Towing company sues state for alleged favoritism

Jul 10, 2017, 7:12 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The state of Utah, Utah Highway Patrol, UDOT and the Department of Public Safety are being sued for $600 thousand.  A heavy duty towing company is accusing the state of playing favorites.

West Coast Towing is one of three companies contracted with the state to handle heavy duty towing operations, like when a semi trailer tips over.

File Jul 10, 1 30 15 PM

(Photo Credit: West Coast Towing)

The three companies are supposed to be on a steady rotation, but, owner Robert Face claims troopers started asking why he hadn’t come out to certain jobs.    Face says, “Then we started to look and started noticing we weren’t getting the calls.  The rotation wasn’t working.  That led us to our competitors, Larry’s Towing, to say, ‘Hey, is this happening to you?’”

The claim from Face and his attorney, Robert Sykes, is that a competitor, Stauffer’s Towing, was listening to police scanners and sending crews out to crash scenes before another company could be called out.  Sykes says even if a Stauffer’s crew arrives first, that shouldn’t matter.  “The trooper should send them away and get the next person on the rotation,” Sykes says.

Stauffer’s isn’t being named in the lawsuit as a defendant. Sykes says Stauffer’s has no legal obligation to look out of West Coast Towing.  However, he says if the poaching was happening, state officials were supposed to stop it.  He adds, “The rotation is a matter of law.  The statutes and rules specify how it’s supposed to happen and it’s not happening.”

These are accusations officials from Stauffer’s flatly and vehemently deny.  Owner Kurtis Stauffer tells KSL they don’t even have a police scanner they could listen to, and they’ve never poached a single job.  Officials with the Department of Public Safety issued a statement saying their review found no discrepancy in the rotation.

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Towing company sues state for alleged favoritism