Drivers paying $500 towing fees after massive flood in Metro Detroit

Frustrated drivers say they waited hours trying to get their cars back

Stranded cars costing $500 in towing fees
Stranded cars costing $500 in towing fees

More than 48 hours after a historic flooding, part of Interstate 94 remains underwater.

Local 4 spoke with drivers whose cars were stranded on the freeway, shocked at how much money it is costing them to get their cars back.

“I feel like they want me to give them my car cause I can’t pay to get it out,” said Leonard Shirley.

Drivers caught in flood waters said tow yards are charging exorbitant amounts for their vehicles.

READ: Dozens of photos, videos show I-94 flooding, cars underwater, aftermath

“We’ve seen seven people come here and pay on average $550. You’re not getting your car,” Shirley said.

Tow companies under contract with Michigan State Police removed abandoned vehicles to clear up area freeways. On Monday, frustrated drivers waited hours trying to get their cars back.

“It’s crazy, my car is not starting. It wouldn’t even unlock with the buttons, the power wasn’t working,” said Kayleigh Stabler. “I have full coverage so I’m hoping that something, anything.”

Many drivers were stranded after more than two dozen pumps stopped working due to power outages. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has generators out to some pump houses, but the water on I-94 has no where to go.

READ: MDOT attributes cause of I-94 flooding to power failure

“Local creeks have been cresting, so we were pumping water off the roadway but it was just coming back onto the freeway,” said Diane Cross with MDOT.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the long-standing infrastructure issues that led to this need to be fixed.

“I think it’s crucial we address the crisis but seek to understand precisely where there are opportunities and needs for changes,” Whitmer said.

For homeowners dealing with water damage or drivers who can’t afford to get their vehicles back, changes can’t come soon enough.

“It’s just unfair that people like this are getting away with this,” Shirley said.

“It’s very stressful been an anxiety riddled weekend,” said Stabler.


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About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism