Stranded motorist's car burglarized awaiting tow

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 5 at 7:57 PM

FORT WORTH – Stephanie Stephens was afraid thieves would pick over her SUV if she left it on the shoulder of a highway in Fort Worth as she was told to do. And that's exactly what happened.

"The window had been busted out. The hood was up. The battery is gone. Everything was stolen out of it," she said.

So too was the car seat, a computer game, and new clothes belonging to her special needs daughter. Sensitive medical papers were gone, too.

It didn't start out as a big deal.

A broken radiator hose stranded Stephens about 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon on Southwest Loop 820.

She had her six-year-old daughter and two young nieces with her. Stephens called Allstate roadside assistance.

"They said someone would arrive within 70 minutes," she said.

More than two hours later, she started calling again.  

"7:38. And then again at 7:41. Then again at 7:43. And again at 8:20," she says, reading down the list on her phone log.

More than three hours later, there was still no tow truck. Stphens said the last time she called, they told her to leave the vehicle and they would come and get it.

"They canceled the service," she said. "They said they couldn't find me."

Stephens' father brought her home. A tow truck finally hauled her damaged SUV to her home Sunday night  -- 27 hours after her first call.

Allstate paid her $376 for damages to the vehicle.

"But you know," Stephens fumed, "I have to pay the $500 deductible for their negligence."

She said that's $500 she can't afford as a single mom staying home to care for her daughter.  

Stephens' insurance agent said he's trying to fight for his client.  A company representative said the insurer is trying to determine what went wrong.  Allstate sent the following response: 

We are deeply concerned about this incident and what our customer experienced in this incident.

Our response time goal with Allstate Roadside Assistance is a 15 minute turnaround. This fast service occurs the vast majority of the time. We are investigating the circumstances thoroughly to determine what went wrong, including which towing companies were involved and why couldn’t they respond more quickly.

We will take the necessary steps to make sure this does not happen again. We are also looking at how we can work with the customer to make it right with her.

Email jdouglas@wfaa.com

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