Letter: My Christmas Trip Back To The Sault


Christmas was upon us once one again and as I had for the past 37 years I was going to visit my mother in Sault Ste. Marie.

The trip was one of two or three I make every year to visit my mom in my hometown. Other than an ‘incident in the mid 80’s where the highway was closed at Parry Sound and I had to check into a hotel with my travelling companion at the time. That incident was painless and we made the best of it despite it delaying our return to Southern Ontario by a day. Now let’s jump ahead to Tuesday December 20 2022. There was a nasty storm forecast later in the week and since I had no commitments in Bradford I left to see my mom earlier than usual. The trip was non de-script, well for the first 511 kilometers anyway.

I was about 30 kms west of Blind River (past the meandering stretch of highway that runs beside said river) conditions were getting somewhat worse with accumulating, slushy snow on the highway but I drove accordingly keeping my speed down and a vigilant eye on the road, my little Suzuki had good tires and I felt confident. Then it happened, in a matter of 3 seconds on a perfectly straight stretch of road the back end of my car came around and I went across the oncoming lane and ended up in the ditch on the other side of the highway… flipped up on the passenger side of the car. There I was hanging sideways in my car, with great effort I released myself from the seat belt, managed to open the driver door which was now the equivalent of a hatch on top a tank. I couldn’t get it stay open but luckily a motorist stopped and held it for me, I lept from the car with the ditch was about a ten foot drop. I fell into the snow when I landed and was dressed fairly lightly for the drive, my winter coat was trapped in the car. I had bruised my ribs pretty good in the sudden stop by the seat belt and that leap didn’t help things. Another good citizen stopped (Kari?) and called 911 for me, not needing an ambulance I waited for the OPP, which at the time of writing this has still not emailed me a copy of the police report as he said he would, but that’s not my ‘beef’ here.

I am very grateful for the people that stopped to help as you can imagine I was in a terrible position. Half frozen with a badly bruised rib on the side of the highway with my car on it’s side in the ditch, i was able to warm up in the back of the OPP cruiser once it arrived as we waited for a tow company to ‘accept’ the job. After 2 turned it down a third arrived to upright my car and pull it from the the ditch. This winch out cost $100..reasonable.

I was not about to leave my car, gifts and belongings in an impound yard in Blind River so the car would taken to the Sault this was $700 … reasonable. My issue starts here as the total bill was $1416.00. Yes, I understand taxes but I don’t understand why he charged me $150.00 to drive to his yard in Blind River to process the credit card information. For some reason he did not have the technology to do this from his truck as most do. I also don’t understand the $250.00 charge on the bill itemized as ‘OPP call Hwy 17’. He charges $250.00 to the customer because the OPP called him to a job?? Finally I don’t understand the $60.00 charge for using a credit card. Not sure who is charging me this fee, the card company or the tow company but it seems incredibly wrong. HST was $156.00, nothing one can do there. So doing the math I feel the bill was inflated by $460.00.

I can’t help but feel being taken advantage of as I was in a very vulnerable position with no other options, but those 3 charges I mentioned really grind my gears, pardon the expression. Oh, the tow truck operator (also company owner) did offer to buy me a coffee which I turned down as it seemed so petty after just having paid him over$1400.00. Again I am so grateful to the people that stopped and helped me and wish I had gotten names but in that situation your mind is running wild. In conclusion the tow company made about $404.00 an hour off me in the 3 1/2 hours I used their service. In my opinion this is not to scale with what they provided.

Now I have to deal with car repairs, which is expected. Also track down the officer who has yet to send my police report of the incident (basically road conditions) but do your job and get it to me .. NOT expected!

– Thomas Buechner – Bradford, Ontario


  1. What a selfish Article , now try to put yourself in the position of the Owner of the Towing Yard . You have this money to buy your child a nice present on Christmas , it is very good

  2. I believe the point of this letter is that the victim (it seems like an appropriate description) was quoted $700 and charged (i.e. swindled) double due to hidden fees. Had he been quoted $1,400, he might have looked to make other arrangements, or at least knowingly swallowed the exorbitant charges. Make sure to get your quotes in writing people, and pay in advance, making sure they are aware that they will not get one penny more.

  3. Sounds like quite the ordeal, but everyone knows well that traveling on northern highways in December is always a risky gamble.
    The driver had their car recovered & winched out via emergency call-out (typically meaning overtime pay and/or getting pulled off another job). Then the driver requested a much further tow, likely taking the tow company out of their service range. They also have to drive all the way back to their yard, why should the tow company eat all that additional cost when they were requested to drive out of range, especially considering the current outrageous cost of diesel.
    My opinion, the driver made an expensive (and foolish) mistake but recoveries and long distance tows are expensive.

  4. What this person needs to understand is these are all costs incurred by the tow company.
    There is also costs he didn’t mention like the sky high insurance companies pay just to be in business. How about the cost of fuel ?
    The cost go on and on and up and up as you may vary well know.
    Be grateful there are still tow companies around to help you out in your time of need.

    • What you fail to explain is how you ended up in the ditch on the opposite side of the highway. Were you going too quickly? Did you not have winter tires? All these costs should be covered by your insurance company unless of course they are not covering the claim. Please be grateful that there was plenty of assistance available to you at a vulnerable time. Also in terms of the officer getting you the report , please note that you could not do anything with it during the holidays as repair shops, dealerships and insurance companies would be closed until the 27th at the earlierst. What exactly is the point of your article as i would think that the price you got charged to tow your vehicle to the Sault was more than reasonable. Glad you are not injured and hope you spent a wonderful time with your mother. cheers

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