SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A quick trip for gasoline before work ended up costing Susan Hillard $928 to repair her SUV after she received gasoline tainted with water.
“It just kind of shook and then clunked out,” Hillard said. “I even tried to put it in park and give it gas… no.”
Hillard said she passed other stalled vehicles near the gas station before her car shut off. A Sarasota County sheriff’s deputy helped her get to safety and tended to other stalled vehicles too.
“He said ‘there’s been at least 12 cars in this area this morning,'” she recalled. “And I look over and you can see the deputies pushing the cars out of the way.”
Her Kia Sorento was towed to a nearby shop where it was confirmed she had water in the tank. She says she put in a claim with 7-Eleven but was told, “we’ll see if we cover anything.”
That’s when she knew she’d Better Call Behnken.
Investigator Shannon Behnken started with the state Department of Agriculture and the next day an investigator was there. He said the station had removed bad gasoline in multiple drums marked gas/water and the medium and premium grades were taped off at pumps. He also said the station confirmed at least 20 cars impacted, but Hillard said the deputy told her it was around 50 cars.
A spokeswoman for 7-Eleven said their third-party administrator will work with customers whose cars were impacted. Hillard hopes this will speed up her reimbursement. She also wants more training for gas station staff to act faster to shut down pumps when tainted gas is discovered.
7-Eleven sent this statement:
“On Friday, August 20, 7-Eleven received a report of tainted gas at one Sarasota store and took immediate action to stop sales of gasoline at this location. Customers who reported their car was impacted are currently working with 7-Eleven and our third-party insurance administrator. Anyone who believes their car was impacted may call 1-800-255-0711 to receive assistance.”
A spokes for the Department of Agriculture sent Better Call Behnken an email that said in part:
“Our inspector also spoke to the franchisee, who reported that 7-Eleven, Inc. would be covering the repair costs of those consumers whose vehicles had been affected.
Repairs are needed to the station’s premium storage tank before mid-grade and premium gasoline can be sold again. However, the station will not sell either grade of fuel prior to passing a follow-up inspection by the Department.”