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Published 4/9/2020
11:17am

Lawsuit Against Shiawassee County Sheriff Dismissed

Claim: Towing Company Unfairly Removed from County Rotation

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Durand Now photo

United States District Court Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis dismissed Plaintiff Robert Lepley’s complaint against Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole with prejudice and without any award of attorney fees or costs.

Lepley's complaint against the Sheriff was that his towing company, Lepley & Sons Towing, was unfairly removed from the county's towing rotation and that another company, Allstar Towing, received preferential treatment.  

BeGole said in a statement "I administer policy. I don’t personally assign which tow trucks are sent. 911 dispatchers use computers to aid them in that process."

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BeGole explained "The county is broken up into five different districts to increase efficiency and promote fairness. Allstar is the only towing company that operates a functional heavy duty wrecker and has two locations in the county," adding "dispatch records clearly show Allstar Towing does not receive preferential treatment."

BeGole said that the reason Lepley & Sons Towing was removed from the county's rotation was due to Lepley's refusal to comply with the new towing policy that was established.

BeGole took office in 2017 and at that time, he said, the wrecker rotation was "plagued with problems and riddled with complaints from citizens and tow companies alike."  He said real changes had to be made to make it more dependable, honest and fair.
  
"It's ironic Mr. Lepley sued me for allegedly giving preferential treatment to another tow company when in reality it is one of the things we created the policy for and have prevented."

BeGole also accuses The Argus-Press of misleading the public with inaccurate reporting surrounding the allegations and lawsuit, which was filed in June 2019.  Lepley was removed from the county rotation in late 2018.  The newspaper reports it found, through a FOIA request, a "2- or 3-to-1 preference" in favor of Allstar Towing.  Lepley also reportedly sought reinstatement to the rotation in the month prior to the lawsuit being filed, but was denied.

We asked Sheriff BeGole for details on the county's new towing rotation policy and a list of the companies currently in the rotation.  He said he would provide that information after the holiday.

There's a lot more from Durand Now to see and hear, including this week's top stories! Keep going!

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