He Said, He Said @ Local Body Shop
GASTONIA, N.C. - Billy Walkowiak says his visit to Rick's Body Shop in Gastonia last Friday started like this: "Merry Christmas, how are you today, smiles, very cordial!" And ended with a 911 call where Walkowiak told the dispatcher he was "at Rick Russell's body shop and he just beat the hell outta me."
Walkowiak was there to pick up a "labor rate survey." He'd collected them from 13 other local body shops. He wanted the information for his business. Walkowiak is a post collision repair inspector and has said his job is to "keep mechanics honest."
Walkowiak says on Friday, Rick Russell of Rick's Body Shop, did this: "He said 'You've taken money outta my pocket' and then his temper goes and 'You've taken money outta my boys pocket and I won't stand for that. He said 'You're not going anywhere, I blocked you in.' When he said that, I turned, he grabbed me from behind, threw me up against the truck, he jumped on top of me and started hitting me in the back of the head."
Walkowiak has pictures that he says shows injuries to his face, head and knees.
Rick Russell declined to go on camera but tells FOX Charlotte he is "innocent of everything," that "it's our business what we charge" and that "there was a shoving match but no assault." He accuses Walkowiak of price fixing.
Walkowiak says, "As for price fixing, I don't own a body shop, I have nothing to do with any body shop, I don't work a body shop, don't have anything to do with pricing in a body shop."
Gaston County police tell us that a criminal summons for assault has been filed against Russell. He will not be arrested but he will have to appear in court. Walkowiak says he also considering a civil suit.