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Lawhon Towing

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

Legislators heard testimony Thursday morning about the towing industry in Arkansas.

One man believes changes in the law are desperately needed.

Back on August 12th a big rig was hauling a load of Samsung televisions from the west coast to the east coast when it was hit by a car traveling the wrong direction.

That was certainly bad news to the owner of the truck. But things would get worse.

The State Police called Lawhon's Towing of Mabelvale to clear Interstate 30 of the damaged tractor trailer.

The sticker shock came later...when Megatrux Transportation of Rancho Cucamonga, California got the bill.

Megatrux Safety Director Stephen Renshaw says typical bills following tractor trailer accidents...the tow, cleanup, storage and other fees...total three to five thousand dollars.

The bill from Lawhon's totaled over $8,500.00.

Here is a break-down:

Heavy duty wrecker @ $450.00 (3 hours).......$1,350.00.

4 men @ $200.00 per hour X 2 hours..............$1.600.00.

Administrative fee..............................................$75.00

Fuel surcharge...................................................$300.00

Two dead bolts..................................................$40.00

3.5 hours labor @ $200.00................................$700.00 (second labor charge?)

24 days of storage.............................................$3,600.00

($75/day for tractor, $75/day for trailer)

Passenger shuttle...............................................$150.00

Tax.......................................................................$742.43

Total.....................................................................$8,557.43

We called to ask Mr. Lawhon about this bill but he declined to offer any comment until he discussed the situation with his attorney. 

The charge to give his driver a ride to the nearest truck stop was particularly galling to Renshaw.

"He charged me $150.00 after offering to give my driver a ride which was never discussed," Renshaw told us in a phone interview. "So a lot of these charges he put on here are really kind of like hidden charges that should never have been on here."

Lawmakers gathered Thursday morning to discuss the Arkansas towing industry and authorize an interim study. State Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R) of Cabot chairs the committee.

The hope is the meeting and study will lead to legislation and positive change, although many proposals in the past have gone no where.

"But I can promise you this...I'm doing it because I've been asked to by residents, by previous legislators who have come through here who have been unable to get it done," said Senator Williams after the meeting. "And so I'll...it's a difficult task but it is solvable."

In the meantime, Megatrux Transportation's complaint against Lawhon's Towing may be heard at the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board's next meeting.

"We almost lost a very good customer...which I explained to Mr. Lawhon," says Renshaw. "We need to get this resolved. I need to make this delivery to my customer. And he just really did not care whether we stayed in business or not."

The next Towing and Recovery board meeting is set for November 19th.

Seven complaints will be heard. Six of them are against Lawhon Towing.

Air date: October 14th, 2013