Monday, June 30, 2008

Gas Prices Boon For Tow-Truck Drivers?

According to this news story from WMTW in ME, high gas prices are bringing on the business for at least one tow truck company. Click here to read it.

Unknown ID Tow Truck Driver Hero

Here's the Times-News story:
Two people were taken to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center with injuries Saturday after a sports utility vehicle turned sideways and exploded into flames on Idaho Highway 75 north of Ketchum.

The two were rescued at the scene by a witness in another vehicle, who acted quickly to remove the SUV's windshield and pull out both passengers along with their two dogs, according to a Ketchum Fire Department official.

The accident occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Highway 75 near Eagle Creek. Ketchum Fire Department Capt. Tom Ancona said a GMC Yukon pulling a camping trailer made a sudden move to avoid hitting another vehicle. That led to a chain of events that almost turned deadly.

"Apparently the driver of the suburban made an evasive move to miss another vehicle," Ancona said. "When he did, the trailer lost control, slid sideways and when it rolled, it took the truck (sideways) with it."

The trailer was carrying four propane cylinders that began leaking, released all the propane and ignited.

"The ignition source for the fire was sparks and propane," said Ancona. "It basically burned the wheels off the vehicle for all intents and purposes. Everything was totaled."

Ancona said a witness driving a tow truck had pulled over after the crash, then acted quickly.

"There were two occupants in the SUV," Ancona said. "This guy driving by in a wrecker took the windshield out and (removed) them along with two dogs."

The two passengers were later taken by ambulance to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center in Ketchum and treated for injuries, Ancona said. Authorities had no names for the two hospitalized, nor had they identified the man in the tow truck.

"If they hadn't gotten out, it would have been ugly," Ancona added.

Fire crews responded with three engine companies, needing 1,500 gallons of water and three hours to clean up the road. A state transportation department dump truck and backhoe were used to clean up the wreckage.

WI Tow Truck Driver Shot; Other Driver Robbed

Here's the story:
One tow truck employee was shot and another robbed while responding to a call from a man claiming he needed a tow.When the employees arrived at 24th and Clarke at about 7 p.m. Saturday, they asked to see the vehicles' titles.The suspect then went behind a house and pulled out a gun.One of the tow truck drivers was shot in the arm as he tried to run away.The other tow truck driver was robbed.Officers said that they have not made any arrests.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Possible Suicide by Tow Truck in GA

From, a University of GA student newspaper:
University student Jason Zhengxin Hao was killed Friday night after running into the path of an oncoming trucck on the Athens Perimeter, according to police.

According to a report in the Athens Banner-Herald, a tow-truck driver pulling a tractor trailer saw Hao crouched on the side of the road as he approached South Milledge Avenue coming from Oconee County, said Athens-Clarke police Lt. Keith Morris.

Hao darted into the road. The driver of the tow truck and his passenger "had absolutely no time to react," Morris said.

The accident is being ruled as a possible suicide, Morris told the Banner-Herald, and no charges are planned against the truck driver.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lucky CA Tow Truck Driver!

Here's an excerpt from the Banning/Beaumont Record Gazette:
It's a day Banning tow truck driver William Buell will never forget.

The driver for Stagecoach Towing said he arrived Sunday at a routine freeway flat tire call when his worst nightmare came to life.

As he stood along the freeway assisting a motorist, Buell said he looked up and saw a car pulling a boat coming right at him.

He dove for his life into the cab of his tow truck as the car sideswiped his truck, with a loud crash.

When the dust settled, Buell was one of six people injured in the accident just before noon Sunday, closing the Beaumont Avenue off ramp of Interstate 10 for hours. The crash involved three vehicles and boat.
Read the full story here.

Wrecked: Brotherhood - Video


Wrecked: The Gratzianna brothers own the Chicago O'Hare Towing Company where 'Life In The Crash Lane' is the name of the game. But does brotherly love overcome everything? the motorsports authority for NASCAR, Formula 1, auto racing, moto racing, cars, bikes, automotive, motorcycles, Pinks and more.

Tribute to IL Tow Truck Driver Who Died Monday

Here's the story from News Tribune Online:
When most people think of dangerous every day jobs, occupations such as firefighter or policeman come to mind. Hardly ever would tow truck driver be considered.
That may have changed after the death of William Burton “Junior” Waite, 49, of Ladd, who died from injuries he sustained Monday. Waite was helping a broken down tractor-trailer on the right shoulder of the eastbound lane of Interstate 80 when an eastbound Double D Express semi out of Peru ran off the roadway and slammed into the rear of Waite’s service truck.
On Friday, more than two dozen tow truck drivers throughout the region lined their trucks along Main Street in front of Holy Trinity Church in Cherry to pay homage to one of their own by leading Waite’s funeral procession to Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in La Salle.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Unnamed Tow Truck Driver A Hero To New Parents

Interesting story from Canada's Toronto Star:


The proud parents of a baby boy born on one of Toronto’s busiest highways this morning are considering naming him after his unusual birthplace, a hospital spokesperson says.

Vulpien Nzopfabarushe was driving pregnant wife Debbie McDonald to Toronto East General Hospital when they realized the baby was not going to wait, the spokesperson said.

Nzopfabarushe pulled over on the southbound lanes of the Don Valley Parkway near Wynford Dr. just after 8 a.m.

He frantically dialed 911 and with the help of an emergency services dispatcher he was able to deliver his son himself.

By the time ambulance and Toronto Fire arrived at the scene, the baby was already born and was lying on his mother’s lap, said Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell.

The baby was given oxygen because he was a little blue, Powell said, but for the most part the infant was "crying and kicking and doing normal baby things."

Powell said a tow truck driver became a Good Samaritan when he pulled over to help officials keep the family safe during the delivery.

The driver parked his rig to protect the vehicle and even redirected traffic to avoid any potential crashes.

Unfortunately, amidst the chaos, nobody was able to get his name or the name of his company, said Powell.

Toronto Police Traffic Services expressed their gratitude to the driver.

"In cases like this, citizens do rise to the occasion and do help out," said Const. Mig Roberts of Toronto Police Traffic Services.

"We’d like to say a thank you to the tow truck driver and to any citizens who were in the area who facilitated the safe delivery of the child."

Both the mother and the baby were taken to Toronto East General Hospital, where they recovered quickly, a hospital spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Nzopfabarushe and McDonald are considering naming the baby boy Shawn Don. They chose Shawn because all five of his brothers' names start with "Sh" and Don because he was born on the Don Valley Parkway.

The couple is expected to make a statement through the hospital's media relations department later this afternoon.

More on Parents Suing TX Tow Truck Driver, Towing Company & Bar for Daughter's DUI Death

Click here for the KFDM News story.

NH Tow Truck Driver Attacked For Towing Illegally-Parked Car

Jon Hatch, a 51-year old tow truck driver, was attacked by 27-year old Joel Ellis on Wednesday morning while Hatch was preparing to tow Ellis' vehicle that had been illegally-parked in a church's fire lane overnight. Ellis fractured Hatch's skull and has been charged with second-degree assault. Thankfully, Hatch's condition was upgraded from critical to satisfactory after being flown to an area hospital. Read the full story here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Story on VA's Upcoming Tow Truck Regs

From the Madison Messenger:

The state will start enforcing stricter regulations on the tow truck industry at the beginning of next year.

About 30 local tow truck owners and drivers met Friday with Benjamin Foster, the executive

director of the Board of Towing and Recovery Operators, and representatives of the Virginia Association of Towing and Recovery Operators’ Roanoke Chapter to discuss upcoming regulations to their ndustry.

Tommy Woods, vice president of VATRO, said the meeting, which was held at the Blairs Volunteer Fire Department, was called because of speculation, rumor and misinformation running through the industry about regulations due to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Woods and Robert Young, the director of the state association, said the regulations are being set up in two phases: general towing regulations and public safety towing regulations.

It is only the general towing regulations that will be put into effect in January, with public safety towing regulations following in 2010.

Foster said the laws regulating the industry and the decision to start a regulatory board came from legislators who said they got too many complaints from constituents unhappy with the service they received from some towing companies.

As a result, the Board of Towing and Recovery Operators was created in 2006 to begin the lengthy process of regulating the industry, Foster said.

Young said the regulations will help to make the industry more respected, but admits many tow truck operators are not pleased about being regulated at all.

“Do we all like what they’re doing? Absolutely not,” he said.

In January, all tow truck companies will have to be registered with the state and have decals on their trucks that show what class of towing the trucks are allowed.

All drivers will have to be fingerprinted and have background checks done, and have special authorization cards that allow them to provide towing services.

Fee schedules have not been set, Foster said, adding he expects new required decals to cost $5 to $10 per tow truck and registration fees to run between $250 and $500 a year, depending on the number of tow trucks each operator owns.

Foster said the general regulations would be finalized by October, which would give operators and drivers plenty of time to comply with the new rules by the first of the year.

Operators and drivers are being urged to contact the regulation agency to get added to its mailing list. In addition, Foster can be reached at (804) 367-0714 or by email at

Not knowing about the changes in regulations will not exempt an operator or driver from disciplinary action, such as fines or the loss of their license, once the rules go into effect on Jan. 1.

Contact Denice Thibodeau at or (434) 791-7985.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Bob Fish, owner of Bob Fish Truck & Equipment of West Bend, WI. He passed away last Friday at age 59. Read his obituary here.

Parents Sue Tow Truck Driver, Bar for Daughter's DUI Death

This was an item in a Texas legal journal called the Southeast Texas Record:
Seeking monetary compensation after their daughter was killed while driving drunk, the parents of Megan Watkins have filed suit against the establishment that sold their daughter alcoholic beverages, the tow truck driver she hit head on and the daughter's insurance company.

Melissa Dwyer and Jerome Watkins filed their suit against The Dixie Dance Hall, Travis Darby, Independent Specialty Towing (Darby's employer) and Allstate Insurance Co. on June 23 in the Jefferson County District Court.

The late Watkins' parents also requested a temporary restraining order prohibiting the defendants from tampering with evidence. Judge Bob Wortham approved the TRO on the same day the suit was filed, June 23.

Only three weeks ago, on June 5, 2008, Watkins was driving drunk when she hit Darby's tow truck head on.

Watkins parents allege the incident was caused by Darby, who had "stopped his vehicle in the middle of the roadway which caused a head-on collision," the suit says.
Read the complete version here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

IL Tow Boss Killed on Monday

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of William B. Waite, Jr., the owner of Waite's Service and Towing of Cherry, IL, who was killed on Monday morning.
Below is an excerpt from the Peoria Journal Star story:

William B. Waite, Jr., of Ladd was working on a broken down tractor-trailer on the right-hand shoulder of the eastbound lane near the Utica exit when a semi driven by Mark D. Boehm, 43, of Spring Valley slammed into the back of the truck Waite was servicing.

Illinois State Police are investigating the fatal accident. Waite was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:07 a.m. by LaSalle County Coroner Jody Bernard. Boehm was not injured.

Waite, the owner of Waite’s Service and Towing of Cherry, was accompanied by employee Christian Henninger, 30, of LaSalle. Henninger was severely injured in the accident.

Truck Driver Who Killed IN Tow Truck Driver Wants Trial Moved

The man accused of causing a fatal traffic accident earlier this month wants his trial moved out of Gibson County. Attorneys for Randall McSwain filed papers in Gibson Circuit Court asking for a change of venue. A hearing on that request will take place July 10th. McSwain faces several charges including operating a vehicle and causing a death. Investigators say he had cocaine in his system shortly after the June 6th accident that killed tow truck operator Mike Cunningham. Cunningham was standing on the side of Highway 41 when McSwain apparently lost control of his rig and ran over him.

More On The Orlando (FL) Booting Issue

Read the Orlando Sentinel story here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

CAA Supports Survivor Fund Efforts

Here's the press release:
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 16, 2008) - At the 2008 AAA/CAA Automotive Services Conference in Indianapolis, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) Clubs presented a check for $2,250 to the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame Survivor Trust Fund.

The towing industry estimates indicate that as many as 100 tow truck operators are killed providing emergency roadside assistance annually in North America. To help the families of towers killed while trying to help motorists in distress, CAA National Office Manager of Automotive Services, Dave Steventon, presented a cheque to Miller Industries Vice President of Marketing and Trust Fund Director, Randy Olson, for the Survivor Fund.

"As the largest provider of roadside assistance in Canada, CAA is glad to support the Survivor Fund. We encourage all drivers to slow down and move over when approaching any vehicle at the roadside with their lights flashing," stated Mr. Steventon.

While it is difficult to determine with any accuracy the annual number of tower fatalities on Canadian roads, it does seem that it is surprisingly low considering the dangers that towers are exposed to during the delivery of this needed service.

"On those occasions when lives are lost, it is comforting to know that the Survivor Fund exists to provide solace to bereaved families," added Mr. Steventon.

About the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

CAA is a federation of 9 automobile clubs serving over 5 million members through 148 offices across Canada. CAA provides a wide range of member services and works to improve travelling and motoring conditions at home and around the world, including national advocacy efforts on both traffic safety and public policy issues that affect Canadian motorists.

Allstate Getting Bigger Stake in Roadside Assistance

Here's the Dow Jones News story from


Allstate Corp. (ALL) has agreed to acquire a General Electric Co. (GE) unit whose operations include being the nation's second-biggest provider of roadside assistance, a deal that will make the insurer a big player in that sector.

Terms weren't disclosed for the planned purchase of the Partnership Marketing Group unit of GE Money. The deal is set to close by month's end and would make Allstate a roadside-assistance provider to more than 4 million drivers. AAA, which has 50 million members, is the biggest provider.

Allstate currently provides assistance to 1.2 million drivers, with 1.4 million additional Allstate auto-insurance holders getting towing or other benefits.

Beyond roadside assistance, Partnership Marketing provides various membership- based consumer programs and legal-service benefits plans. Allstate Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas J. Wilson said acquiring the business will "create value in businesses where we excel, tap into fast-growing markets and expand our playing fields."

-By Jennifer Hoyt and Kevin Kingsbury, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2474;

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Calvin "Pop"Allen, owner of Allen's Wrecker Service of Rock Hill, SC. He was 70. Read the story about his tribute here.

Orlando (FL) Moves to Drop Fee on Booting

Here's an update for those of you following the booting brouhaha in Orlando.

No Help Hired Yet to Enforce IL's New Towing Law

For those of you following the predatory towing issue happening in the Chicago area, it seems that the there hasn't been too much preparation on the part of the Illinois Commerce Commission for enforcement of the new "Truth In Towing" law that goes into effect on July 1. Read Phil Kadner's column in the Southtown Star here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Update on CA Tow Truck Driver Killed Last Week

Last Friday, 41-year old Gregory Ronald Gerbing died after being hit by 29-year old Oswaldo Lopez. Gerbing, who leaves behind a wife and a young daughter, was working to clear an overturned vehicle alongside the roadway. Lopez, who had been previously convicted of a DUI in December 2007, was arrested, then released, then re-arrested. Read the full story here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

CA Tow Truck Driver Killed

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of a CA tow truck driver who died after being struck by a motorist while working to overturn a vehicle on the side of the road. The unnamed tow truck operator worked for Smedley's Towing. Read the story here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Wrecked" - Towing Reality Show Premieres July 17th

Mark your calendars! Read the Footnotes story on the series in the May issue on page 17 - click here! (Ok, ok - I wrote it, too :)Click here to read what one of our Footnotes writers, Allan Duffin, has on his blog about the series.

Fire Destroys CA Tow Business Building

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the blaze that destroyed Bern's Towing and Recovery in Palermo. Owner Doyle Berns was able to rescue a few things. We wish him well as he rebuilds.

Berns was able to rescue his tow truck, a boat and his son's vehicle before the fire devastated his operation at 2015 Palermo Road.

But nothing else could be salvaged before the flames hit Berns' business.

"The fire went so quick, there was just no way to stop it," Berns said.

Fortunately, Berns had his work phone number forwarded to his cell phone number, and he said he still will be towing vehicles with the truck he was able to save.

He counts himself as lucky, despite his loss. Berns said although he lost his business, some in Palermo are much worse off then him.

"A lot of people out here lost their homes," Berns said. " At least I have that."

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

GA Tow Truck Driver Dies In Weekend Crash

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 39-year old Gregg Pass who died when his wrecker went off a highway embankment. Read the story here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Monday Chuckle

A Montana cowboy was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, 'If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?'

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, 'Sure, Why not?'

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, 'You have exactly 1, 586 cows and calves.'

'That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,' says the cowboy.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, 'Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?'

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, 'Okay, why not?'

You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government', says the cowboy.

'Wow! That's correct,' says the yuppie, 'but how did you guess that?'

'No guessing required.' answered the cowboy. 'You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about cows...this is a herd of sheep.

Now give me back my dog.

It's Confirmed: Rising Fuel Cost Hurts Trucking Sector

You've probably already realized it, but here's a story on how much fuel prices are hurting the trucking industry.

Read it here.

More Info on IN Tower Killed By Intoxicated Driver

Here's the story from the Princeton Daily Clarion:
Truck driver in custody after fatal crash
Posted: Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 - 05:19:17 pm EDT

Clarion Staff Report

PRINCETON - A Henderson, Ky. coal truck driver remained in custody today in connection with a crash that claimed the life of a Mackey resident.

Mike E. Cunningham, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene of an incident that occurred around 1:40 p.m. Friday on U.S. 41 and Lyles Station Road.

Randall McSwain, 50, was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, causing death and for failure to move over for a stationary recovery vehicle.

Indiana State Police Trooper Brad Chandler's report states McSwain was under the influence of cocaine at the time of the incident.

Cunningham, a tow truck driver for 64 Garage in Princeton, parked his flatbed tow truck on the emergency shoulder of U.S. 41 south of the Lyles Station road intersection and had completed loading a disabled Chevrolet S-10 pickup when he was struck by the coal truck, according to the state police report.

Chandler's report says Cunningham's truck was completely off the roadway, but he was standing on the left side of his truck near the white line. The tow truck's emergency amber lights were flashing when McSwain's southbound 1999 International coal truck struck and killed him.

McSwain's truck also sideswiped the tow truck, causing extensive damage, then left the road on the west side and overturned.

Police said McSwain was not injured. McSwain was lodged in the Gibson County Jail without bond.

He is expected to make an initial court appearance today or Tuesday.

VT Tow Drivers Learn With the E-X Team

Keep up the good work!

A number of county fire departments, Rescue Inc., and local towing companies sent employees to a training this weekend to learn a new technique to use tow trucks for large vehicle extrications.

Instructors say this will cut down significantly on the amount of time it takes to get a trapped person out of a car.

The two days with the E-X Team, an outfit from Florida, is meant to show local firefighters what they don't know. The next step will be for the departments to apply for grants to fund the full five-day course, which costs roughly $25,000 to $30,000.

The course is something Chief and Director Keith Tomey said they hope to bring all over the country. The initial sample this past weekend was "just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Tomey helped to start the trainings in Florida about eight years ago after the long-time firefighter saw what kinds of equipment and capabilities tow truck drivers have.

Read the full story here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

IN Tow Truck Driver Killed by Impaired Driver

Our deepest condolences to the family and acquaintances of 32-year old Mike Cunningham who died Thursday. He was killed on the side of the road by the driver of a semi loaded with coal. Cunningham leaves behind two young children.

Read one story here. Read another here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

PWOF Speaks Out Against Predatory Towing/Booting

Since TowTruck Company of Orlando (FL) started booting illegally-parked (and, some say, legally-parked ones, too) vehicles in private parking lots they patrol, there' s been a flurry of media attention. In this story from the Orlando Sentinel, the Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida has spoken out.
Bob Cortes, owner of a Longwood tow-truck company and the regional head of a trade group that represents towing companies, said the issue deserves attention. Cortes spoke to Sheehan and Orange County officials about regulating booting, either by banning it or by removing the financial incentive by allowing companies to charge only $10 to remove the boot.

"We do not support predatory towing and pricing," said Cortes, of the Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida. "There are always going to be those one or two bad apples that give the rest of us a bad name."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Canadian Tow Truck Driver Struck On Roadside

Here's the 660 News radio report:

A tow truck driver is in hospital after being struck by a car on northbound Deerfoot near Peigan Trail shortly before 2 p.m. on Monday

EMS' Stuart Brideaux tells 660News the man suffered a minor head injury and is in serious, but stable condition in Foothills hospital.

Brideaux says the driver was out of his truck adjusting some of his equipment when he was struck.

Two lanes were closed, while emergency crews dealt with the crash.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Warn Industries Celebrates 60 Years In The Business

Warn Industries, a manufacturer of off-road accessories, industrial hoists and winches, utility products, and driveline disconnects is celebrating its 60th anniversary!

Warn started in 1948 as a small, family-operated business in the Pacific Northwest and has developed into a multi-million dollar corporation with multiple factories, world-wide sales, and one of the most recognizable brands in the automotive aftermarket.

Warn Industries began in Seattle, WA when Arthur Warn developed a revolutionary locking hub
system allowing surplus World War II Jeeps to operate in two-wheel drive for civilian use. This
invention created the hub industry and not only made the vehicles more drivable on the street but also improved fuel economy. This development paved the way for other fuel-saving ideas that are still in use today, such as center disconnects and automatic locking hubs.

In 1959, WARN developed another revolutionary product; one that would transform the face of offroading as we know it: the electric winch.

The company designs, manufactures and markets a full line of off-road equipment and accessories that enhance the performance of four-wheel-drive and powersport vehicles. Warn Industries employs more than 600 people in and around Portland, OR, Livonia, MI, the Netherlands, and Saltillo, Mexico.

Warn Industries’ CEO, John McCalla, says, "We are extremely proud of WARN's outstanding
achievements throughout the last 60 years. Warn Industries’ employees remain dedicated to
delivering outstanding, innovative products to our customers around the world."

For more information, visit

Free Gallon of Gas Instead of a Tow

Here's a story from in Sacaramento, CA on another way some motorists are dealing with high fuel prices:

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― If you run out of gas on the freeway, a tow truck from the Freeway Service Patrol can give you a gallon of gas for free. The idea is to give you enough to get to the nearest gas station, but some people are abusing the service.

Sierra Hart Towing monitors all of the area's freeways and said some people purposefully run out of gas just to get a free gallon. Tow truck drivers are reporting that they sometimes find the same people in the same spot on the same day, stranded and asking for help.

"We've seen guys doing it going into work and coming back from work," said Bill Luna from Sierra Hart Towing.

When truck drivers suspect that they've encountered a repeat offender, they sometimes offer to tow them to the nearest gas station for free. Few take up the offer.

"A lot of them just get in their car and drive away," said Will Dunn from Sierra Hart Towing.

Taxpayers ultimately foot the bill, because the towing company is partly funded by the state government.

Orlando, FL Towing Co.'s Booting Activity Raises Ire

TowTruck Company of Orlando, described as "Orlando's most notorious tow-truck company," has been booting cars in private parking lots instead of towing them. Some legally, some illegally, according to the story, and the city is looking into the issue since booting is not covered in the rules.
The city tightened its towing rules two years ago, largely in response to the same company's aggressive practices. But the City Council never thought about boots, so the ordinance doesn't mention it.
Read the whole story here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

High Fuel Prices = More Towing & More Crime

Here's a recent trend: With high fuel prices, motorists are opting to get closer and closer to "E" before fueling up and some are running out. In this story from Dothan, AL, the number of gas delivery calls has gone up for Eagle Towing. Thieves have also been stealing fuel from vehicles without locking gas caps resulting in more tows.

Here's a related story from Albany, GA.