MASON, Tenn. — A Fayette County truck stop owner says a company hired to secure his parking lot is ruining his business.

The owner of the Shell Station at I-40 and Exit 35 didn’t want to be identified but said he canceled a contract with S-Line Truck Parking one day after signing after he realized S-Line was working with A1’s Towing and Hauling to boot and tow 18-wheelers from his business — he claims illegally.

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“They put a banner at the entrance of the truck stop to pay for parking over there. People were there before the sign was up, they didn’t know anything about it. When they came Friday, the towing company started towing trucks out of the parking lot,” he said. “They charge between $3,300 – $3,600 for one day.”

Shell truck stop in Fayette County, TN
Shell truck stop at I-40 exit 35

He said S-Line was hired to clean his lot, provide security, and collect fees for truck drivers who want to park for 12 or 24 hours. Instead, he said they are towing or booting tractor-trailers minutes after they pull onto his lot.

“Let me tell you what happened. They waited about five minutes. They let a truck on the lot and followed the truck. The driver went to the bathroom, and he came out, and they were towing the truck,” the truck stop owner said. “One driver, they towed the truck while they were sleeping, and they made him pay $300 just to unhook the truck.”

The truck stop owner says S-Line has refused to cancel their contract, and he trying to get an injunction to keep S-Line and A1’s off his property.

In the meantime, he said he has put up posters warning customers to be on the lookout for the A1’s drivers and is even using his own vehicle to block their tow trucks. He said the Fayette County Sheriff’s office told him they couldn’t do anything because he had a parking contract with S-Line.

Sign posted by Shell Station owner on his business

“I never thought I was going to hurt anybody, or hurt my business, or hurt myself, or have this to think about.”

The City of Memphis told WREG its permits office is investigating A1’s Towing and Hauling after receiving nearly a dozen complaints from truck drivers from across the country over the last year.

Over the last five months, five A1 employees and one S-Line worker have also been arrested in separate cases involving the illegal towing of 18-wheelers. In one incident, an A1’s Towing and Hauling driver was charged with robbery, and in another, three others were charged with carjacking for allegedly taking the trucks by force.

The S-Line signs at the Shell station near Mason say drivers must pay immediately after parking, but in the list of services provided to the truck stop owner, S-Line said truck drivers would have twenty minutes to pay. The truck stop owner said he told S-Line twenty minutes was not long enough for his customers.

“They said we can make a designated area for you, and I said, ‘A designated area? For how many trucks?’ That’s what we were negotiating before all this happened,” he said.

Now, he said he wants nothing to do with the company. He said several truck stops in the Memphis area are in the same predicament and are considering suing S-Line and A1’s.

“Someone needs to stop them,” said the Shell Station owner. “The truck drivers don’t have the $3,300 to pay when they leave their truck or go to sleep or take a shower. I can give you the names and numbers of truck drivers. It’s all the same story, and it’s sad, and some of them have loads, and I feel so bad for them, and I’m really under a lot of pressure because I feel like I caused this problem.”

WREG tried contacting A1’s and S-Line but could not speak to anyone with either business.