backup easy. That's according to the two drivers I've talked to individually," he said.

Wheeler says the planned opening of Refuge Memphis may be delayed because of the damage.

Wheeler paid to put up signs and a mesh fence to keep drivers from using this driveway or turning on his property.

The U.S. Postal Service responded to our questions with this email:

"The postal service is aware of the issue with the property next to our Memphis Raleigh station. The customer has the right to file a tort claim should they wish to do so. The Raleigh station manager can provide information on filing the claim. How the claim is adjudicated will depend on the specific facts involved."

Wheeler said he'll file the claim and hopes to get the damage repaired quickly.

"It's in the thousands of dollars," he said. "This is not going to be cheap."


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