Carrier Pays $3,300 to Remove Boot After Trucker Threatened With $8,000 Charge

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UPDATE: Another Trucker Hit With $3,000 Boot Prompts NC Attorney General to Investigate

Charlotte, NC – A Kentucky truck driver was threatened with an $8,000 tow and impound charge after his tractor-trailer was booted at a Walmart early Thursday morning.

Donald Spellings, 38, of Radcliff, KY, was on his 10-hour rest break and preparing to make a delivery of Coca-Cola products for Auburn, KY-based Downey Trucking on Thursday morning when he was awakened by pounding on the driver’s side door of his truck at approximately 12:30 a.m.

“You are booted and you cannot move,” Spellings recalls being told by a representative of Trust Towing and Recovery (TTR), which was working the Walmart parking lot in Charlotte, right off of State Highway 16.

 

Spellings said he was startled and shocked because only hours earlier he had called and spoken with the manager of the store and was assured parking his rig there was “not a big deal.”

“We love truck drivers,” Spellings said he was told by the Walmart manager.

Once he arrived to the store, he went in, purchased a few items, then again sought and received permission to park his rig in the lot.

In fact, Spellings says during the course of his 7-year career as a trucker he has followed the same protocol multiple times and never had any trouble.

He called his wife before going to sleep for the night in preparation for his early morning delivery.

 

A short time later he found himself awakened and upset, but things were about to get even worse for Spellings.

The TTR representative issued him a $3,600 bill to remove the boot and informed him if he chose not to promptly pay the fee, he would face an $8,000 towing and impound recovery charge.

TTR gave him until 2:45 a.m. before his rig would be towed, Spellings told Transportation Nation Network (TNN).

Sensing some uneasiness in the situation, Spellings attempted to speak with another trucker whose flatbed rig was also booted.

However, Spellings says he was warned by TTR not to speak to the other driver.

According to Spellings, the TTR representatives on site — two men named Willie and Quinn — kept the two truckers separated.

 

Additionally, Spellings was told he was “not allowed” to take photos of the boot.

Stunned by the situation, Spellings immediately picked up the phone and called his dispatcher.

Lisa Williams, who has been a dispatcher at Downey Trucking since 2003, answered the early morning call.

“Excuse me? What do you mean?” Williams responded to Spellings, as he informed her of the situation.

She asked to speak with Willie and Quinn and engaged them in a conversation.

“In times like this, you’re seriously going to do this?” she asked the men.

That’s when she says they became “belligerent” and threatened the incident was going to cost the company even more if she didn’t swiftly cooperate.

 

Eventually, the TTR representatives told Williams if she paid immediately, they would lower the removal fee to $3,300.

So she did.

“She did what she felt was right,” Jim Downey, owner of Downey Trucking told TNN.

Downey says he called TTR on Thursday morning after becoming aware of the situation, and was able to get the owner, Quinn, on the phone.

“I don’t even want to tell you what he said, but it started with f-u,” Downey recalled.

Downey was so upset about the incident that he posted about it on social media and even contacted his local U.S. congressman.

TNN also contacted TTR on Thursday and spoke to a man who only wanted to be identified as Marcus.


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According to Marcus, two big rigs got the boot during the course of the night… Spellings’s rig, and a flatbed rig.

Marcus told TNN the rigs were “parked illegally” and that Spellings “wasn’t hauling anything important — not food, not water, not medical supplies — just general freight.”

 

TTR patrols the lot intensively because that Walmart location has a “problem with drugs and prostitution,” Marcus claimed.

Marcus even accused Spellings of being intoxicated at the time.

“The truck smelled like a lot of beer and liquor,” he asserted to TNN.

“No, no, no… ain’t no way, no, no, no,” Spellings said in response to the accusation. “I don’t drink. I have never touched drugs in my life. I will take 500 drugs tests… ain’t no way!”

Spellings said such allegations are “defamation” and makes an already upsetting situation even more infuriating.

When TNN informed Williams and Downey about Marcus’s accusations against Spellings, both of them laughed at the notion.

Additionally, Spellings and Williams both confirmed there was no mention of drugs or alcohol during the incident.

In fact, Spellings and Williams both said Marcus was not even at the site.

 

Downey also confirmed nothing of the sort was mentioned in his communications with TTR either.

“I still drive [a truck],” Downey commented. “That’s why I take it so personally. Truckers are the first ones that come to help you.”

According to Spellings, the “icing on the cake” moment came after the payment to remove the boot was made.

He says a TTR representative climbed up on the driver’s side steps and said, “How much time do you have before the clock resets? I will give you that much time and we won’t come back and bother you.”

“I ain’t taking that risk,” Spellings answered back.

 

Upon further reflection on the entire ordeal, Spellings says incidents like these are unfortunately sometimes part of the job.

“That’s the way truck drivers get treated at places.”

However, Spellings was quick to show appreciation for Williams and Downey for the way they handled the situation.

“This is the best company I’ve ever worked for,” he stated. “I have one hell of a dispatch crew and one hell of an owner.”

 


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Comment (20)

  1. Well wal mart needs to be ashamed of themselves because of the situation in America all drivers are wkg arnd the clock to keep ur warehouses full and shelves in ur stores stocked i know one person not change it .but im done with walmart and hopefully a million more will follow suite
    I have friends who drive for them tried talking me into driving for them over thr years said nope
    I always believed in the ltl company my dad owner op my pap my uncles all owner OPERATORS
    I never wanted that much headache and sometimes heartache
    I chose the ltl companies they know ur needs know the lanes you like and most importantly know your family
    Now i been sorta forced out of trking after 30 years roughly a major stroke and 3 hip surgery’s
    But i still havr friends call me ask mr best route or how to get arnd a scale haha
    Anyway this booting stuff is out of hand and these jackholes doin the booting are beyond control they need to be shutdown and outlawed
    My god there booting the federal government being were mandated by federal rules and regulations
    That being said that alone should be enough to stop it so FMCSA DO SOMETHING FOR THE GOOD OF THE DRIVER INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR WAYS TO HURT THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY
    I SAID MY PEACE EXCEPT THAT ID LIKE TO THANK ALL THEM DRIVERS OUT THERE AWAY FROM ( FAMILY AND FRIENDS ) TRUCK SAFE ALL YOU HIGHWAY JUNKIES AND GODS SPEED
    NOW TO THE BOOTERS IF I WAS 5 YEARS YOUNGER AND IN THE SHSPE I WAS IN THEN ID PUNCH YOU SQUARE IN UR JAW JACKER AND I GUARENTEE THERE WOULDNT HAVE BEEN A DAMN THING YOU COULD HAVE DONE TO STOP ME
    THEN ID HAVE UN BOOTED MY TRK AND BOOTED YOU FAST TO YOUR TOW TRUCK DONT WORRY THO WHEN YOU CAME TO UR CELLPHONE BE IN REACHING DISTANCE BUT HOW U USE IT I HAVR KNOW IDEA CAUSE YOUR HANDS ARE FASTENED THE RIM
    MAYBE YOU CAN USE UR FEET
    ANYWAY I SAID MY PEACE ON THEM JOCKHOELS
    Y’ALL TRK SAFE NOW YA HEAR

    1. This is there info : Ttr 600 Gulf Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
      (980) 319-2968 Trust Towing & recovery . Stan up an give this ppl hell. Just because they’re a bunch of thieves. An if u can leave a bad review on google maps.

    2. Its not Walmart. They lease the land and whoever owns the land is the one having this done by a tow company of their choice. Park at a Lowes or Home Depot, they don’t even know if the load is for them or not.

    3. I don’t think that Walmart in and of itself is the problem. I think the problem develops around the opinions of the American citizen on truck drivers. Perhaps they consider us blue collar workers at the low end of the totem pole. But the fact remains that people fail to comprehend. That it is truck drivers that keep this economy alive. Another problem is the Department of Transportation. In there Neo-Nazi attitude pretending to be behind the welfare of the citizen, They are simply an enemy of America in as much as they do everything. They can to slow down the economy of the United States of America. The Department of Transportation, law enforcement, and huge businesses tend to look down upon truck drivers when the reality is. We are the backbone of this country. Without us this country does not exist.

  2. This deal sounds like a hold-up. Can’t take pictures? Can’t talk to another driver on the scene? Have to pay right on the spot. There has to be more to this than we’re getting here. This scenario in no way complies with Charlotte’s rowing policy. I have to call the manager for this Walmart out on this. Management should have stepped in Unless, of course, that store had contracted the vultures of this towing company to do what they did to these drivers.

    https://charlottenc.gov/Transportation/CDOTServices/Pages/TowingWheelLock.aspx

  3. No photos?!
    No talking with other drivers?!
    Walmart manager gave the ok?!

    Why didn’t ANYONE call the police?

    Who are these towing company bastards?

    This was a hostage shakedown, EXTORTION.

  4. I am really confused here;
    Had a cell phone to call Walmart manager 2 different times.
    Had a cell phone to call his wife.
    Had a cell phone to call dispatch.
    Hmmmmmmmmm, you think???
    Bet he had cash too, to pay the bill because a credit card payment can be easily disputed.

  5. I drove all 48 states and never had a problem parking at Wal-Mart until dirty drivers were leaving trash and stuff when they left. Then certain Wal-Mart would let you park and some wouldn’t. But I never had a problem like these drivers getting booted and harassed while sleeping. It seems to me this is some set up and someone’s getting a kickback and Wal-Mart needs to straighten this out. Why didn’t the driver call the police and I’ll be damn if someone is going to stop me from taking a picture or telling me I cant talk to another driver.

  6. Something stinks about this whole thing. This Booting outfit I guess similar to like tow truck outfit? Why would they also be policing Walmart parking lots for drug and prostitution. They claim his cab also smelled of booze, why are they in or on the side step up? The very first thing he should have done was call the law. Who’s going to tell me I can’t use my phone to call, to take pics of the truck and the location it was parked? No one
    Maybe all threats, warnings, accusations and whatever wouldn’t have happened or at least minimal if he would have called the law. Or let’s go inside Walmart and see if the manager that gave you the ok is still working. And all that info: managers name, date and time. Would have been written down. The way it sounds driver was harassed, bullied, threatened. It’s easy for us to say if it was I in this situation this is what I would have done. Not knocking driver for the way he says he handled it. But I would have thought 7 years I think he said he’s been driving would have used a little common sense that would have helped him. Where did he say he’s from? Backwoods, KY
    Stay out of Walmart for your 10. If all possible

  7. Just call a a road service to come out and cut the boot off!!! I own and operate a truck and trailer road service company and I’ll happily come out for a service call and cut a boot off of your truck to keep you from being robbed by some scumbag lowlife here today gone tomorrow tow truck company!!!

  8. I carry bolt cutters and cut the s*** off myself. They will have to call the police on me and if they touch me they’ll be charged with felonious assault. If they are illegal they will not call the cops make sure old Smith & Wesson is on your side.

  9. This boot stuff is BS. It’s extortion because some lazy Saks don’t want to get a real job in life so they take advantage of those that do.
    The problem here as in many other booting situations it is not the Walmart itself. Most Walmarts lease their stores. The properties are managed by someone not on site. They use a national development company to build and manage all their locations. So the local store management has no say what goes on in the parking lots. So technically they are classified as private property and are handled as such.
    In this case first thing the driver should have done was to call the police and stay in his cab until they showed up. So that way there is a record and someone impartial to observe what is going on at the site. So false accusations and acts of defamation could be handled accordingly. Most of these guys that boot have the whole BS response down and try to control the situation like not letting you talk to the other drivers or take pictures. They will also tell you that if you try to remove the boot or damage it in any way that they will have you arrested for distraction of property. In some cases they boot and leave until it’s paid or the will unlock it remotely. I’m this case seems like they took satisfaction in causing problems and being pain in the butt.
    A couple options depending on situation cut boot off or have it cut off, pay fine and cancel payment if possible or just pay it and move on. Best bet is to avoid Walmart if at all possible.

  10. This is from outside looking in, but I’m on your side – I don’t haul, never have.
    This booting is B&#$*/it! Since when does a towing company have the authority to police a parking lot?
    Is it posted in the lot that trucks parked there will be towed or booted?
    What gives the towing company the authority to stop one driver from talking to the other?
    How can prostitution and drug traffic be blamed on the truckers?
    Needless to say, I could go on and on but I have a point to get at.
    I’m no lawyer, I’m blue collar – 40+ years, but the driver and the cartage company should be taking the towing company to court – federal court.
    The driver was denied his constitutional rights on several levels and Walmart can’t be blamed for the towing companies actions – even a security company isn’t allowed to do what the towing company did, it’s against the law.
    While I understand attorneys are expensive, the cartage company and the drivers need to sue the towing company for violating their constitutional rights and for damages and court costs.
    In addition, as part of restitution the towing company should have to lose their business license.
    This isn’t Russia or Nazi Germany, it’s America where citizens have inalienable rights.

  11. You cant tell me i cant use my cell phone and take pics. And if you touch me, i will sue you. The towing company is probably kin to the manager in Walmart. Sounds like a setup!! I would have called thw cops! Who does this towing company think they are?

  12. I filed a law suit against a company in Atlanta for the same thing it became a class action. It’s still in court. But they have stopped booting. The city can not permit a private booting company to force you to pay on the spot. How did they know what he was carrying. I’m sure there was a lock on the trailer door. And only the DOT can inspect your documents. Contact an attorney ASAP and file a
    law suit.

  13. I’ve been in trucking for 30 years and the one thing I realized is people do the dumbest things. And it usually starts with themselves.
    The driver should have gotten the manager to put it in writing not just his word. Then the driver has legal proof that he was allowed to park there. He allowed the tow driver to control the situation instead of himself. As drivers we deal with other people’s emotions and situations and we don’t even know who they are! As profession drivers you learn to let them go off and then either let them determine what the out come is or calmly slam it back at them using their actions against them.
    The driver should have never gotten out of the truck. Put himself at physical risk or at least in legal danger. He should have immediately called the police and explained the situation to them and then requested and officer on scene. They can’t refuse because it their job to PROTECT AND TO SERVE! If they don’t send a officer and legal issues occured then the department is liable. They record all calls going into law enforcement so there’s proof that he wasn’t under any drug or alcohol influences by his speech. And if you stay calm then law enforcement is more willing to do everything thing their allowed by law.

    But to the subject that put all of us truck drivers in this position!
    There is nothing worst the stepping out of your truck and smelling urine. Personally if I owned a business that had people getting out of their vehicles and pissing on my parking lot I would make sure my security cameras worked and I would take down the information of the trucking company and the send them photos of their driver dumping hazardous waste on my property. Inform them that I will bring out at hazmat team to clean it up and send the bill to them. Then they can decide to charge the driver or not. But my parking lot would be clean!!! It would got for any kind of trash!! If a driver got that bill he would have no one to bitch at but them selves! Wish these drivers would realize that not only you are tracking this on your shoes and other people are too! Where ever you walk! Even inside your own truck! Hope you don’t go home with those shoes and small children or babies crawling on the same floor you are walking on with your pissy shoes.

    But the real issue of someone pissing in a parking lot is the indecent exposure laws! That would be my next step!!! Call the police and show them the pictures and file the charges. Maybe then these people would realize they just made themselves sexual offenders! Stop and realize the many ways you act that you destroy your own life!

    We are in a crisis in this world today! It’s not just our country! This pandemic is putting all of us on edge. People are starting to look to the fast buck instead of the common sense that truly needs to be used! When you park in an area that is marked you don’t belong. THEN DON’T PARK THERE! If you have no other choice the get the proper authorization in writing or with a badge. I’ve been in this situation and I’ve called the local police for advise. If I have problems I have the badge to help. They have even taken me to a closed business and let me use their empty lot.

    Walmart as well as most grocery store have apps to order you grocery and pick them up. You could even then call the manager and make them aware that you drive a semi and would appreciate some kindness in using their parking lot to pick them up. Sure they would appreciate your efforts to abide by their rules! Maybe they would even have someone bring them to your truck! YOU NEVER KNOW TILL YOU TRY! This show’s you respect their business and only wish to supply your life with your needs.
    Kindness and calm is the best way to control a situation and as truck drivers we are the ones expected to be in control. THE PROFESSIONALS!!! So don’t take it out on every Walmart they are a multi billion dollar chain store and we all loved going to them till they started putting rules in place to protect their business! That’s why they have apps to post a review and you have the ability to read them. Walmart employees don’t come to your place of business and piss on your parking lot or throw their trash all over it. TRUCKER’S WHO DON’T HAVE RESPECT FOR THEMSELVES OR OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPERTY CRATETED THIS PROBLEM!! SO maybe if we as respectful drivers we could change it back. It’s a dream I know but we all have dreams don’t we!

    To get respect you need to show respect!

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