Criminal charges have been dropped for at least four men arrested in multiple incidents involving the potentially illegal semi truck towing in Memphis.
In the last six months, there have been at least six separate incidents and one bad contract with a truck stop involving A-1’s Towing and Hauling booting and towing away semi trucks – sometimes by force and often without warning. A-1’s Towing and Hauling is affiliated with S-Line Towing – which has also been involved in some of these cases.
In five of these cases, A-1’s tow truck drivers were charged with carjacking after towing semi trucks by force. In another case, an A-1 employee was charged with aggravated assault. Now, at least four of these employees have had their charges dropped by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
The first charges were dropped for A-1’s employee, Rufus Nelson, and S-Line employee Gary Rhodes after they were arrested for illegally towing a tractor trailer from a truck stop in southeast Memphis. Some of the charges for the men were dropped and expunged from their records after a judge determined that the Memphis Police Department violated a previous court order during the arrests by entering private property and enforcing rules. Rhodes has been cleared of all charges, but Newson is still facing charges for theft of property, assault, and driving with a canceled or revoked license. His preliminary hearing is set for Thursday.
The remaining charges against A-1 and S-Line employees were dropped on September 21st. WREG has since contacted the District Attorney’s office for an explanation, but has not received an answer.
Jeff Partlow, a driver who was booted and towed from a gas station on South Mendenhall and Shelby Drive says he called police to report the issue, but they couldn’t help him. Partlow says he had pulled into the station to allow his trainee to use the bathroom when an A-1’s tow truck pulled into the lot and booted his rig, all while his foot was still on the brake. Partlow agreed to pay the $276 fee to remove the boot, but the employees told him he didn’t pay fast enough and they towed his truck anyway.
“There were two officers that came out, and then the sergeant came out, and then the colonel came out. The colonel was talking to me and told me that their hands were tied because they had just had an injunction placed against them,” Partlow said. “The colonel told me if it turned criminal if he put his hands on me or damaged to the truck to call him back, and they could get involved.”
Partlow’s company paid $4,375 to get the semi truck back.
“I’ve got a wife, and we have two kids and a baby on the way, and the $4,375 is coming out of each one of my checks until it’s all paid,” he said.
“‘We have been doing it awhile. We are good at it.’ That’s what the boot guy told me. He said we’ve got good lawyers. He said the city is scared of us,” Partlow added. “It’s going to come to a point where truckers can’t afford to come down there [Memphis] because of what this company is doing.”
Just last week, a truck stop owner filed an injunction against the company after signing a contract with S-Line to provide parking security and collect parking fees, but the company began booting and towing semi trucks. The truck stop owner, Abed Amrokbeer, says that the issue is scaring away truckers and affecting his business
The City of Memphis Permits Office is currently investigating A1’s Towing & Hauling, also known as A1’s Xclusive Auto, after complaints from truck drivers kept coming in. Multiple complaints against the company have also been filed with the Tennessee Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs since 2022.
Memphis’ booting ordinance states that no booted vehicle may be towed until the owner has failed to contact the booting company within 24 hours. The maximum legal fee for a boot removal is $50.