State sued, UHP accused of favoring tow truck companies

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 23:31:14-04

PROVO, Utah — A tow truck company is suing the state of Utah, claiming it's losing thousands of dollars in business in Utah County.

"This was our last resort and they didn't listen to us," said Robert Face, owner of West Coast Towing.

When a semi truck or other large vehicle wrecks on a Utah highway, UHP and dispatch are supposed to use a rotating list of qualified tow truck companies to distribute the work.  West Coast Towing and it's attorney, Robert Sykes, claim it's not happening.

"These are very expensive jobs, I mean they can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000," said Sykes.

The Department of Public Safety is disputing the claim.  According to it's records, the split of calls has been relatively even this year.  So far it shows West Coast Towing receiving 21 calls, Stauffer's Towing 21 calls and Larry's Towing 23 calls.

"The officer does not call and say I need Stauffer's or I need the other companies, he calls and says I need a heavy wrecker," said Kurtis Stauffer, the co-owner of Stauffer's Towing.

He says the system is not perfect but it is fair and he resents claims his company is getting more than it's fair share of business.

"It's unfair to my family and the public that we've served for 63 years and it hurts," said Stauffer.

West Coast Towing disputes the numbers DPS provided on towing calls this year.  Robert Face says his company takes a picture each time it's called for a heavy wrecker job.  So far, it claims to have only been called on 12 jobs this year.

"We have a lot of proof, a lot of photos, lot of text message," said Face.

The company is also claiming a UHP Sergeant sexually harassed one of its female employees, possibly leading to them getting left off the list for calls.  UHP has not responded to Fox 13 News' requests for comment on the allegations.