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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Short Hauls

Car Goes Off Cliff…Into Tow Yard – Four people in a Ford Focus went over the curb in a parking lot, through a fence and down a 25-foot embankment into the yard of Blue Hills Towing in Quincy, MA.

According to the July 16 report in ThePatriot Ledger: “Jackie Wuestefeld, owner of Blue Hills Towing, said that employee Chris Baker was releasing a towed car Sunday evening when he heard a screech and saw the Focus land upside down on the three cars.

‘‘He said he heard screeching tires, and he looked up to see what it was, and with that (the car) slid under the fence,’’ she said.

Wuestefeld said a man and a woman in the front of the car were hanging upside down, suspended by their seat belts. She said that the woman was complaining of difficulty breathing and Baker tried to hold her and the man up until firefighters arrived to free them.”

The four people were taken to the hospital and Blue Hills Towing handled the recovery of the vehicle.

-Condensed from a 7/16/07 staff story in The Patriot Ledger. Read the article here.

***7/18/07 Update: A story by WHDH-TV Channel 7 in Boston reported that the car's occupants are all ok. Read it here. ***

Tow Truck Goes Off Cliff – A tow truck in Wilkesboro, NC crashed down a 50-foot embankment in a steep section of Highway 18 after its brakes failed while towing a Schwan’s refrigerated truck.

The rescue of the tow truck driver and the Schwan’s driver who was the passenger was slowed, taking approximately 90 minutes, since at least one of the Schwan’s truck’s propane tanks was ruptured. The delivery truck runs on propane and also uses it to run the refrigerator unit. Houses in the area were evacuated until the accident was cleared.

The Schwan’s driver, Amanda Woody, was most severely injured and was airlifted to Winston-Salem medical facility and treated for a broken arm, broken ankle, bumps and bruises. The 45-year old tow truck driver, Harry McCall, fared better with only minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to a regional hospital.

-Condensed from one story on 7/12/07 and one story on 7/13/07 at the 3WC Radio News Blog. Read it here.

Tow Truck Driver May Countersue – After St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock crashed into the back of a tow truck on April 29 and was killed, his family included the tow truck’s driver in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A lawyer for Jacob Hargrove, the tow truck driver, has called for the suit to be dropped against his client and Eddie’s Towing or a countersuit would be filed.

-Condensed from a 6/21/07 story by Cheryl Wittenauer of The Associated Press in The State Journal-Register. Read the full story here.

Action Taken Against ‘Pirate’ Tow Firms in IL – A new law, Illinois Commercial Safety Towing Law (Senate Bill 435), aimed at protecting people whose cars have been involved in accidents from ‘pirate’ towing companies passed the Illinois General Assembly on June 12.

In the column by Phil Kadner, “Towing companies monitoring police calls would send solicitors to accident scenes, find out if the drivers had insurance and assure motorists any tow charges would be covered by their insurance companies.”

Other problems cited included vehicles being towed to undisclosed storage lots after owners requested tows to body shops or homes; excessive fees being charged for towing unbeknownst by owners; “cash only” retrieval of impounded vehicles.

The law will “require that towing companies disclose their charges up front, identify where the disabled vehicle is being towed and obtain written authorization from the vehicle owner.” Companies must accept all major credit cards and provide an itemized invoice upon request.

Penalties for violating the law “can result in suspension of the towing operators' license by the ICC and penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation. Employees of towing firms who violate the law can be fined $100 to $500 for each violation.”

-Condensed from a column by Phil Kadner in Daily Southtown on 6/13/07. Read the full article here.

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