There was an error in this gadget

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Wishing a safe, happy and prosperous 2008 to all of Towing & Recovery Footnotes' readers and your families! We're looking forward to once again being your best source of news and information for the towing industry in the year ahead.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Here's An Unusual Recovery

Click here to check out this videotaped recovery of a car that ran up a utility pole wire. It's posted on West Seattle Blog.

Christmas Kindnesses

Here's a nice story out of Everett, WA from a lady who received an unexpected helping hand from a tow truck operator. Read it here.

And here's one about Rhode Island's state treasurer Frank T. Caprio who personally reimbursed people who were towed during a Dec. 13 snowstorm. Seems that he spent nearly $30,000 during the two hours he wrote 70 checks for tow bills of up to $100. Read the full story here.

Snow Keeping Tow Companies Busy

There are quite a few stories out there now on how busy tow truck companies are staying with all the snow falling. Here's a sampling:

From Topeka, KS.

From Fond du Lac, WI.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Kids Towed with Car; Family Sues

In this story from the Omaha World-Herald, four children who were left in a car were towed while still in the car in December 2003. According to the article, the family filed a lawsuit against Heartland Towing early this December. Here's an account of what happened:
The Dorseys parked their 1999 Ford Taurus at a meter outside the Douglas County Courthouse, near 19th and Farnam Streets.

They went to court, leaving the children, including a 12-year-old, in the car.

The problem: The meter had a sign indicating vehicles would be towed between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Some meters are marked with those signs to keep traffic lanes clear during rush hour.

About 4:15 p.m., a City of Omaha meter reader put a tow tag on the Taurus and called Heartland, which has a contract to tow cars for the city.
Evidently, the meter reader did not note any children in the vehicle and the tow truck driver did not hear any children. Read the full story here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Update on July post about NYC steam explosion

Some of you may remember the steam pipe explosion in New York City this past July. A tow truck driver and his passenger were severely injured during the incident, but both have been released from the hospital. Seems that the cause of the explosion has been determined - epoxy used to fix a leak caused a clog.

Read the Gothamist story here.

Thanks for keeping it safe out there this NYE!

A hearty round of applause to all of the towing companies across the country who are committed to giving a free tow and ride home to people so they will not drink and drive this holiday season, especially on New Year's Eve!

Here's a story from Stamford, CT.
And another from CT.
And another!
I think CT get top marks for towing coverage!

Here's one about the new program in Augusta, GA.

Here's one company that has offered this service in Mt. Vernon, IL for 21 years.


Here's one from OK.
And one other.

Here's another from PA.

Here's one from MT.


Another from Albany, OR.

One from AL.

From Riverside, CA.

From Pocatello, ID.

And even one from HI.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Funny!

Found at http://funnyjokes4me.blogspot.com:

The minister's car wouldn't start. When the tow truck driver arrived, the minister says, "I hope you go easy on me. You know I'm only a poor preacher."
"Yep," replied the tow truck driver, "I've heard you preach."

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Gary Sperling. The MO tower was honored by his friends and acquaintances with a 28+ tow truck procession.

Read the story here.

Another One for the Good Deeds File

Thumbs up to WA tower Bill Sullivan of Liberty Towing and the other towing companies involved! This story is from the Tacoma Daily Index:

Tow to Go is more than a free tow

Fourteen tow truck companies hit the road Friday night in an effort to keep the holiday season safe for all motorists. The operators have teamed up with the Tacoma-Pierce County DUI Task Force to offer free rides home for people who have had too much to drink. They're also offering to tow their cars.

The program will run through New Year's Eve.

Organizers kicked the service off Friday in conjunction with the Night of Thousand Stars, a statewide emphasis targeting impaired drivers. The stars represent the more than 1,000 badges worn by officers who will be patrolling Washington's roadways in extra force beginning this weekend.

"Notoriously this is the biggest holiday party weekend of the month," said Bill Sullivan, owner of Liberty Towing and primary organizer of the program. If that celebration takes place in any of the county's 600 bars or taverns and results in someone becoming impaired, bartenders have been given information how to contact a participating tower. Patrons of licensed establishments in the area can obtain information from the bartenders.

All of the tow operators forfeit profits in order to make sure that the roadways remain safe over the holidays. Gig Harbor Police Chief Mike Davis, who chairs the Tacoma Pierce County DUI Task Force, said the program represents a holiday gift to the community of the highest value. "This is the gift of life," he said.

Program participants include Engel's Towing, Puyallup Towing, B-Line Towing, J&J Towing, Gene’s Towing, Bill's Towing, Burn’s Towing, Emerald Towing, Liberty Towing, Bayview Towing, Fife Towing, Western Towing, Tacoma Towing and Lakewood Towing.

Towing Companies/Starbucks Help Cops Reward Good Drivers

In Rancho Cordova, CA, some good drivers will be getting pulled over this holiday season - and rewarded with a $5 Starbucks card. Fast Response Towing, Allfam Towing, LJ's Towing and Central Valley Towing are sponsoring the program with Starbucks.

Read the story here.

Found Under "Weird News"

The body of a 72-year old woman was found inside a car that had been towed from an crash scene in CA. Her son had been rescued from the wreck after the incident. He apparently told rescue workers that he was driving alone, and no one bothered to actually look into the vehicle. According to the story in the LA Daily News, the woman was hidden under a deployed air bag in the passenger seat. Police are trying to determine how the woman was overlooked and whether she had died at the scene or afterwards. Yikes.

Read the full story here.

Move It Over, Please!

In this article from the Lloydminster Merdian Booster, Canadian rescue workers have been asking the motoring public to give them some space, but no one seems to be listening.
Both Saskatchewan and Alberta have laws forcing drivers to slow down to 60 kilometers per hour when passing emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, rescue vehicles and tow trucks. Despite an Alberta government radio campaign and signs posted along the Yellowhead, including one right outside of Lloydminster, it seems many motorists are not getting the message.
“There are a lot of people I come across who don’t know to slow down to 60 km an hour,” said Const. Harry Therrien of the Kitscoty RCMP.
Education isn’t the only problem. Police often have a difficult time enforcing the law, especially when there’s only one patrol car on scene where the officer is busy attending to the injured and carrying out their investigation.
Read the full story here.

FL's Successful Rapid Incident Scene Clearance Likely to be Expanded

A round of applause is certainly due to the Florida towing companies involved in this!

Due to its success, Florida's Rapid Incident Scene Clearance program will be expanded next summer. In this excellent story by Chuck McGinness of the Palm Beach Post:
Towing companies that earn bonuses for clearing major wrecks on Florida's Turnpike in 90 minutes or less have achieved a 98 percent success rate since the program started four years ago.

Can that number be duplicated on more heavily traveled Interstate 95?




About 45 towing operators, Florida Highway Patrol troopers and state officials met Wednesday to discuss the problems that need to be solved before the state-sponsored quick clearance program is set up on I-95 and other interstate highways next summer.

"There's a strong push to move this program forward based on the success on the turnpike," said Bob Murphy, a traffic management consultant for the state.

Known as Rapid Incident Scene Clearance, the program is only used for major wrecks that can close the highway or block lanes for an extended period. The towing companies need to have advanced certification and high-powered equipment to move big rigs. They earn bonuses up to $3,500 for meeting the 90-minute target and pay penalties if they don't.

The key to making the program work is communication and training, said FHP Capt. Brad Pelton.

"If everyone knows what's going on, it makes it a lot easier," said Pelton, commander of the turnpike's West Palm Beach district. "You need to make sure everyone is talking."

Initially, troopers were hesitant to summon the quick-clear team because of concerns that they would be second-guessed, Pelton said. Now, it's almost second nature when they pull up to a crash, he said.

"The sooner they get there, the sooner the road gets cleaned up, the sooner the road gets opened up and everyone is happy," he said.

The Rapid Incident Scene Clearance program is an offshoot of the "open roads" policy that was adopted by the Department of Transportation and FHP in 2002. Cutting the time that the highway is shut down can save millions in lost time and productivity for motorists stuck in long backups. The value of the savings can range from $15 an hour for the average commuter to $70 an hour for commercial vehicles, transportation officials say.

It also decreases secondary crashes and reduces the number of law enforcement officers and tow truck operators injured or killed while working a crash. On the turnpike, the duration of serious crashes has been cut about 30 minutes.

Read the full story here.


Sad news...

Come on, people! Wear those seatbelts!

A unidentified CA tow truck driver was killed this week when his truck hit a center highway divider for unknown reasons. He was ejected from the vehicle. It did not appear that he was wearing a seat belt. Read the full story here.

For the Good Deeds file

In this story from the Chicago Tribune online, an unnamed Illinois Department of Transportation "minuteman" driver used the fire extinguisher from his tow truck to put out a pickup truck when it caught fire after slamming into the back of a semi on the side of the road. The tow truck driver had stopped to help the disabled semi. The pickup's driver was trapped under the dashboard in his wrecked for more than an hour before rescue workers could cut him free. Read the whole story here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Record Number of Towers Attend Meeting on IL Legislation



Hosted by Worldwide Equipment Sales, the December 13 zone meeting of the Professional Towing and Recovery Operators of Illinois drew a crowd of over 200 towers representing 120 towing companies from Illinois and Indiana. The meeting concerned the latest towing company regulations established by the state of Illinois, known as the "Truth in Towing Act."
According to Bill Gratzianna (second-vice president of the PTROI ), “This was the largest turnout at a PTROI meeting in recent memory." Towers listened to Bill Howard (PTROI president ) [Pictured above] & Joe Pedigro (PTROI Legislative Chair ) present all the facts pertaining to the new law , they also answered the rather large volume of questions from the group.
Learn more about the PTROI at www.ptroi.org.

Fuel Costs Crushing MA Towing Companies...

...with no relief in sight from the Department of Public Utilities, according to a recent press release from the Statewide Towing Association or STA.

“The effect of this has been devastating to our industry. The towing industry in Massachusetts is comprised mostly of very small “Mom and Pop” operators”, said William Johnson, President of the Statewide Towing Association, an organization representing many of the State’s towers in Massachusetts. “These operators have been handcuffed by the inaction of the DPU. While operating costs have skyrocketed with the higher fuel costs, state regulators have been unable to develop a fair system for developing a fuel surcharge. Without approval by state regulators, the towing industry is unable to adjust to compensate for the higher fuel prices.”

Read the full press release and timeline of action here.
Learn more about the Statewide Towing Association at www.statewidetowing.org. To learn more about the fuel surcharge issue, contact William Johnson at bill@gogtt.com or call 413-575-3104.

EPA Blocks States on Emission Rules

This story from the New York Times was found on AOL News: CA and 16 other states have been denied the right to set their own standards for automobile carbon dioxide emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.

The emissions standards California proposed in 2004 — but never approved by the federal government — would have forced automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, with the cutbacks to begin in 2009 models.

That would have translated into roughly 43 miles per gallon for cars and some light trucks and about 27 miles per gallon for heavier trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The new federal law will require automakers to meet a 35-mile-per-gallon fleetwide standard for cars and trucks sold in the United States by 2020. It does not address carbon dioxide emissions, but such emissions would be reduced as cars were forced to become more fuel efficient.

California’s proposed rules had sought to address the impact of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from cars and trucks that scientists say contribute to the warming of the planet.
Read the full story here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Publicity - Examples

Think YOU can't take advantage of any good press opportunities? (See the post below). Here's a great example:

In this story from The Chronicle-Telegram of Ohio, Dave Vaughn Jr. of D&A Towing in South Amherst had one of his trucks wrecked by a runaway car in February. However, he's received some local attention now, thanks to winter weather. The story had quotes from Dave Hall of Hall’s Towing in Avon and Butch Tomazine of Fritz’s Garage in Lorain, as well.

Additonally, kudos to writer Jason Hawk who pointed out Ohio's "Move Over" laws and put in information from Harriet Cooley of TRAA. Nice!

Other mentions:
From Terre Haute, IN
From Milford, MA
From Columbia, MO

Friday, December 14, 2007

Promote Your Professionalism!

Winter Publicity Tips

If you’re looking to promote the professional image of your towing company, Mother Nature is your ally. Right now, many parts of the country are dealing with mounds of snow and layers of ice that make driving treacherous – and tow truck companies super busy.

It’s an ideal time to tell the story of your hardworking employees who are out there for hours on end in the cold. Let your community know how your company is rescuing stranded motorists, jumpstarting cars with dead batteries and unlocking cars that people have left running to warm up.

Today, I (and several thousand others) received a daily e-newsletter for journalists called “Al’s Morning Meeting.” Al Tompkins, the broadcast/online group leader for Poynter Online, listed a number of great ideas for news people covering winter storms.

Tompkins included tips from Tom Linder, news director at KARE-11 TV in Minneapolis, MN. Here’s one:

“Go to the impound lot. One way to do this story is to hang a wireless mic on the person working at the impound lot who has to suffer the abuse of people whose cars have been towed because they parked on snow routes. The people who show up to claim their cars have had to find a way to get to the lot. In Minneapolis, they have to pay nearly $175 in penalties and towing charges. On top of that, there could be impound fees. The people who pay these fees are not happy. Some people just do not hear about approaching storms, despite extensive media coverage, so they don't move their cars from snow plow routes.”

Talk about an easy and no-cost way to get some attention for your company! Call your local news stations. Extend the invitation to a reporter to come out to your office and put a mic on your car release person. Offer to let a reporter work the release desk and experience a day in your shoes.

There may even be a reporter in your area who already goes out and does someone’s regular job for the day. Offer to have him or her ride with you or your top driver to see the variety of work, from winch-outs to wrecks and everything in between, which occurs in one snowy day.

Here’s another tip that Linder offered to fellow news people:

“Consider packaging a bunch of user-generated videos into one showcased story. This is especially useful when you are short on photojournalists because they are out on live shots or snow duty. Do your best to verify who sent the videos; verify that the videos are legitimate. Give the contributors credit. Tell the story of the people who bothered to send it to you.”

Do your operators carry the latest and greatest phones that shoot pictures and video? Put them to good use! Email pictures and videos of events that your drivers see while out on the road in the snow all day. Make sure to include all of your contact information so the news people can verify the contributions and attribute them accurately. I love his last line: “Tell the story of the people who bothered to send it to you.” Let them tell your story!

Journalists are looking for stories now, so be available when they call. Make sure your office people know that they can give out your cell phone number to news people. You may be really busy now, but you need to make the time to grab a great opportunity for some positive and free publicity.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tree Cutter Comes to Towers' Rescue

This story about a tree cutter who jumped into action with a chain saw and saved two men who were trapped inside a tow truck after falling trees crushed the cab comes from The Daily World of WA. Read it here.

Kudos to AAA Tidewater (VA)

Their "Tow to Go" program for tipsy drivers is being co-sponsored by Anheuser-Bush and Hoffman Beverage Company. According to the story on HamptonRoads.com:

Created with the stubborn intoxicated driver - the one who would rather risk lives than leave a stupid car in a stupid parking lot over night - in mind, Tow to Go offers a free tow and ride home to anyone who may have had one too many.
Read the full story here.

"How the Grinch Towed Christmas"

Gotta say it... Bad headline for this story in the The Standard of Maclenny, FL about a private property towing incident prior to a parade, especially since it seems that Kenny and Kirk Miracle of Miracle Towing and Recovery went waaay above and beyond (see highlights I made in the story below). Should have been "How Two Miracles Saved Christmas."

How the Grinch towed Christmas


Twenty-five automobiles lined the outskirts of a parking lot on Friday night. By Saturday quite a few less faced Macclenny Avenue. Instead some early parking parade goers found their vehicles lined along side a fence in a tow yard, instead of a front row seat they thought they occupied.

Some found themselves a little confused when they arrived in the CVS Pharmacy parking lot on Saturday, only to find the vehicle they parked early to avoid the crowd was gone, towed at the request of CVS Management.

Kenny and Kirk Miracle of Miracle Towing and Recovery pulled into the parking lot of the local pharmacy late Friday night ready to tow over 25 vehicles that took up well over one third of the parking lot. When they recognized several of the vehicles they called the owners and informed them that their car/ truck was next to go. A total of four cars were towed on Friday night and two more on Saturday morning.

When Kirk Miracle got the call, he and his brother both knew the appropriate signs had to be displayed stating that the parking lot was a tow away zone. Miracle relayed to a store manager that by Florida law before you tow vehicles, signs were to be placed around the property so that owners would not call law enforcement to report their vehicles stolen. However, the management insisted that his company tow the vehicles before the signs were up.

Several signs were placed on the property letting drivers know the parking lot was a tow area zone, but it was to late for six owners. When word spread that vehicles were being towed many rushed to recover theirs before it was carted away.

As for the six that 'didn't get away,' Miracle cut them a deal and only charged $45 in fees. CVS management did not return our calls.

NJ May Enact "Move Over" Law

Thumbs up to Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Denville, who sponsored bill S2422, which is called the "Move Over Act." Tow trucks are included! Here's the story from Land Line Magazine:
‘Move Over’ rule sought in New Jersey

A practice followed by professional truck drivers for decades would become law for all drivers in New Jersey in a bill that could come up for consideration in the final month of the regular legislative session. The proposal is designed to protect emergency personnel and certain vehicles during roadside stops.

Sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Denville, the bill would require drivers to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles parked by the road with their lights flashing.

Dubbed the “Move Over Act,” the bill would require drivers to merge into a lane further away from emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles, if practical. On two-lane highways, drivers would be required to reduce speed before passing.

Failure to obey the rule would result in up to a $500 fine.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.

The bill – S2422 – is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would move to the Assembly. All legislation must pass both chambers prior to the end of the regular session, which is scheduled for Jan. 8.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
keith_goble@landlinemag.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

$450,000 due to MI Towing Co.

Interesting story out of Flint, MI. In August 2004, the mayor canceled the city's towing contract with Complete Towing and the city started its own impound lot. Complete Towing had served the city for 18 years.

From The Flint Journal story:

The lawsuit itself is over storage fees because 286 cars were left until late November at Complete Towing, owned by Jim Patton, after Williamson canceled the contract in August.

A jury agreed in December 2005 that the city owed a $10 daily storage fee for each car, plus attorney fees and interest. The total verdict then was $406,103.

The city now must pay $453,549 because of additional interest incurred while the city appealed the earlier verdict.

"Mayor Williamson is fighting this personal battle with Jim Patton with taxpayer money," said Steven Spender, an attorney for Complete Towing. "That irritates me and that should irritate the taxpayers."

Spender said he does not know why Williamson has a "vendetta" against Patton. Patton declined comment.

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Info on NUG

Here's the link to a release from the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Public Works and Transportation where the National Unified Goal (NUG) was launched. Don't know what NUG is? Read the release here.
Read the Nov. 20 TowBlog post below.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hall of Fame Nomination Deadline 12/31/07


Do you know a man or woman involved in the towing industry worthy of international recognition? Help them get the acknowledgment and thanks he or she deserves. Nominate this outstanding person for the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame, the highest honor for anyone involved in the towing industry.

A nomination form is available in the Fall 2007 museum newsletter, The Museum View, or download a PDF version online at http://www.internationaltowingmuseum.org/friends.htm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Vent for the day

In this story from the Journal and Courier Online, a Purdue University student is suing an Indiana towing company for removing his illegally-parked car from an apartment complex. Read the full story here.

Of course, the towing company is being called "predatory" - no matter that the student infringed on someone else's rights by leaving his car in resident-only parking. (Hmmm... Shouldn't he also sue the hosts of the party he attended for not telling him where to park?) He's suing for three times the amount of the tow.

And, let's not forget about the Councilman-elect who is supporting the student in his endeavor because he is working "to improve student life in West Lafayette." Wow - that's lofty.

Let's hope that the judge helps this student learn one a really important life lesson - taking responsibility for your actions.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is this the best that CNN and AOL could do?

Ok, I'm not knocking the whole article because it's actually one that DOESN'T slam the towing industry. However, it is by CNN/AOL Autos... Out of all of the professionals in the industry nationwide, they could only find one guy in Virginia who doesn't even work full-time as a wrecker operator AND would prefer to remain anonymous? Jeez, at least they gave the International Towing Hall of Fame and Museum a picture. Read the full story here.

Extrication Fest 2008 Announced

What: Extrication Fest Presented By The Emergency Services Training Institute of the Texas Engineering Extension Services (a member of the Texas A&M University System) and Midsouth Rescue Technologies.

When: March 14-16, 2008

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX

Fee: Courses Range from $125 to $150 (see website for details)

Offerings:
  • Three levels of Auto Extrication Training
  • Big Rig Rescue
  • Patient Care
  • Scene Management
  • Supplemental Restraint System Technology
  • Hybrid Vehicle Anatomy and Extrication
  • Expo includes live demos, training exhibits, and free classes

For more information and registration, visit www.midsouthrescue.org.

Update on "Condolences" post

On 10/4, I posted a story about 26-year old Canadian tow truck driver Amanda Frizzley who was killed on Sept. 30 when her Dr. Hook truck was hit by an oncoming GMC Jimmy. The 21-year old driver of the Jimmy, whose blood alcohol level was over the legal limit, was arrested for his role in Frizzley's death. Read the full story here.

Too bad this trailer isn't in Ontario!

In Florida, OC's Auto & Truck Service removed a mobile home that had been left on the side of the road. The dilapidated trailer is flea-infested and the owners are nowhere to be found - nice! Read the full story here.

Ontario Stepping In to Help Towing Companies

According to this story in Today's Trucking Online, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has agreed to pay towing companies for bills incurred after accidents when the owners don't.

Tow Trucks Off the Hook: MTO guarantees payment
11/26/2007
TORONTO -- Doug Nelson, the executive director of the association representing Ontario's tow-truck industry, brought some good news to the recent Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) annual conference.

He said that the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has decided to guarantee payment to tow truck operators, even if the people involved in an accident renege on the bill or skip town. Or don't have insurance. Or write rubber cheques.

The new policy to guarantee tow trucks payments
will speed up highway reopening: MTO
Non-payment has been a huge issue in the tow-truck business. Nelson says that in recent years, as many as 20 or 30 percent of tows never get paid for a whole variety of reasons and the result was, many Ontario tow operators were becoming reluctant to respond to callouts. Or if they did respond and couldn't get paid up front, would refuse the job.

This new MTO guarantee will end that reluctance, Nelson -- who heads up the Ontario Recovery Group (ORG) -- told the conference.

Now, if a qualified tow-truck company doesn't get paid within 30 days of the invoice, the Ministry will step in, pay the bill, adding surcharges and fees, and then will try to collect the money from the responsible parties.

To qualify for the program, the tow-truck operators must meet specific criteria. The operator must first complete and sign an MTO contract and be approved by the MTO; the tow operator has to try to collect the invoice and the effort must be documented, and the operator must promise to try to help the MTO recover the outstanding debt if the Ministry requests.

The program only applies to accidents that happen on provincial highways and for accidents involving vehicles with a GVWR of 6,000 kg or more.

According to a spokesman from the MTO, the new program is all part of the plan to speed up the re-opening of highways after collisions. To that end, the Ministry has struck a working group with the trucking industry, the tow-truckers and the police to study other ways to clear accidents faster.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tow Truck vs. Pool

Pool loses. In a story from Worcester, MA, an unmanned tow truck took a roll down from the top of a steep street and ended up slamming through a white picket fence and into an above-ground pool.
Nobody was injured in the mishap, but pool owner Lucien M. Tuluka, of 6 Lorraine Road, won’t be taking a dip anytime soon. The heavy tow truck buckled one side of the round pool, allowing some water to gush out and run down the street.



Mr. Tuluka said a small amount of the escaped pool water seeped into his basement but didn’t cause any damage.

He was in the basement about 2:45 p.m. when he heard an odd rumbling noise coming from above, he said. It sounded as if his wife was moving furniture upstairs. About five minutes later, when he went upstairs, he caught a glimpse of something big and red through a side window.

“I saw a red car in the pool. I said, ‘Oh, my God. What movie is this?’ ” Mr. Tuluka said.
Evidently, it took another tow truck to drag the other out of the pool and back to the road.
Read the whole story from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette News here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks for stopping by in Baltimore!

Nice to see everyone at the show in Baltimore this past weekend. Thanks to all of you who stopped by the Towing & Recovery Footnotes booth to pick up a copy of the November issue and to chat with me and the Footnotes crew.

Hey! We CAN all just get along! While these two rivals might have opposing views on who has the best products, they can agree that Footnotes is tops!
On the left, we have Erik Stewart of Sava Products;
on the right, we have Howard "Scooby" Eagan of MatJack.

National Unified Goal (NUG) Announced by NTIMC


On November 20, the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC) announced its 18-strategy proposal called the National Unified Goal (NUG).

NUG has three goals: 1) Responder safety; 2) Safe, quick clearance; and 3) Prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.

The initiative is endorsed by the Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA).

Read more about NTIMC and NUG here.

AAA Launches "Move Over" Campaign


On November 16, AAA announced a year-long awareness campaign promoting "Slow Down, Move Over" laws. According to the press release, 41 states currently have such legislation, but only 24 include tow trucks and other roadside assistance vehicles.

The effort has two primary components. One is enactment in all 50 states of “Move Over” laws that cover tow trucks and other roadside assistance vehicles in addition to law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances. These laws require motorists to change lanes to provide an empty travel lane between their vehicle and emergency vehicles along the roadside, or to slow down while approaching—and passing—a traffic incident, if moving to another lane is not possible.

The second element is a national public awareness campaign that will include the use of public safety announcements and other publicity efforts featuring testimonials from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver David Ragan. Ragan is the rookie driver of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion. His father, Ken Ragan, is a former tow truck driver for AAA. Because race car drivers must “slow down and move over” when an incident occurs on the track, and because of his family experience with the hazards of working along the roadside, Ragan is ideally suited to discuss this topic with race fans and other drivers.

Read the entire AAA press release here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Definitely a HAZMAT situation...

After a cattle truck went into a ditch in Texas, 65 of the 138 animals on board were killed. It took six wrecker loads to dispose of the carcasses. Here's the story in the Times Record News.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yeah, I'd say they were "startled!"

From Palatka, Florida in The Palatka Daily News:

Naked man charged with stealing truck



Employees at Johnson’s Towing were startled Friday morning when a naked man ran onto the business’ property and stole an employee’s truck, authorities said.

According to witnesses, sometime around 10 a.m., the naked man, identified as Wayne Dennis Bolan, 41, came onto the business at 352 N. U.S. 17 and hopped into a pickup truck owned by Dean Johnson, brother of owner Donald Johnson.

“He ran into our lot buck naked and ran straight to my truck,” Dean Johnson said. “One of the guys hollered out, ‘There’s a naked man running through our lot,’ and my brother ran outside. Then the guy cranked the truck and was backing it up.”

Johnson said Bolan spun the tires, shooting gravel everywhere, then crashed into a fence, tearing down the business’ gate.

Dean Johnson said he ran out of the office and jumped into the bed of the truck. At that moment Bolan put the pedal to the floor and began fleeing down U.S. 17.


“I realized what was happening and, like an idiot, I jumped in the back of my truck,” he said. “When he hit the asphalt on 17 I knew that I needed to get out.”

According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the truck began doing “doughnuts” on 17, spinning around and leaving skid marks on the road.

Realizing that he was in real danger due to Bolan’s erratic driving, Dean Johnson said he picked an instant when the tires were spinning freely to bail out. At that moment, however, the truck caught traction and Johnson was thrown out.

Fortunately, Johnson only suffered some bruises and asphalt burns from the pavement and was quickly picked up by his brother, Donald, who had been following in his own truck.

The brothers pursued the vehicle down State Road 100 west through Palm Avenue, when the truck slowed and turned into the parking lot behind Lowe’s Building Supply.



According to the sheriff’s office, Bolan, having cornered himself, jumped a culvert pipe and crashed the truck into a ditch.

Dean Johnson said he and his brother then pulled the suspect out of the truck.

At that moment, Sheriff’s Maj. Gary Bowling and Sgt. Rodney Harper arrived and handcuffed Bolan, who was then taken by ambulance to Putnam Community Medical Center. While there, he was given clothes and medically cleared for booking.

Bolan was booked into the Putnam County Jail, where he was charged with grand theft auto and simple trespassing. His bond was set at $1,508.

Dean Johnson said his truck, a 1987 model with only 80,000 miles, was totaled.

“It’s just crazy,” he said. “How often does a naked guy run and jump in your truck and leave with it?”

rbartlett@palatkadailynews.com


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

International Towing Hall of Fame & Museum News

The New Hall Of Famers: Seven outstanding industry leaders have been inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame as the Class of 2007.
Richard D. Bays, Jr. (Watsonville, California), John E. Chambers (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada), Harriet S. Cooley (Bethesda, Maryland), Richard A. Frasier (Hague, New York), Pat Herring (Somerset, Pennsylvania), Randy Olson (Chattanooga, Tennessee), and Joseph Pedigo (Normal, Illinois) were nominated by members of the International Hall of Fame and Museum for their many contributions to the towing and recovery industry, their families and their communities.
The Hall of Fame members were recognized at an induction ceremony held September 14th, 2007 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. With the closing of the 2007 Class Induction, the International Towing & Recovery Museum is now accepting nominations for the Class of 2008. Please find the nomination form on the museum’s Web site at www.internationaltowingmuseum.org.
For additional information about the inductees, or a photograph of the Class of 2007, call Cheryl Mish at the Museum.

At the Wall of the Fallen in Chattanooga.
Photo by Al Gregg of Dakota Service & Repair.


The Wall: First Names -
The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum has officially unveiled the first addition of names on the “Wall of the Fallen” Memorial Wall that was originally dedicated on September 9th, 2006. The complete list of names is in the November issue of Footnotes.At a memorable and emotional ceremony, 94 names were unveiled on bronze nameplates as hundreds of people watched. The Flag Truck also unfurled for the first time the office flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation in a fitting tribute to our fallen towing operators.
This ceremony was the first annual name unveiling and will continue to be held every year in the City of Chattanooga on the 3rd Saturday in September.
Here's a story about the late Bill Garrett, owner and operator of Garrett Wrecker in Checotah, OK who was one of the fallen honored on the wall.

Here's a video story by WDEF News 12 about the ceremony.

And an additional story about a VA tow truck driver John Drees whose name is now on the Wall.

The Fund: First Donation -The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum’s Survivor Fund recently released the first donation of $1,000 to a towing operator’s family. The Fund was established in November 2005 by the Board of Directors with help from many volunteers.

Survivor Fund money is available to any family that loses a towing operator in the line of service as long as it is applied for within 90 days from the date of death. Money can be applied for with the necessary pertinent information such as a death certificate and police report of the accident. All money must be applied for by an immediate family member (ie. Mother, father, brother, sister, etc.).

For more information about the Survivor Fund including the mission statement and an application, visit www.thesurvivorfund.com.

The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, the world’s only Industry museum, opened September 22, 1995. The museum houses 17 antique tow trucks along with industry displays and memorabilia. The museum is located in Chattanooga , Tennessee , home to the Ernest Holmes manufacturing company, the first U.S. manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment. For additional information, call (423) 267-3132.

Final Farewell to VA tower

Our condolences go to the family and friends of Junior Woody of Woody's Garage in Virginia who died in early October after being crushed by a bus he was trying to tow. Read the tribute to the veteran tower by Richmond Times-Dispatch writer Bill McKelway here.

Great Recovery Pictures!

Check out the series of photos online at Pensacola News Journal of a Dodge Truck being recovered from Florida's Santa Rosa Sound by Fletcher's Towing.

Child Left in Car is Discovered by a Tow Truck Driver

Just last month (check out the September 8 "Yikes!" post about that), there was a story about a toddler left in a car who jumped from that car while it was being repossessed. Now, here's a story about another toddler, this time in TX, who was left in the car that was parked illegally and was discovered by tow truck driver Stacy Holland when he brought the car back to the lot. Read the khou.com news story and watch a clip of the tow truck driver's interview here.

Good Profile on S&V Towing of Canada

...and check out the picture of them doing some ice fishing to retrieve a Hummer! Read it here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not just for rescuing cars...

Tow trucks are handy for helping animals, too!

Deer Gets A Lift: Jason Schultz, who drives a wrecker for Preferred Towing of MI, helped pull a 80-to 100-pound buck out of a six-foot well. A six-year old girl from saw the deer go in and her insistence led to the rescue. Read the story in the Times-Herald here.

Towing Company Pulls "Mountain" out of a Pool: Fountain City Wrecker of Knoxville TN helped hoist a 1200-lb horse named Mountain out of a pool behind a vacant home recently. Check out the story and a picture of Mountain here.

More Tow Heroes - AL & TX

Similar to a recent story about a Canadian tow truck hero (see post further down the page), Rusty Whitten of Eagle Towing in Alabama pulled one car away from the fiery wreck of another after a deadly crash. His actions helped to save three occupants, a father and two children.
Read the full story here in The Southeast Sun.
Check out another story on Whitten's actions from WTVY News4.com here.


Two Texas tow truck drivers, Hector Garfias and Todd Saunders, drove into rising waters to rescue an elderly couple who were stranded in their car. Read the CBS11TV news story here and watch the video clip.

Nice story on a CO tower

Found this story by Paul E. Anna in The Aspen Times about Wayne Crain of Ajax Towing. Read it here.

Another Educational Opportunity!

The Extreme Extrication Seminar, a three-day workshop that includes the Great Florida Fire School, will be held in Avon Park, FL. It's hosted by Ex-Team Heavy Rescue and runs from Wednesday, November 7, to Saturday, November 10. There's also a Friday night banquet. Cost to towers is $150. To register, visit www.exteamrescue.com and go to the "Class Information" page.

Haven't heard of the Ex-Team? Read about them here in the first section of the January '06 issue of Towing & Recovery Footnotes on p. 23.


Read about a good example of crosstraining here. Las Vegas Fire and Rescue have teamed with Ewing Brothers Towing to train for quick response to major accidents.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Upcoming Educational Opportunities

Wreckmaster Classes being offered:

OCT. 31 & NOV. 1 - Level 2/3 in Oklahoma City, OK

NOV. 3 & 4 - Level 2/3 in Old Bridge, NJ

NOV. 3 & 4 - Level 4/5 in Roanoke, VA (The Woodland Place, Vinton, VA)


Visit www.wreckmaster.com to register and learn more.

Unsolicited Advice: Keep the gate closed.

Remember that story in early October about the FL football player who stole a car back from a towing company (if you don't, check out the Oct. 4 post below). The property owner didn't press charges. Well, it appears that an average customer pulled the same stunt and police are making sure she gets the same treatment as the football star...

Read The Gainesville Sun story here.

Jerr-Dan Continues to Offer towPartner Memberships

Jerr-Dan will once again provide towPartner basic memberships to the entire towing and recovery industry in 2008.

According to the press release:
towPartners will provide these Basic Members a large number of cost savings benefits including quality programs from trusted brands such as Aramark, Sprint Nextel, Office Depot, Dell, Aircharge, T-Chek and more. With a current offering from well over thirty Supplier Partner companies and more being added regularly, towPartners is uniquely positioned to save the towing industry more money than ever. In 2007, towPartners expects to save its members well over seven million dollars and Jerr-Dan’s provision of these memberships in 2008 promises to save the industry millions of additional dollars.
To learn more about towParnters, visit www.towpartners.com and check out the Towing & Recovery Footnotes' profile of towPartners' vice-president Jeffrey Godwin in the first section of our October issue on page 14.

SIDENOTE: towParnters has also announced that towSearch.com, its online road service provider tool, has exceeded 22,000 listed companies from across the United States. Over 500 offer customers a 10% discount for going through towSearch. Read the whole press release here and check out towSearch here.

Canadian Towing Hero!

A standing ovation goes to an unnamed Canadian wrecker driver who saved a driver from a fiery wreck. Here's the story from TheStar.com:


Toronto Star Staff Reporter

A quick-thinking tow-truck driver saved the life of a driver trapped in her car after being struck by a suspected drunk driver in Richmond Hill today, say York Region police.

The victim was driving her Toyota Camry eastbound on Elgin Mills Rd. in the curb lane when she was struck by a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck travelling westbound in the passing lane around 2 a.m. Witnesses say the driver of the Avalanche suddenly swerved left and crossed the eastbound lanes, striking the south curb and then swerving out again, striking the Camry head-on.

The Avalanche burst into flames and the woman was trapped in her Camry near the burning truck.

A tow-truck driver who witnessed the accident used his truck to pull the Camry away from the burning vehicle.

The driver, who was extricated from her car by Richmond Hill fire services, was taken to hospital where she remains in serious condition.

The driver of the Avalanche was not injured, while his passenger suffered minor injuries.

Investigating officers believe the driver of the Avalanche was driving with an illegal blood alcohol level.

Charged is Robert Roberts, 38, of Aurora.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 28.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Predatory Towing Legislation Signed in NJ

According to this Associated Press story, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed legislation to protect the public from predatory towing companies on Wednesday, 10/24.
The law, called the Predatory Towing Prevention Act, sets maximum towing fees, prevents towing companies from offering kickbacks for information about illegally parked vehicles and requires tow operators to be registered with the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
Read the full story here.

Here are more details on the legislation from PoliticsNJ.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sometimes, you just gotta tell it like it is!

Here's a story by Mike Gerrity from the Montana Kaimin that had me laughing - especially the last two lines.

Missoula County Search and Rescue volunteers got well acquainted with an Idaho resident this week after rescuing him twice within a few days.

Search and Rescue volunteers went out to the Telephone Butte trail 25 miles from the Blue Mountain trailhead west of Missoula on Friday night to retrieve a pair of hunters who slid their 2003 Ford Explorer off the icy trail and got high centered.

Volunteer Chief R.J. Nelsen said that Roger Woodworth, who owned the SUV, was trying to navigate a very narrow and rough trail.

“It’s pretty treacherous,” Nelsen said. “It’s barely wide enough for ATVs.”

Search and Rescue volunteers later retrieved the stranded hunters using all-terrain vehicles Friday night.

On Monday afternoon, however, Woodworth attempted to retrieve his SUV with the help of Sparr’s Towing Service.

On the way out, the tow truck broke down, and the man had to be rescued again along with Bernie Kuhnf Jr., the tow truck driver.

“So now there’s two vehicles up there,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen added that his crew of volunteers had been awake for more than a day after having to rescue the driver and go to their day jobs in the morning.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Nelsen said.

Kuhnf Jr. said that his towing company will try to retrieve the two vehicles on Wednesday, and the stranded hunters should not have been up on that trail in the first place.

“They were two old idiots,” Kuhnf Jr. said.

Woodworth could not be reached for comment.

I'm betting that there might be some trouble collecting on that tow bill...


Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's all over the news...

...so I had to at least mention it. Tony Joiner, senior football captain of the Florida Gators for the University of Florida, was arrested early Tuesday for removing his girlfriend's car from Watson's Towing in Gainesville without paying.

According to the Florida Today story,
[Property owner Stan Forron] Forron says Joiner had actually talked to the dispatcher who was working early Tuesday morning and had made arrangements to
pick up the car. The employee left to get some food, and the gate to the company was left open. Joiner showed up to pay the towing bill, waited for some time and got impatient and decided to go ahead and take the car and worry about the bill later.
But another employee noticed the car being removed and called police. Forron claims a worker at Watson's Towing told the Gainesville Police not to charge Joiner, that the company just wanted the money Joiner was supposed to pay.

Yes, the Towing & Recovery Footnotes website is back online!

Check out the latest issue of Footnotes and all of our back issues at www.trfootnotes.com!

Condolences

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Canadian tow truck driver Amanda Frizzley. The 26-year old worked for Dr. Hook Towing and was killed when her tow truck was hit by a SUV. Read the story in The Winnipeg Free Press here.

Towers said good-bye to 43-year old Donald L. Wheeler of Weymouth, MA, owner of D&D Towing in South Boston. He died of a sudden illness and his colleagues participated in a 80-truck procession to honor him. As reported in The Boston Globe story, "Wheeler's beige casket was tied with a yellow strap to the bed of his favorite tow truck, a 30-foot International 4300 with a shiny red cab." Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Strange, Sad News

An Arizona tow truck driver, Cecil Pugh, was shot and killed yesterday in a freak accident. The 59-year old was driving his truck when he was hit by a bullet that came from a rifle being cleaned by its owner. The gun owner didn't think the gun was loaded. From the Associated Press story: "The rifle discharged sending a bullet through a mobile home window covering, a window and across 29th Avenue where it struck the windshield of a tow truck that was traveling east." Read the whole story here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The One That Didn't Get Away

In this story, a woman drove all the way through a car wash and over a retaining wall. A nice new truck owned by David Wilkens of Jerry's Towing in Wisconsin was put into use for the job. Check out the pictures and article from the Hudson Star-Observer here.

NY Tower To Be Honored on the Wall of the Fallen

Here's some more information about Donald Tubia, a New York tow truck driver who was killed in 1997. He'll be honored at the ceremony this weekend at the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.

Read one story by Eric Monnat of the Herkimer Telegram here.

Read another story from The Observer-Dispatch here.

Heartwarming Story for the Day

A round of applause goes to the employees and management of Jack's Towing of Missouri for their role in helping complete a bus stop shelter for school kids in their community. This is a great example of how towing companies can build a positive image AND garner some free publicity.

Nice story by Dan Hassett in the Waynesville Daily Guide about this project headed up by one mom named Pam Fry. Read it here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yep, they're out there...

Nice profile on tow truck driver Melissa White who works for Auto Aide of Corona, CA by Jerry Soifer of The Press-Enterprise. Good pictures by photographer David Bauman, too.

According to the story, White is one of two female operators who works for Auto Aide. Thumbs up to general manager Robert Young for his matter-of-fact attitude. He's quoted: "There's companies everywhere that have women in the towing industry. She (White) gets her job done. That's all we look for."

Thumbs up, as well, to Bob Coleman of Valley Wide Towing in Moreno Valley who initially hired and trained White. He's quoted: "It was a good hire," Coleman said. "She did a good job."

Read the full story here.

Wow! Two articles about towing in one day!

Kudos to Indiana's The Journal Gazette writer K.O. Jackson for two stories today on the towing industry!

Read the first one about the towing industry in general with comments from the chairman of the Indiana Towing and Wrecker Association, Richard Mullins.

Read the second one about "rogue" towers (featuring comments Harriet Cooley of the TRAA) here.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Yikes!

A four-year old boy jumped from a SUV in Illinois after it was repossessed. The child, who was in the back seat, had not been seen by the the two men from Select Recovery of Aurora. Luckily, the child was not severely injured. Read the full story from The Beacon News here.

I am not sure why a four-year old was left unattended in a vehicle though.

Hero or Bum? ***UPDATED***

That's how a Pennsylvania tow truck driver says he has been characterized by lawyers in this story by James Conmy in The Citizens Voice of Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Last September, Bob Kadluboski rammed his City-wide Towing truck into a vehicle that had been involved in a crime. It was the suspect's girlfriend's car and only she was in it.

A jury is now involved to determine whether or not Kadluboski's intent was to injure the woman in the car.

He says he was only stopping the vehicle so that it would not leave the parking lot and cause a police chase that could potentially injure others.

Seems Kadluboski has been involved with two other such incidents in the past, including using his tow truck to stop a car carrying two people suspected in a shooting spree. Just before Kadluboski's trial started on Friday, one of the shooters was given a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison for that crime.

The jury will deliberate on Monday after closing statements.


***UPDATE*** Evidently, he's a Hero... Kadluboski was acquitted of assault charges in this case. Read the story in the Times Leader here.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Illinois "Truth In Towing" Law Signed

Designed to protect consumers at an accident scene from "pirate" towing companies, this consumer-protection legislation was signed recently by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. It actually goes into effect on July 1, 2008.

Towing companies or "safety relocators" who arrive on an accident scene must:
_be licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission.
_receive authorization from the vehicle's owner or operator before towing occurs and disclose the impound location, any fees that will be incurred, and provide a list of the owner's or vehicle operator's rights. (These rights must also be posted on a sign at the impound lot.)
_have the company name, address and phone number lettered on the tow truck.

There are other regulations, but it seems that most reputable companies will have most of these requirements already covered. Read the full story by Phil Kadner of The Daily Southtown here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Thumb's Up, A Thumb's Up and A Thumb's Down

Thumb's Up to AL tow truck driver Doug Turbeville who brought a father and daughter to safety after their car was caught in a flash flood. Read the WAFF 48 News story here and you can also watch the video.

Thumb's Up to AAA of Northern California for offering free towing to drivers who have had too much to drink over the Labor Day weekend, no AAA membership required. Read the Vallejo Times-Herald story here. ***Sorry. The story has been removed from their website.***

Thumb's Down to the IL man who was arrested for running over a tow truck driver in February. According to the Portage Daily Register story, the man was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial. The unnamed tow truck driver did survive, though both his legs were fractured and his right leg was amputated below the knee. Read the article by Todd Krysiak here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The best part of being in towing and recovery...

... is the variety of work.

Check out this boat that came off the trailer and landed on the truck that was towing it. Anyone know what FL towing company is pictured?

Here's a story of a volunteer tow truck driver going above and beyond from the the waterlogged Midwest. It was posted on a blog called "Family History" and used with permission.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An Unusual Flood Rescue

As many of you are probably aware (some of you probably all too keenly!), here in the Midwestern U.S., last week brought severe storms and flooding. We were fortunate in that other than a sleepless night, we didn’t sustain any damage. Many of our neighbors weren’t so lucky. This morning I found an interesting flood rescue story in my e-mail. It came from our local police chief through a neighborhood watch mailing list and he’s given me permission to reprint it along with the photographs.

Indy Blvd.bmp…Many strange flood stories have emerged, I just have to share one with you. On Saturday afternoon, I had just finished a twelve hour day that started with the Calumet River levy being breached close to the new Cabela’s store. At three p.m., I was up on the I-80/94 Ramp over Indianapolis Boulevard surveying the damage. The boulevard was closed off so it was quiet and peaceful up there, no cars.

Three females and a male were walking up the ramp and stopped to speak with me. They stated that they had left their car in the parking lot of the Amerihost Hotel overnight and they wanted to go back and retrieve it. I asked them if it was a black Chevrolet Equinox and they said yes. Early in the day we had State Auto and Towing remove forty-six cars from the Amerihost parking lot and I knew there was only one car left. A black Equinox with water up to the windows.

When I told them that there car was still in the lot but filled with water, the girls (in their early twenties) began crying hysterically. They then told me something I had never heard before–”Our deceased father is in the back seat of the car.”

I had to do a double take, and asked them again what they were talking about. One of the girls stated that FloodRescue.bmptheir father had recently passed away, and one of the last things he did was buy the Chevy for his oldest daughter. When he died, they had him cremated and his ashes were in an urn, in the flooded back seat of the car.

I called State Auto on my radio and they sent out a tow truck. Donald Kalina, who is our Chief of Emergency Management (a volunteer unpaid position) was the tow driver that responded. He attempted to get back to the Chevy in his tow truck, but because of the high water, he was unable to get close enough to the car for extraction. When he was advised that the girls’ father’s remains were in the backseat of the vehicle, Don offered to wade into the chest-deep, sewage-filled water, to retrieve the urn.

The girls were incredibly relieved and thankful for Don’s selfless act. If anyone ever tells you that there are very few heroes left in the world, please pass on this story…

Sincerely ,
Chief Brian Miller

A Laugh List in Honor of the Dog Days of Summer

IT'S SO HOT AND DRY IN VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA OR (insert the name of your state here) THAT...
....the birds have to use potholders to pull the worms out of the ground.
....the trees are whistling for the dogs.
....the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
....hot water comes from both taps.
....you can make sun tea instantly.
....you learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
....the temperature drops below 95 F (35 C) and you feel a little chilly.
....you discover that in August it only takes two fingers to steer your truck.
....you discover that you can get sunburned through your truck window.
.... you actually burn your hand opening the truck door.
....you break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 A.M.
....your biggest bicycle-wreck fear is: "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"
....you realize that asphalt has a liquid stage.
....the potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter.
....the cows are giving evaporated milk.
....farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

Thanks to my bro, Bo, for sending this to me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Millerfest 2007

Miller Industries Millerfest 2007 is coming up on September 14th - 16th in Chattanooga, TN.

"Tow Trucks" In Space!

For those of you with a scientific bent, here's a story on Physorg.com
(some of my regular reading material...)

Seems that the Naval Research Laboratory is working on a robotic "tow truck" to retrieve broken down satellites for repair or salvage and also to clear orbits for safety by removing "derelict spacecraft or space debris" to a junkyard orbit. Read it here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Get 'em, Cowboy!

Check out this CBS 11 news story on a police officer who shot at a driver who tried to run him over in a parking lot and the Texas tow truck driver who leaped into action.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Here's to Towers in SW FL

Kudos to Naples Daily News (FL) writer Ryan Mills for the story "The fourth responder: Tow truck driver central player at rescue scene." Good to read something positive about towing and recovery from an outside-the-industry source. Liked the photos, too.

It features Bud Gruber of Bald Eagle Towing of Marco Island and J.T. Corzo of B&B Towing of East Naples. Bald Eagle Towing's got a nice website at www.baldeagletow.com. Be sure to check out the recovery photos - especially the one of the helicopter recovery.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recognition for Rick Bays, another September Hall of Fame Inductee

Rick Bays, owner of Speed of Light Towing in Watsonville, CA, was featured in a story by writer Donna Jones in the Santa Cruz Sentinel today. Read the story here. Bays will be inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame on September 14.

Bays was profiled in our July '07 issue of Towing & Recovery Footnotes, too, on page 20 of Section 1. Read the story by TRF writer, Andrea Evans, here.

Rick Bays, Walker Verdugo, Rocky Bays, and Pio Ramirez with truck 40, a 1998 Kenworth T-800 with a Century 9055, in front of St. Patrick’s Church, one of Watsonville's oldest and most recognized landmarks.

towPartners Announces "Tow Institute"

A new towing industry training school called “Tow Institute” has been announced by towPartners. The goal of Tow Institute is to bring together Field Operations training with hands-on instruction and Business Management training.

Students will register for a preferred study track, plus a variety of elective classes, during the two-day educational sessions (Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday) that will launch in 2008.

Five events have been scheduled:


March 14-16 in Phoenix, AZ

May 2-4 in Philadelphia, PA

July 11-13 in St. Louis, MO

September 5-7 in Seattle, WA

October 17-19 in Atlanta, GA


Tow Institute is operated by towPartners and is sponsored by Jerr-Dan Corporation, Sprint Nextel Corporation and Aramark Uniform Services.

Classes are open to towing operators, business owners, managers, office staff and any others interested in the towing industry. Instructors include Rick Chron, John Borowski, Michele Godwin, Jeb Blount, Grant MacQuilkan, and Jeffrey Godwin.

The class registration fee is $595 per student. If there are three or more students registering, the fee is reduced to $500 per student. The class fee covers classes, workshops, handouts, breakfast, lunch and evening receptions.

Click here to learn more about Tow Institute.

Click here to learn more about towPartners.