Ronald Keirle will get his car back when he pays his $4,730 towing bill.
His what? You read it right. Wayne Gerst, who owns a service station in the Baltimore suburb of Linthicum, says $4,730 is what the 38-year-old Keirle owes for getting his car unstuck from that swamp alongside the Patapsco River down behind Bob's Bait and Tackle Shop.
Let's take it from the top:
On April 23, Keirle drove the car behind the bait shop to go fishing. It got stuck. He called a friend, whose tow truck got stuck. The friend called Gerst, whose two tow trucks also got stuck.
Then Gerst hired a bulldozer, which also got stuck.
So Gerst trucked in 90 loads of dirt and hired another bulldozer to grade a makeshift road.
"The contractor I called in had some big equipment," said Gerst. "I had three of my men and he had some of his. We were running four dump trucks."
Now that Keirle's car is out, Gerst contends Keirle told him to proceed with the work. "He was down there with all his fishing gear, drinking beer," Gerst said. "He said for us just to get the car out and his father would pay for it."
But Keirle's father, Martin Keirle, said "he [Gerst] didn't ask me. You don't take authority on word of mouth for a big job like that." Besides, he said, Gerst should be responsible for his own stuck trucks.
Oh, yes, the towing bill was itemized: $3,630 to pay the dirt-hauling contactor, $1,100 for Gerst.