AAA suspends Island contractor following tow truck driver arrest

AAA said it will continue to provide roadside assistance.

AAA is working to provide roadside assistance to Martha’s Vineyard motorists who rely on the auto club following the suspension of longtime contractor Pilgrim Road Auto Repair in Edgartown, after the arrest of one of the company’s tow truck drivers for theft from a driver he was sent to help.

Currently, AAA is relying on several Island garages to fill the service gap. “AAA Northeast was deeply concerned and disappointed to learn about the incident involving a tow truck driver employed by Pilgrim Road Auto Repair,” Lloyd P. Albert, senior vice president for public and government affairs, said in a prepared statement. “AAA has suspended the towing company pending a thorough internal investigation. The auto club is currently coordinating efforts with local police departments on Martha’s Vineyard to ensure that AAA members get prompt emergency service.”

In a telephone call Tuesday, Mr. Albert said the priority is “all about quick, prompt service to our members.”

He said club members will be reimbursed for charges incurred with outside tow companies. Told that Michelle Dupon of Oak Bluffs had called The Times to complain that when she called AAA for assistance with a flat tire, the AAA operator was unaware of the Island suspension, Mr. Albert said the situation had been rectified, and that all Island calls were now being handled by a smaller team of dispatchers so that everyone was on the same page.

On Wednesday, Dec. 23, Oak Bluffs Police said, Pilgrim Auto tow truck driver Brett C. Geddis, 25, of Edgartown answered a call for AAA assistance from a woman whose car would not start, and stole a wallet she had left in her stranded vehicle.

When police located Mr. Geddis later that morning, a search of the tow truck he was driving turned up two replica firearms, illegal prescription drugs, marijuana, and a hypodermic needle, but not the victim’s wallet.

Police arrested Mr. Geddis on larceny and drug possession charges.