MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A driver says she has locked herself in her truck to prevent A1’s Towing and Hauling from taking it. 

Shirley Holland, a Church Transportation and Logistics Inc. truck driver, says she’s locked herself in her truck at a truck stop at the intersection of East Shelby Drive and Mendenhall.

“I swear on the Bible I have never in my life been through this,” Holland said.

WREG tried talking face-to-face with Holland, but security on the lot told us we were trespassing on private property. Therefore, we could only talk to Holland by phone from the sidewalk.

“He won’t take any of my credit cards. He won’t take the owner’s credit card of this company. He won’t take money,” she said. “He won’t take a check. Nothing. He’s going to tow it so he can take everything you got.”

She says she parked in the lot at 8 p.m. Thursday and admits she didn’t pay the parking fee.
According to a sign posted on the side of the building, all payments are due immediately after parking. The sign goes on to say, “All violators will be towed and booted at owners’ expense.”

Holland says she fell asleep but was awakened by a man telling her he booted her truck and that to remove it, she would have to pay $275 fast.

“Giving me 25 minutes at 3:30 in the morning to fix it. Oh, you can’t fix it,” Holland said. “It’s too late now. The tow truck is going to tow your truck.”

She says after multiple attempts to pay through the parking app, her card, as well as the company card, were declined. Afraid her truck would be towed if she got out to get cash, she stayed in the truck.

This is the latest incident involving A1’s Towing and Hauling. Gene Sweeney with Church Transportation, the Birmingham, Alabama company that owns the truck, says his company has had other run-ins with A1’s Towing.

“At this point, it’s a battle of the wills to see who’s going to hang in here the longest,” Sweeney said.

He acknowledges his driver should have paid when she first parked on the lot.

“We deserve to be held accountable, but we need to be held accountable to the standards that are in place by the city,” Sweeney said.

A1 says state law supersedes city law. The towing company released a statement, saying in part, “Each individual that interacts with any of A1’s Towing & Hauling compliance representatives are provided with a card that clearly states payment options and that our compliance agents do not accept cash.”

A1’s full statement is available below.

The City of Memphis says they have received several complaints that will be discussed at an upcoming administrative hearing and released this statement:

Per the ordinance if the owner or operator of a motor vehicle that is parked without authorization on private property attempts to retrieve said vehicle before booting actually occurs there shall be no fee and the vehicle owner shall be allowed to remove the vehicle without further delay. The booting ordinance does not specific what type of vehicle can be booted.  

The maximum amount a booting company can charge to remove a boot is $50.00 per the city ordinance.  The ordinance states that no vehicle affixed with a boot may be towed unless the owner of the vehicle fails to contact the booting company within 24 hours of the notice.  Towing fees are based on the type of wrecker being used.   A Class C wrecker rate is $350.00 per hour.  The ordinances state vehicles.

The tow fee is based on the type of tow truck being used.   The rate for a Class A wrecker is $125.00, Class B wrecker is $200.00 per hour, and Class C wrecker is $350.00 per hour.

We have two complaints that are before the Transportation Commission regarding a refund for a tow.   We have several complaints that are going to be discussed at an administrative hearing. 

Late Friday afternoon, the owner of Church Transportation contacted WREG and said they had surrendered their truck to A1’s.

“I will be in Memphis Monday,” said Fenn Church. “. I don’t have any idea what this invoice will be at this time.”

Saturday, his company was forced to pay over $4,500 after A1’s towed another one of their big rigs from an unmanned gas station on Lamar Avenue. Church immediately filed a complaint with the city’s permits office and is trying to get his money back.