Taking Action

‘They ain’t paid us a penny’: Local towing business without help months after Walmart truck wreck

Taking Action

CREWE, VA (WRIC) – Watts’ Towing in Crewe is used to responding to accidents. What they never expected was to be responding to their own. But that’s what happened this past summer when a Walmart truck driver crashed into their business.

“Man, it made me sick,” said Ray Watts. He and the rest of his family couldn’t believe their eyes. Walmart is known for rolling back prices, not rolling over rollbacks.

“It was a mess,” said Harold Ray Watts Sr.

In an instant, a Walmart tractor-trailer took out a fleet of tow trucks parked at Watts’ Towing in Nottoway County.

“Right there, just like that, all the trucks were gone,” said Harold. He and police tell 8News the driver of the Walmart truck had a medical emergency, lost control and ran off the road plowing into five tow trucks parked in a line under the now-damaged Watts sign.

“It was like dominoes into each one,” he said.

Ray, who now runs the business for his dad, Harold, says it was a crushing loss. The estimate stands at about $700,000 to $800,000 in damages.

“All of them are totaled,” explained Ray. A new wrecker alone can cost $300,000.

Eight months later, Walmart has yet to cover the costs.

“They ain’t paid us a penny,” said Harold. Harold and Ray say they’ve heard very little from Walmart since the accident. Harold told us, “We’re haven’t heard from them at all – they give us the runaround and all, you know.”

Ray tells us at one point Walmart asked them to hide their truck. “They wanted me to cover it,” he said. “They didn’t want anybody to see it.”

So Ray told us he towed the Walmart truck to their distribution center. “I carried their trailer. No, I haven’t gotten paid for that neither,” he said.

Walmart declined our request for an interview.  In a statement, Walmart told us, “We have been and continue to negotiate in good faith with the company’s representative.” 

In the meantime, the damage and debris still sits on the Watts’ lot. Pointing out the debris, Ray said, “That’s the telephone pole and the fuel tank knocked off the truck.”

He has tried to fix up one the trucks, but he’s lost business.

“That’s what we make our living with,” said Harold. 

Ray had to take out a loan to buy another wrecker.  

“There’s no reason they shouldn’t pay us,” said Harold.

Since 8News began looking into this case, we’ve been told Walmart has been more responsive and recently contacted Watts’ lawyer.  Their lawyer told us that working with insurance adjusters, when there’s a lot of damage, can be a long process. However, he also admits this case been dragging. We also learned the Watts’ just received an apology letter from Walmart. 

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