Drivers who were trapped on I-280 surprised to find out cost of towing

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

Dozens of motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles on Interstate-280 Wednesday night due to poor road conditions during a snowstorm – and many of them tell News 12 New Jersey that they were surprised by how much Moran Towing in Newark charged them to tow the vehicles.

Ijeana Dessalines says that she was trying to get to Denville Wednesday night to get to her job as a hospice nurse. But she says that she had to pull over on I-280 westbound because conditions were so bad.

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“It was so dark and you couldn’t see anything,” she says.

Dessalines says that she sat on the shoulder for several hours to wait for her husband, but that her battery died. State police told her that the car needed to be towed. She says that she was surprised to learn that she was going to be charged $585 by Moran Towing to get her car back.

“It’s just unfair for me to pay $585,” Dessalines says. “It was not even a whole night. It was just for a few hours.”

Another motorist tells News 12 that she was charged $700 to get her car off I-280. Sara Alvarez says that this includes another tow to her mechanic.

“I’ve attempted with three different people to have someone else tow my car to my mechanic that’s closer,” Alvarez says.

Moran Towing owner David Moran tells News 12 that many towing companies are not able to tow cars in such severe weather conditions. He say that his company is one of several that has a contract with the state.

“It’s the plowing process. The cars that I know of, we had to dig them out. They weren’t cars that were broken down, they were on the side of the road and plowed in,” Moran says.

Moran says that getting abandoned vehicles off the road is important so plow drivers can clear the roadways. He says that there is added cost when the cars need to be dug out.

Dessalines says that her car was not one that needed to be dug out. Moran agreed to reduce the charge for her vehicle.

Alvarez says that she wants to know she was charged so much when I-280 wasn’t shut down at the time she broke down on it.

A spokesperson for New Jersey State Police referred News 12 to the attorney general’s Department of Consumer Affairs for more answers on the towing contracts.

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