“I’m behind Chili’s.”
As soon as Donald Barksdale hears these words, he knows exactly what has happened.
Eight or nine times a month, Barksdale gets a caller asking for help freeing a vehicle stuck in a particular ditch near Chili’s off Highway 45. Barksdale owns Champions Towing and Recovery.
The ditch is about eight feet deep and juts into an entrance to GT Lanes’ and Chili’s parking lots from Waverly Ferry Road. The unwary driver turning into the parking lot may find him-or herself stuck if an errant tire or two leaves the pavement and crosses over the ditch. Between the work he does and the calls other tow companies get, Barksdale estimates 10-15 drivers per month find themselves in that position.
“Most of them just tend to get up on the curb right there and they just need to be pulled back off of it,” Barksdale. “Then there’s been some we’ve had that … takes a lot of time to get them off or skills to get them out or you’ll be buying somebody a car.”
It can cost between $125 and $175 to have a car towed, depending on how stuck the car is and whether or not the call goes through 911. Barksdale said people who call wreckers directly usually have cheaper towing bills.
Even the employees at Chili’s have noticed. Manager Ken Garner says he sees cars stuck there frequently — though so far none of the drivers have come in to use the restaurant’s phone to call a tow truck.
He added that his employees don’t get stuck in the spot either. They’re too used to seeing it happen to other cars and know to be cautious in the area.
Usually the drivers who do get stuck are embarrassed, rather than angry or frustrated, when Barksdale or one of his employees comes to their aid, but it may not always be their fault. Barksdale thinks the problem is other drivers.
When two vehicles are trying to make a turn — one out of the Chili’s parking lot and one into it — the car turning onto Waverly Ferry Road may be taking up more than its half of the space, Barksdale explained. That way, the car turning into the parking lot has less room to maneuver. When that’s the case, it can be pretty easy for the vehicle’s right wheels to cross over the ditch and find themselves stuck in midair over a hole about four feet deep.
Barksdale says it’s happened to him before. Drivers take up too much space in the road and don’t give other vehicles room to move around obstacles — like ditches.
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