Driver takes vehicle to mechanic, has car wrecked

Story falls apart after toll bill arrives

TAMPA, Fla. - When James Worley dropped off his Lincoln Town Car at a Tampa muffler shop, he expected the vehicle to be repaired.

Instead, he got it back with even more damage.

Worley says the shop manager told him the car was in a hit-and-run accident on the lot.

But a clue he received in the mail on Tuesday appears to poke holes in that story.

“I believe there was an accident that was unreported,” Worley said.

His car's bumper cover was damaged and there were other issues after he left it at the Original Muffler City Inc. garage.  

“He said that the car was hit on the property, that when it was parked outside overnight, he came into work and when he came in, he saw that the car was hit,” Worley said the manager told him when he encountered the damage.

Worley left the car there for two weeks to undergo several repairs.

The first red flag that something wasn't right: the purported hit-and-run crash wasn't reported to police.

He said there were other puzzling clues.

“When I asked him, 'Well, where are the pieces at?' If the car was hit on the property, they would have the pieces, the pieces would have been on the ground.  He had no answer,” Worley said.

Worley said the business refused to pay for his repairs.

But then he got a SunPass invoice in the mail, showing that while his car was in the shop, it was charged for 16 tolls on six different days.

“All these toll charges were in between those dates the car was in the shop,” Worley said. 

Tolls were charged on both the Selmon and Veterans expressways.

Most happened early in the morning or early in the evening.  

We went with Worley to the business Wednesday to get answers.

The manager said he didn't want to talk on camera. But he told us off-camera that he had no idea what happened.  

“I think that needs to be answered," said Worley. "Who was driving the car during these days?"

Worley gave his toll invoice to police, who opened their own investigation, which includes reviewing footage of Worley's car coming and going on the expressways.  

WFTS-TV spoke to the owner of BigMechanic.com, who owns the muffler shop and seven other repair locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.

The owner said his manager didn't tell him the whole story, and he now he has opened his own investigation into what happened.

In the meantime, he says he will immediately pay Worley back for the tolls and the damage to his car.

Print this article Back to Top