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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tow Truck Drivers 'Pulling' For One of Their Own

Kudos to the towers of Pevely, MO!
Here's the story from the Jefferson County Journal:

PEVELY: Tow truck drivers pulling for sick colleague
By Chris Campbell
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 12:15 PM CDT

Anyone dealing with a medical emergency knows how quickly bills can stack up.

Facing financial trouble while fighting for your life is just more than anyone should have to confront.

Dan Rawe, owner of Pevely-based Dan's Towing, is fighting throat cancer.Luckily for Rawe, he has a community of concerned friends and colleagues who are all "pulling" for him.

Friends and fellow tow truck operators are staging "Pulling for a Cause," a benefit fund-raiser for Rawe.

The event will feature a tow truck parade, starting at the Festus Wal-Mart and traveling down Highway 61/67 to The Banquet Centers in Pevely.

Following the truck parade, a "tow show" featuring area tow trucks will take place with raffles, a silent auction, food and prizes.

A dinner buffet will be hosted at The Banquet Centers followed by a live auction and dancing to live music.

The event, scheduled for an 11 a.m. parade start, is open to the public and tickets to the dinner are $25.

Children 12 and younger eat free.

If you can't make the festivities but still want to help, donations may be made to the Dan Rawe Benefit Fund c/o Bank of America, 860 Daniel Dunklin Drive, Pevely, 63070.

For more information call 636-479-4869 or 314-807-7239.

Tow Truck Taken on Wild Ride

From Ann Arbor, MI - A British man took a MI tow truck driver's ride on a short, drunken tour through downtown Ann Arbor. The truck had been left unlocked with the keys inside while the driver was in a pizza place. Note for next time: Take keys, lock truck. Read the story here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tow Truck Driver Set On Fire In Robbery

The unnamed owner of a towing company in Baltimore was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire with a lit cigarette after stopping to assist two men with a disabled vehicle on the Baltimore Beltway. The driver's clothing, hands and part of his face were burned. The two men are being sought by the police.

Anyone with information leading to the identities of the two men is urged to call state police at 410-686-3101.

Read the story here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Argument Over Towing Bill Leads to Police Chase & Crash

File this under "What Not To Do."

A man in Nashville, TN refused to pay his tow bill, left the tow lot and led police on a six-block car chase that ended when he crashed his car. In addition to having a wrecked car, Michael Sadler was arrested on the charge of evading police. I imagine he'll be paying that tow bill, too. Read the full story here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

MI Tow Truck Driver: An Everyday Hero

A round of applause goes to Mike Thorpe, owner of Mike's Towing of Yale, MI. A man, who was upset about having his car towed, shot Capac (MI) Police Chief Raymond Hawks at least twice in the chest and shoulder. Thorpe had responded to the scene to tow the car for the police. Even with the gunman still on the loose, Thorpe put the chief on his flatbed truck with the help of a neighbor and drove him to the ambulance that was waiting two blocks away from the scene. In the story on www.detnews.com, Thorpe was matter-of-fact:"I wasn't going to leave without the chief," Thorpe said.
Read the whole story here.

Driver Sentenced for Tow Truck Driver's Death

Here's an excerpt from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (click here for the full story):

Christopher Cottrell, whose heavy-equipment truck struck and killed a wrecker operator in a hit-and-run incident in Des Peres last year, was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.

Cottrell, 40, of Fenton, pleaded guilty Thursday in St. Louis County Circuit Court of involuntary manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a suspended license and marijuana possession. The sentence was imposed by Judge Colleen Dolan as part of a plea agreement.

Tow-truck driver Aaron Helfrich, 32, of Festus, was working at noon last April 30 on the shoulder of Interstate 270, just south of Manchester Road, when he was struck by a tractor-trailer and killed instantly. The driver who hit him did not stop.

The manslaughter charge alleged that Cottrell was criminally negligent in that he failed to maintain his vehicle in a single lane.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

TX Tow Truck Driver Tows Car with Sleeping Boy

Here's the most fair and comprehensive story I've found on this. It's from The Dallas Morning News.

By STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News
stevethompson@dallasnews.com / The Dallas Morning News
Tanya Eiserer contributed to this report.

Melissa Jio left her 7-year-old son in the car for just a minute as she ran upstairs to her apartment Monday night, she said. He was splayed across the back seat asleep.

As she descended the stairs, she realized her silver four-door Saturn was no longer there.

"My baby is gone! I've lost my baby!" she screamed, thinking a thief had stolen the car with her son in it.

But it wasn't stolen; it had been towed.

A few minutes later – as police were investigating what they thought could be a kidnapping and as Ms. Jio remained in hysterics – another strange thing happened. The tow truck driver returned to the parking lot with the car and the still-sleeping boy, unhooked his load in a hurry and sped away.

Police soon stopped the driver, 23-year-old Fidel Retana Jr., and arrested him on a charge of abandoning/endangering a child without the intent to return. He was booked into the Dallas County Jail on $100,000 bail.

But Tuesday, police officials said they expected to drop the charge.

"It appeared that he did not intend to take the child," Dallas police Sgt. Brenda Nichols said.

The episode began after Ms. Jio and the boy's father, Sergio Zuniga, had been at the hospital with Sergio Jr. on Monday evening to get a deep splinter removed from his finger, they said.

About 11 p.m., as it became clear it would be a long wait, they drove to the apartment at 4599 W. Davis St. to drop off Mr. Zuniga. Mother and son planned to return to the hospital.

Mr. Zuniga said they parked in the fire lane, and Ms. Jio came upstairs for a moment to unlock the door. That's when the car disappeared.

"I'm thinking, 'They've killed my son,' " he said.

They called 911 about 11:17 p.m. and ran toward the apartment complex's gated exit, where someone told them they saw a tow truck leaving with a car. A police officer arrived to find Ms. Jio on her hands and knees, crying and vomiting.

Then, at 11:22 p.m., as the parents and a police officer gathered just inside the complex's gate, Mr. Retana returned and stopped outside the gate.

They watched as he quickly unhooked the car, "abandoning the vehicle in the middle of the parking lot without regards for the safety" of the boy, a police report says.

When an officer got to the car, he found the boy inside – still asleep.

Officers pulled over Mr. Retana nearby on Chalk Hill Road.

Mr. Zuniga blamed Mr. Retana on Tuesday for leaving with the car so quickly, without checking it out well enough to know a boy was inside.

"I hate the way towing people run the business," he said.

Mr. Retana declined an interview request from the jail, but his attorney said he was only doing what tow truck drivers always do to look out for their own safety.

"It's a dangerous occupation," attorney David Traylor said. "Every interest of the tow truck driver is to get out of there quickly so you don't get shot or beaten up."

His client noticed the boy only when he stopped around the corner to ensure that he'd hooked up everything properly, Mr. Traylor said. Then he immediately dropped the car back off. He left again in a hurry because he knew the parents were there and were probably angry, the attorney said.

"He tried to do everything he could to get the kid back quickly," Mr. Traylor said. "I think it was possibly a bad decision to arrest him for a charge that didn't fit."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Killed CA Tow Truck Driver Identified

From the Sacramento Bee:

A Bakersfield man who was killed Friday in Newcastle when a big rig drifted onto the shoulder of eastbound Interstate 80 and crashed into him and his parked tow truck has been identified as Miguel Angel Ramos, 42, the California Highway Patrol reported Monday.

CHP Officer Kelly Baraga said Ramos had stopped on the shoulder shortly before 3 p.m. because his truck, which was not towing a vehicle, developed engine trouble.

Ramos was inspecting the engine when the big rig, carrying a load of prunes, struck him, Baraga said.

Monday, April 14, 2008

HI Non-consent Towing Fees May Increase

HI tow truck companies who tow illegally-parked vehicles are urging lawmakers to reinstate two fees that were taken away with a 2007 law.

One is a $50 release-on-location fee and the other is a $15 "overtime" fee when tows are done between 6p.m. and 6 a.m., and on weekends and holidays.

The 2007 legislation increased towing fees to $75 from $65 and increased the mileage rates from $6.50 to $7.50 per mile.

The State Office of Consumer Protection is against the move. Read the full story here.

Body of Missing OR Tow Truck Operator Found

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Dario Rolon-Centeno. The 61-year old North Portland, OR tow truck operator went missing on March 27 after leaving for a routine call. His body was found by a hiker on Saturday afternoon in a park and identified on Sunday. An autopsy ruled out homicidal violence, but the cause of death is still unknown. Rolon-Centeno did have a serious heart condition and his medication was found in his truck. Read the full story here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

CA Tow Truck Driver Killed

Sad news out of CA... Here's an excerpt from The Sacramento Bee. Read the rest here.

The tow truck, which was not towing a vehicle, had pulled to the shoulder between the Newcastle exit and the turnoff for Highway 193 about 3 p.m., said CHP Officer Kelly Baraga.

The driver, a 42-year-old Bakersfield man whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was outside his vehicle when the big rig drifted onto the shoulder, striking him and his truck, she said. Milca Aguilera, 23, of Sylmar, who was standing with him, was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center as a precaution, Baraga said.

Good to read!

John Bryan, a FL business owner, is recovering well after a February incident when he was hit by a passing motorist while he was providing towing service at a crash scene. Read his story here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Attention VA Towing & Recovery Operators

If you missed the April issue of Footnotes, you probably also missed the inserted contact card from the Board of Towing and Recovery Operators. Here's what it looked like:

It is not a license application or a registration card. The information will be used to notify you of "requirements necessary for compliance with licensure requirements" that will go into effect on January 1, 2009.

Also, here's a little note of warning: "Failure to receive notification from the Board does not exempt businesses from licensure requirements. Towing and Recovery Operators not properly licensed on January 1, 2009 will be subject to disciplinary action by the Commonwealth of Virginia."

If you need contact cards, or if you have questions or concerns, contact the Board's Executive Director Benjamin Foster by phone at 804-367-0714 or by email to BTRO@btro.virginia.gov.

Kudos to WI Senator Bob Jauch

In a letter to The Daily Telegram, Jauch notes that he has sponsored a new bill to incorporate Move Over Law education in accredited driving programs. The excerpt is below. Read the whole letter here.

As of December 2001, a new law in Wisconsin requires motorists to shift lanes, where possible, to give stopped emergency vehicles or tow trucks a safe zone in which to work. Another component of this law is that drivers are required to slow down and use caution when approaching the stopped vehicle if there is only one lane of traffic in which to travel. The penalties for violating this law include a suspended driver’s license and fines up to $300.

To increase driver understanding of the law, a bill that I co-sponsored this session adds a requirement to all accredited driver’s education programs. Driver’s education programs must now include instruction relating to passing stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks and highway machinery equipment. This legislation passed both houses and became law this winter. It is our responsibility as driving citizens to watch out for the safety of those providing services close to highway traffic.

11-year old S. African Boy Killed by Tow Truck

From a News24.com report from Green Point, South Africa:

Johannesburg - An 11-year-old boy was killed when he fell off the back of a heavy-duty tow truck in Muldersdrift on Wednesday, paramedics said.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Mark Stokoe said the boy fell under the wheels and was killed instantly.

"The truck was travelling on a sand road which was in fairly good condition. It is not known exactly how or why the boy fell."

The tow truck driver was the boy's father, said Stokoe.

IL County Establishes Illegally-Parked Towing Regulations

As of September 1, companies that tow illegally-parked vehicles in McHenry County will face stricter regulations.

The new regulations cap the rates that towing companies may charge residents to reclaim an illegally parked car. Charges are set at $170 to move cars less than 10,000 pounds; $520 to move trucks between 10,000 and 40,000 pounds; and $700 to relocate vehicles that weigh more than 40,000 pounds.
The oversight also controls how far a company may relocate a car, how much may be charged in storage fees, and how firms license their drivers, dispatchers and support staff.

Information sessions for towing companies in the area, law enforcement and residents are set for May.
If you go

Who: Members of the McHenry County Board, Illinois Commerce Commission police, relocation towing companies, local police and residents.

What: An informational session on new ICC oversight for relocation towing.

When: 1 to 3 p.m. May 6 and 7.

Where: McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

Read the full story here.

April is "Move Over" Month in IN

Extra state police patrols are on-duty to get the word (and tickets) out. Read the story here.

NC Tow Truck Driver Robbed of $2500 at Gunpoint

A 31-year old tow truck driver in NC was robbed of $2,500 by a gunman on Wednesday night. According to the story, the driver and co-workers stopped to ask 18-year old Matthew Edward Monroe where a customer's car was located. Monroe pulled a revolver, put it to the driver's head and demanded money. The driver had $2,500 in his wallet. Monroe was later charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and booked into Gaston County Jail on $30,000 bond.
Read the whole story here.

Gotta love 'em...

Thanks to Bev for sending this on!
When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me
that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to
take care of first, the truck, the car, fishing, playing golf -always
something more important to me.

Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived
home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away
with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time
and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came
out again I handed her a toothbrush.

I said, "When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the
driveway."
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're so concerned about your safety...

that we'll even tell you about another publication's new safety program!

Tow Times has launched TowSafe, a low-cost safety program based on the Safety Meeting columns written by Patrick Gratzianna. Gratzianna, who grew up in the towing industry, is currently president of Midwest Fleet Safety, Inc.

If your company has 10 or more people, you qualify for this offer. Here's what you get for $19.95 per employee:
  • A one-year (12 issues) subscription to Tow Times for every person you enroll
  • A quarterly test based on the previous three months of Safety Meeting columns by Gratzianna
  • A quarterly safety poster to display in your break room, garage or drivers' area

Call Rosie at 1-800-308-3745 for more information.

Goodyear Announces its 2008 North America Highway Hero Award


Kudos to Richard Filiczkowski of Zion, IL for receiving Goodyear's 25th North America Highway Hero Award recently. Filiczkowski jumped into an icy North Dakota pond to rescue a 9-year old girl. Read his heroic story here. Filiczkowski is pictured above, left, with Goodyear's First Highway Hero, Ronnie Stapleton, right.

Back in 1983, Goodyear began its sponsorship of the Highway Hero program with Stapleton, of Beckley, WV, taking home the first prize. The truck tire company assumed responsibility for the program from "Heavy Duty Trucking" magazine, which started the award a couple years prior.

Stapleton was recognized for using his bare hands to tear off the back door of a burning car, and then breaking the back seat in two as he extricated two unconscious occupants. At that time, Stapleton - who also was a preacher - was hauling explosives in his DuPont truck. The 67-year-old owns two trucks and is still driving.

Read about the other winners here.


Nominate a truck driver as Goodyear's 29th North America Highway Hero here.

towSearch Sees 29% Increase in Searches During Last Quarter


Read the whole release here.

towPartners® announced that it has added more than 10,000 service providers to its free towing and road service provider locator tool in the first quarter of 2008. The addition of so many service providers comes alongside a new interface for users which improves search results. In the past quarter towSearch has also seen a 29% increase in searches for service providers and a tremendous increase in towing company feedback on having received paid calls from the system.

It is reported that the system now has nearly 30,000 companies registered and towPartners reports that thus far over 1,000 members have opted-in to provide a 10% discount to first time customers using towSearch. It is expected that this number will increase by 50% or more in the second quarter.
Learn more about towSearch and towParnters at www.towpartners.com.

Arrow Truck Sales Announces 2008 Back on the Road Winner

Donald Turkelson of Battle Creek, MI was chosen by Arrow Truck Sales as its 2008 Back On The Road Winner at the 2008 Mid-America Trucking Show at the end of March.

Arrow’s Back On The Road 2008 Contest™ is an initiative designed to benefit a deserving independent owner-operator in need of a truck and a job. People were encouraged to submit stories about deserving friends, family members, associates and even themselves for this opportunity of a lifetime.

After an extensive nomination and interview process, Turkelson and his story stood out to Arrow and its industry associates.

On March 19, 2002 Turkelson was in a company drop lot when he was shot, taking him off the road for five years. A gunman attempted to hijack his truck at 1:30 a.m. and when Turkelson refused to cooperate, he was shot in the left leg as he tried to escape. After driving to the security gate, severely injured, Turkelson was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.

Since completing extensive physical therapy, Turkelson, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army, has served for more than five years as a pastor for the United Methodist Church and also as a truck-driving instructor at Lansing Community College. He has dedicated his life to helping his community become productive and enlightened citizens. However, regardless of the rewarding experiences he has had in his post-trucking jobs, they have not given him the satisfaction of working in his chosen career.

“I’m honored to be chosen as the winner of Back On The Road,” said Turkelson. “For many years I’ve been unable to drive full-time and I’m looking forward to once again doing what I love—working full-time as a driver who is helping the American economy by delivering goods and services.”

As winner of Back on the Road 2008, courtesy of Arrow Truck Sales and its industry associates, Turkelson will receive:

  • A 2005 VNL 670 tractor donated by Volvo Trucks North America
  • A one-year work agreement with Heartland Express
  • A 3-year / 300K mile warranty courtesy of National Truck Protection (NTP)
  • Insurance provided by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
  • Business consulting and financial tools courtesy of ATBS
  • Truck detailing provided by Dickinson Fleet Services
  • Tires courtesy of Michelin
  • Truck accessories and fenders provided by Minimizer Products

“Donald has an amazing story to tell and a great spirit,” said Carl Heikel, president and CEO of Arrow. “Arrow is proud to give him the opportunity to get back on the road with a quality truck from Volvo and a job from Heartland Express.”


Drive Next-Generation Propane Vehicle Technology

Maybe we'll have some propane-powered tow trucks soon!

Propane Alternative Fuel Road Show Comes to California on April 16, 17 & 18

Test drive and experience new propane engine fuel technologies that meet or exceed state and federal emissions standards in the propane-powered Roush F-150 pick-up truck, Blue Bird VISION school bus, and the GM 8.1L medium duty truck. In addition to the public events scheduled, these vehicles will caravan from Sacramento to Los Angeles , covering more than 400 miles in 3 days.

1) Sacramento: A-Z Bus Company, 3418 52nd Ave. Sacramento, CA 95823, April 16, 9 a.m. to noon
2) Fresno: Ransome-Mfg., 3495 S. Maple Ave., Fresno, CA 93725, April 17, 9 a.m. to noon
3) Los Angeles: South Coast AQMD, 21865 Copley Drive, Diamond Bar, CA 91765, April 18, 9 a.m. to noon

Continental Breakfast will be provided.

WHY
The US Congress challenged Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next decade. In turn, Governor Schwarzenegger challenged California to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in the state by at least 10 percent by 2020. A bellwether state in environmental protection and smart energy, California city leaders and fleet managers are looking to meet these goals by evaluating alternative fuel options; and more are turning to a proven option that is domestic and available today – propane. Research has found that if a select group of fleet owners switched 10% of their vehicles to propane, more than 830 million gallons of conventional fuel could be displaced by 2017. Along with providing a solution for reducing dependence on foreign oil, propane-powered vehicles are more cost effective, cleaner burning and environmentally friendly than traditional gasoline or diesel fuels. For more information, go to www.propanefreedom.com.

Truck-Lite Teams Recognized


During the fifth annual Truck Writers of North America (TWNA) awards banquet at the 2008 Mid America Trucking Show, two Truck-Lite employees accepted honors.

Jerry Lee, Truck-Lite’s Sr. Multi-Media Specialist was presented with a Silver Award in the category of Book Writing – Technical, for the production of Truck-Lite’s “Lighting User’s Guide” training book. He accepted on behalf of the Truck-Lite Marketing Communications Team.

Sherry White, Truck-Lite’s Manager of Marketing Communications & Services was presented with a Bronze Award in the category of Public Relations – Total Campaign. She accepted on behalf of the Truck-Lite Marketing Communications Team.

Truck-Lite Co., Inc, headquartered in Falconer New York, is a major producer of signal lighting, forward lighting, wiring harnesses, mirrors, turn signal switches, and safety accessories to the heavy duty truck, trailer, and commercial vehicle industries. Learn more at www.truck-lite.com.


New Heavy/Ultra Instructor at North American Towing Academy


Garrett Paquette has recently joined the North American Towing Academy as a heavy and ultra-heavy instructor.

Paquette, a second generation operator, has been in a tow truck most of his life. He began towing for Car Store Towing, the family business, in 1979 and runs the company today near Orlando, FL. He has operated heavy equipment for over 25 years and maintains a fleet that includes heavy trucks, ultra-heavy trucks, rotators, Landolls, and a variety of light- and medium-duty equipment.

With his heavy and ultra-heavy experience and towing/recovery equipment, Paquette's company is one of the Orlando-area companies that participates in the Rapid Incident Scene Clearance or RISC on Florida's Turnpike. He is PWOF-certified in all four classes of trucks and hold certifications in air cushions, wreck, rescue, scuba diving, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPR) and MOT/Flagger.

"With Garrett on board, NATA will begin offering each class of certification from light to ultra-heavy nationwide," said NATA president David Lambert. "We began working on the heavy program in February and hope to begin scheduling classes for early summer." The Ultra Class should be ready for the fall.

Paquette is described as a devoted family man and community leader. His son, Tony, is a third-generation tower who already works the heavies. Paquette's wife, Sharon, manages both the business office and their home. Daughter Cecilla is a student. Paquette belongs to the Clermont Masonic Lodge, the Brachia Shrine and the Scottish Rite. He is president of his local Kiwanis Club and is a member of the South Lake County Chamber of Commerce. He was also a volunteer firefighter.

Learn more about the NATA by calling Lambert at 407-765-5149 or visit www.TheNATA.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fund Set Up for Son of NY Tower Killed Last Week

From WGRZ News:

Family and friends have now set up a fund for Kevin Coffta's six-year-old son Dawson. Coffta was killed Wednesday when he was struck by an SUV while towing a vehicle on the I-190.

It happened shortly before 5 A.M. on the I-190 south in the Town of Tonawanda, just south of the I-290 interchange.

Police say the Coffta was removing an abandoned car from the right shoulder of the road when he was hit by a car. That car then went airborne, rolling over twice, coming to rest on its roof.

Coffta, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the car, David Brown, 64, of Cheektowaga, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWI.

To send a donation:

Dawson Kinzly Fund
c/o HSBC Bank
2300 Grand Island Boulevard
Grand Island, NY 14072

Tow truck procession salutes TN tower who died last week

More than 150 tow truck operators honored 55-year old Clyde Stewart who worked for Star Towing by participating in an hour-long procession. Stewart died last week when he was swept away in flood waters while trying to recover a vehicle. Read the full story here.

AAA of WI and Prarie Land Towing Help Brewers Fans for Free

From the Fond du Lac Reporter:
AAA Wisconsin and Prairie Land Towing will provide free emergency vehicle assistance to Milwaukee Brewers fans attending home games, according to a AAA press release.

Free emergency vehicle assistance is provided for every home game at Miller Park one hour before the first pitch, and from the seventh inning until the stadium lots are cleared after the game. Services include lock-outs, no-starts, flat tires and other related services, as well as towing of a disabled vehicle to a service garage within five miles.

“We are very pleased to team with the Milwaukee Brewers and Prairie Land Towing to assist fans this season,” said AAA Wisconsin Regional President Tom Frymark. “We can help fans enjoy their ballpark experience while showcasing the outstanding service provided by AAA and Prairie Land Towing.”

Fans may access the emergency vehicle assistance by contacting a police officer, parking attendant, or the Milwaukee Brewers Guest Relations Center at Miller Park.

The Milwaukee Brewers promote the availability of the AAA Wisconsin and Prairie Land Towing services during each home game on the scoreboard and the stadium televisions, as well as the public address system and official game-day program. Signs are also posted throughout the stadium and parking lots.

Also from IN

Man booked on homicide charges stemming from 2003 I-69 incident
ANGOLA, Ind. — Kevin Love of Milan was booked into the Steuben County Jail last week on a reckless homicide charge and two charges of criminal recklessness, after a rearend crash on northbound Interstate 69 in December 2003 that killed a tow truck driver.

James Hall, 54, of Gold Star Wrecker Service in Fremont, Ind., was loading a disabled caravan-type vehicle onto his wrecker when Love struck it from behind in his white service van pulling a U-Haul trailer.

Hall was pinned between the vehicles and killed instantly in the crash, and Love sustained critical injuries. A passenger in Love’s van and the driver of the caravan suffered injuries also. Police at the time speculated Love may have fallen asleep while driving.

Good signage!

In this story from IN, it's noted that tow truck owner Lou Farney has the state's Move Over law displayed on the back window of all of his truck. According to the story, Indiana was the first state to enact a Move Over law. That was in 1999. The legislation was amended in 2000 to include tow trucks and stationary highway maintenance vehicles. Read the full story here.

Round of applause goes to...

Canadian tower, 89-year old Charlie Giorgianni, who owns Call Service towing company! He used CPR to save a middle-aged client's life. Giorgianni, who served in WWII, said he learned the lifesaving skills when he was in the military. Read Giorgianni's heroic story here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Useful Tools :)

You may find these helpful around the house/garage...
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your soda across the room, splattering it against that freshly-stained heirloom piece you were drying.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned guitar calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Yeouw....'
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, or for perforating something behind and beyond the original intended target object.
SKIL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs. Caution: Avoid using for manicures.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built for frustration enhancement. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 45 minutes.
TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 4X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any possible future use.
RADIAL ARM SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.
TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, 'the sunshine vitamin,' which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40- watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading. The accessory socket within the base, has been permanently rendered useless, unless requiring a source of 117vac power to shock the mechanic senseless.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids, opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.
AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact gun that grips rusty bolts which were last over tightened 40 years ago by someone at VW, and instantly rounds off their heads. Also used to quickly snap off lug nuts.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use. It is also useful for removing large chunks of human flesh from the user's hands.
DAMMIT TOOL: (I have lots of these) Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling 'DAMMIT' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need after a really big hammer.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Friday Funny!

Thanks, Christina, for this one!

The Wisdom of Larry The Cable Guy . .
1. A day without sunshine is like night.


2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.


3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.


5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.


6. He who laughs last thinks slowest.


7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets
the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.


10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.


11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.


13. How many of you believe in psychokinesis? Raise my hand.


14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.


16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?


18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?

20. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering,
"What the heck happened?"

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.


23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear
bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos.
What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Body of TN Tow Truck Driver Found

On Wednesday, searchers located the body of the tow truck driver who fell into flood waters on Monday. Here's a description of how the incident occurred from a MyEyewitnessNews.com report (Read the full story here):

Deputies say a Mazda 6 was going east on Holmes Road when it veered off and went into a ditch about a mile east of Reynolds Road. The driver, Tony Williams, 43, was able to get out of the car, just as the water began to rise. He called for help and a sheriff's deputy, plus two tow trucks from Star Towing arrived.

Deputies say one of the drivers was trying to put a hook on the car's frame, while standing on top of the car. Deputies say the car began to move and the driver fell into the rushing water. The car shifted about 20 feet into a culvert under Holmes Road.

Investigators say the tow truck driver had tied an air hose around his waist as a "makeshift lifeline", but the line broke under the force of the water.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NY Tow Truck Driver Killed

Sad, sad news from Buffalo, NY. Here's an excerpt from the report from the WBFO NewsRoom online:
BUFFALO, NY (2008-04-02) A tow truck operator is dead, and the driver of an SUV is facing charges after a fatal accident on the southbound I-190 in Tonawanda early Wednesday morning.

Police say the tow truck was being hooked to a disabled vehicle on the shoulder when the SUV apparently came by on the shoulder, sideswiping the disabled vehicle and striking the tow truck operator. The victim, Kevin Coffa, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was employed by Marty's Towing Service on Grand Island.

The SUV was driven by David Brown, 64, of Cheektowaga. His vehicle flipped several times before landing on its roof near the median.

Troopers plan to charge Brown with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Moo-ving Recovery

Thanks to firefighters and tow truck operator Ernie Nieberlie of Ernie's Towing of Essex, MA, Dunkley the cow has been rescued after an escapade gone wrong. The wayward cow left her field through an open gate and tried to cross a covered, in-ground pool. The cover gave way, dunking Dunkley. Read the story and check out the video report here :)

That's what you call luck!

Check out the story of this lucky 18-year old Australian boy who spent 90 minutes dangling precariously from a bridge before rescuers, including tow truck company owner Michael Grining and his 27-ton tow truck, saved him. Read it here.

Rescuers Search for TN Tow Truck Driver Swept Away By Flood Waters

Clyde Stewart, who worked for Star Towing of Memphis, TN, was swept away by flood waters while trying to pull a car from a ditch. Rescue crews were searching for him. Read the whole story here.