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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Arrested After Torching Tow Truck

Here's the story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Charles Haralson has been repossessing cars for five years. He's had people unleash their dogs on him, threaten him with baseball bats and throw rocks at his tow truck.

But, earlier this month, he had his tow truck set on fire while he was inside.

"I've never had anything that severe," Haralson, 27, of Hampton said. "By far, this is the worst that's happened."

Haralson stopped the May 12 attack by firing two gunshots in the direction of the man whose vehicle he was trying to repossess in a southeast Atlanta neighborhood. No one was hit. Minutes later, Atlanta police showed up and arrested two people.

"I didn't want to hurt nobody," Haralson said. "I didn't want to go to jail for hurting nobody. I was just out there trying to do my job."

Haralson, owner of Get Hooked Towing for the past year, said the incident shook him up so much that a friend had to drive him home. He also took the next couple of days off work.

"I couldn't get behind the wheel," Haralson said. "I have a wife and kids at home."

Schollander Billingsley, 32, and a woman who lives with him, 29-year-old Erica Glover, were arrested on charges of aggravated assault and arson, according to an Atlanta police report.

Haralson said that another repo man tried to take Billingsley's red 2000 Ford Expedition from his home on Holly Drive the previous week, but Billingsley somehow drove the Ford off the tow truck.

When Haralson showed up, Billingsley, Glover and two teenage boys surrounded his tow truck and began shaking it, he said. They cursed at him and banged on his windows, Haralson said.

Billingsley grabbed a five-gallon can of diesel fuel, poured it over the back of the truck and set fire to it, according to the police report. Inside, Haralson called 911 over and over while he sat with a .22-caliber pistol in his lap.

When Billingsley grabbed another fuel can — this one filled with gasoline — Haralson jumped out of the car and opened fire.

"I sat there as long as I could," Haralson said. "I told them if anybody came near me or my truck again, that I'd shoot them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NY Tow Truck Driver Pinned Between Trucks

Let's keep 36-year old Patrick Baker in our thoughts... He was pinned between his vehicle and a tractor-trailer he was attempting to tow last Friday morning. Baker apparently suffered a serious leg injury and was flown to a Syracuse hospital. He worked for Big Red Towing of Syracuse.

Read the full story here.

Here's a laugh for Hump Day!

Redneck Seafood Dinner

Tow Times Acquires Lotus Publications

T.T. Publications Inc., parent company of Tow Times magazine, has purchased Lotus Publications of Atlanta, Georgia.

Lotus, previously owned by Grace Hawkins and Earl Johnson, is well known throughout the towing and transportation industries for providing photography and marketing tools to towing and transportation companies.

Earl Johnson, known worldwide for his quality truck photography, will continue to provide quality photography services for Lotus and Tow Times. Grace Hawkins, a familiar face in the towing industry for many years, is retiring to pursue other interests.

FL Towing Company Owner Dies In Crash

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Stephen Jones, Jr., who owned I Hook Towing. He died early Tuesday when he was thrown from his Chevrolet Silverado when it flipped. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

The FHP is asking anyone who might have witnessed the wreck to call toll-free 1-800-235-6019.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tow Truck Crash Kills One in AZ

Here's the News 5 story:
A young man died early Monday after a tow truck crashed into his disabled car on the U.S. 60.The Department of Public Safety said the man's car was stalled in the high speed lane of the freeway around 3:30 a.m. when the tow truck hit it at more than 70 mph.The man, in his early 20s, died on the way to the hospital.The tow truck driver was not injured.

New Push for Move Over Law in MA to include Tow Truck Drivers

Here's an excerpt from a WBZTV.com story:
State Police say there are all too many crashes occurring on the side of the road where vehicles are pulled over.

As a result, there's a new push in Massachusetts for a Move Over law.

They come inches from tow truck driver Kevin Daly, who says he always keep an eye on the cars in the right lane as he hitches cars in the breakdown lanes.

"People still going by 80, 90 miles an hour like you're not even there," he said.

It's why there's a renewed push in Massachusetts for a Move Over law, requiring drivers to move to the left one lane when they see emergency workers on the side of the road.

Consider the breakdown lane is like an office for troopers, emergency workers, and tow truck drivers -- open the door and you're in the highway.

Forty-three states have passed a Move Over bill, but according to a recent study, more than 70 percent of Americans have never heard of the law.
Read the full story here.

FL Tow Truck Driver Killed in Hit and Run

Our deepest condolences to the family and acquaintances of Vincinte Torres, a driver for Black Eagle Towing of FL. Torres, 44, was hit by a purple Hyundai while helping a stranded motorist on the Don Shula Expressway at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Monday. The Hyundai's driver did not stop and police are still searching for that person. Torres died on the way to the hospital. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Read the full story here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Richard Kreager, founder of Kreager Towing, Inc. of Michigan, who died Wednesday of respiratory failure at age 65.

Read his obituary here.

Call for a tow leads to DWI arrest for tow truck driver

What NOT to do:

From LoHud.com:

White Plains police call for a tow, charge tow truck driver with DWI

Richard Liebson
The Journal News

WHITE PLAINS - A tow truck driver was arrested on a drunken-driving charge last night when cops said he hit a police car and injured a sergeant after he was called to tow a recovered stolen sport-utility vehicle.

The bizarre incident occurred at 11:35 p.m., after a 2003 GMC Suburban that had been reported stolen from Greenburgh was found abandoned in a yard on Hunt Place.

Cops called the New York Collision Center, 25 Irving Place, White Plains, for a tow truck to impound the the vehicle and the truck arrived a short time later.

The driver, Sean O'Brien, 40, of 1200 Midland Ave., Bronxville, had no trouble hooking up the car, police said, but sideswiped a police car parked on the street as he was driving away. According to the police report, the sergeant sitting inside, whose name was not released, suffered back and shoulder injuries.

O'Brien got out of the tow truck and was standing on the street when another officer at the scene approached him and smelled alcohol on his breath.

Asked to take a sobriety test, O'Brien replied, "I'm not taking any damn tests,'' the police report said, noting that he slurred his words as he spoke.

He was then taken to police headquarters, where he was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor. The tow truck was picked up by another driver.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Magnetic Towing Game for the kiddies

Here's a happy little game for the towing tykes...

Kids will develop their dexterity improve hand-eye coordination visual perception and fine motor skills while ‘towing’ magnetic vehicle puzzle pieces. This Magnetic Towing Game includes a magnetic tow truck for towing a variety of vehicle puzzle pieces. The 9′x12′ board has 10 removable pieces. Ages: 3 years +
$10 on BabyEarth.com. Here's the link: http://www.babyearth.com/melissa-doug-magnetic-towing-game.html

OH Tow Truck Driver's Death Rekindles Legislation

From The Columbus Dispatch:
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Tow -truck drivers expect to clean up accidents — not become part of one.

But the death of a driver in Pickaway County earlier this week has renewed interest in tow -truck safety legislation that has been buried for more than a year.

Matthew Shilling, 35, of Orient, was struck and killed by a hit-skip driver Sunday while picking up a car that had hit a deer on I-71 just south of the Franklin-Pickaway county line The State Highway Patrol has not yet found the driver who fled the scene.

Shilling’s death brought tow-truck driver safety to the legislature’s attention. House Bill 21 would add tow -truck drivers to Ohio’s “Move Over, Slow Down” law. Under the current law, drivers must change to the lane away from a parked public safety vehicle with flashing lights. Violators can be fined up to $150. Twenty-six states include tow-truck drivers in similar laws, according the American Automobile Association.

“I know people have to move over for police officers, but I'm still at a loss as to how towers got left out of that bill,” said Shilling’s employer, Stacy Wills, owner of Eitels Towing Inc.

Shilling’s fiancĂ©e, Lisa Rapp, said she hopes the bill will move forward quickly because she was always frightened when he would respond to calls.

“It scared me to death, but it was something that he loved to do,” said Rapp.

The Towing and Recovery Association of America estimates that about 55 tow truck drivers are killed each year in the United States.

Driver Paul Cowan, of Troy, knows the next time he is struck by a vehicle whizzing past his tow truck might be the last. He already has been hit four times, and Shilling’s death has been a reminder about the job’s dangers.

“It’s always sits in the back of your mind. When I get in my truck, am I going to come back home?” Cowan said.

Cowan backs a bill introduced in February 2007 by Rep. Diana M. Fessler, a Dayton-area Republican.

Fessler sent a memo to fellow House members on Tuesday, asking them to reconsider the legislation in light of Shilling’s death.

Committee Chairman Rep. Steven Reinhard, a Bucyrus Republican, acknowledged that Fessler’s bill is not a priority. “With everything else that has been going on in Columbus, it hasn't been at the top of the list,” he said.

Also, there is some concern that adding tow-truck drivers to the “Move Over, Slow Down” law will open the debate about whether mechanics, utilities workers and others who work along roads should be included.

Reinhard said he does not believe the bill will be brought up again before the end of the legislative session, but conceded that Shilling’s death as renewed interest in the concept.

A hearing scheduled for April 16 in the House Infrastructure, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs Committee, was canceled because Fessler was sick that day.

“I was very discouraged that in my absence that the bill was pulled,” she said. “Nonetheless, the bill could and should have been put back on the agenda and brought for a vote.”

spulliam@dispatch.com

And The Towing News Just Gets Better...

No towing heroes in today's news it seems. Here's an excerpt from the Houston Chronicle story titled "Traffic Accident Leads to a Tragic Family Reunion":

Carolyn Sue Harrell found her brother, but it wasn't the way she hoped to see him. Bobby Neil Jones, 51, was clinging to life at a Houston hospital after he was injured in a traffic accident on the afternoon of May 12 in southwest Houston. Harrell said hospital officials told her he may not survive. "This is just awful," Harrell said Wednesday. "I never expected to find him like this." Police said Jones was on foot near the intersection of Fountainview and U.S. 59 when he was hurt. Witnesses have told police a tow truck driver traveling north on Fountainview appeared to run a red light while making a left turn and slammed into a black Mercedes that was traveling westbound on the freeway access road, investigators said.

Read the whole story here.

More Bad Towing Behavior

It's not just in the U.S.A. Seems that some South African tow truck drivers had a knock-down, drag out at an accident scene. Read the a la Jerry Springer story here.

FL Towing Company Owner's Son Charged In Assault

What's that old adage about one bad apple? Here's an excerpt from the story at TheLedger.com:
A four-month battle to get her son's vehicle back from a towing company led to Bartow resident Ada Jackson's being threatened with a gun and called racial slurs at Larry's Amoco & Wrecking Services, according to the Winter Haven Police Department.
Police officials say they have received complaints about racial slurs and other problems involving the Winter Haven business' owners, prompting the Police Department to drop the company from the city's towing list.


Read the whole story here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dallas Wins Lawsuit Against Towing Company

Here's a little blurb from KRLD newsradio:

If your car is towed in Dallas without your permission the rate is 95-dollars and it's going to stay that way for now.
A Nevada Company has lost out in its effort to raise the towing rate up to 135-dollars. The company called VRC towing has been fighting the city's 95-dollar cap since it began business here in 2003. Now an appeals court has dismissed VRC's lawsuit. Dallas first assistant city attorney Chris Bowers says it's a victory for those already stuck with a towing fee.
The main reason the complaint was dismissed...soverign immunity...which says the city cannot be sued for such matters.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

towPartners Launches Statistics Tow Tracking Tool

towPartners has launched a motor club statistics tracking tool that is updated constantly from member feedback. This tool allows towing companies to see average rates, payment times and general ratings of clubs as reported by other companies in their area. The tool can be accessed from a graphic on the towPartners website home page or reached directly at http://www.towpartners.com/motorclubsresults.php.

The purpose of this web page is to report motor club statistics from across the country. There is no intention to bash any club and we hope everyone will take the time to read and understand the results. These are real results reported by our towing company and road service members across the country. We are asking all of our members to enter their data by updating their member profile. This will help to ensure data accuracy and make sure each club gets a fair reporting on our tool.

A Recovery That Could've Been A Blast for the Towing Company

A semi loaded with 8,500 pounds of dynamite and 26,000 pounds of blasting agent failed to negotiate a ramp in Terre Haute, IN and almost rolled over. Luckily, a one-foot diameter sycamore tree kept it mostly upright.
According to the story in the Terre Haute News:
“It made us all a little nervous,” said Brian Langer of Peffley and Hinshaw Wrecker Service of Terre Haute, which pulled the semi, with the explosives still on board, out of the trick grove of trees where it crashed at the entrance of the rest area. “All in all, [the drivers were] lucky,” he said.

The truck, which is owned by an international explosives company, was en route to Montreal factory from Missouri.

Read the full story here.


Monday, May 19, 2008

250 Tow Trucks for NHTA W World Record Attempt

The NH Towing Association's Trade & Tow Show garnered 250 tow trucks for its parade and Guiness World Book of Records attempt.

From the Seacoastonline.com story:

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tow truck parade was in Wenatchee, Wash., in 2004, with a total of 83 trucks.

NHTA President Rene Fortin said his group unofficially broke the record in 2005 with 235 trucks, but because that parade didn't fit the Guinness Book's requirements for a tow truck parade, the record wasn't accepted.

Fortin said this year he's paying close attention to the rules and hopes to hear from Guinness within the next couple of months. He hopes that this time, NHTA can break the record, but his biggest goal is to shed new light on the tow truck industry.

"People don't often like towers, so this is our chance to show our good side," said Fortin.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

OH Tow Truck Driver Killed In Hit and Run

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 35-year old Matt Schilling who was killed early Sunday morning while preparing to tow a vehicle from the side of the highway. Schilling, who worked for Eitel's Towing, was struck by a passing vehicle. The driver of the car did not stop. Schilling was transported to a hospital where he later died. He leaves behind a fiance and a child.

Read the WBNS10TV story here. Read The Columbus Dispatch story here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tow Trucks go for World Record Tomorrow

Wish 'em luck! Here's the story from seacoastonline.com:

HAMPTON — They unofficially broke the record two years ago for having the largest tow truck parade in the world.

Now, members of the New Hampshire Towing Association will officially attempt to break the record Sunday and go down in history as part of the Guinness Book of World Records.

"We are going to try again this year and hopefully we can to do it," said NHTA President Rene Fortin.

The association is in town this weekend for its 36th annual trade and tow show at the Hampton Beach State Park.

The two-day event, which is open to the public, features vendors, a rodeo competition, food raffles, and family-oriented activities, such as a judged obstacle course and tow truck beauty contest.

The parade, which is being billed as the "best and biggest wrecker parade in the world," takes place on Sunday at 9 a.m.

Fortin said parade entrants will begin at the State Park and follow Ocean Boulevard, High Street, Route 1 and take Winnacunnet Road back to the beach.

"We have trucks from all over New England participating," he said. "We have trucks from New York, Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia."

Fortin said the goal is to break the world record for largest tow truck parade, which is currently held by the Washington Tow Truck Association.

A total of 83 tow trucks participated in a parade through the streets of Wenatchee, Wash., on Aug. 20, 2004, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

"We need 84," Fortin said, who added that number shouldn't be hard to reach, considering in 2005 they had more than 200 trucks participating in the parade.

"We thought we broke the record in 2005," Fortin said. "We sent Guinness a video of 234 units in a parade, but it wasn't accepted."

Fortin said the Guinness Book of World Records has a long list of rules that have to be followed in order for a record to be accepted.

"It's rather intensive," Fortin said. "There is about eight pages of rules you need to follow."

But Fortin said they now know the rules and will try to fulfill the requirements of Guinness. Whether they break the record or not, Fortin said the two-day event is really a chance to showcase the men and women and the tow truck industry.

"Typically people don't like towers," Fortin said. "Nobody who has had an accident is pleased to see a wrecker show up. Nobody who gets pulled over for DWI or breaks down on the side of the road is happy when the tow truck drives up. This is a chance for us to show we are regular human beings and were really are not the bad guys in the world."

But Fortin added breaking the record would be a nice ending to a great weekend.

"It would be nice to be a part of history," Fortin said.

GO TO TOW SHOW

For a complete listing of the events and activities for the weekend, visit nhtowingassociation.org.

Carjacking victim must pay own towing fee

In a terrible incident, Al Adams was carjacked, shot and left to die by two customers he had picked up in his limousine. Luckily, he has survived. His limo was towed and stored at the request of the Austin, TX police department as evidence.

Here's an excerpt from the KXAN.com story:

"The original tow as well as the storage fee after we're done evidence wise - that's something the owner has to take care of on their own," Mason( APD Det. James Mason) said.

But Adams was in the hospital, and every day the limo was at the impound lot would cost him. That got Mike Bradburn, with the city's ground transportation regulations, to thinking.

"I got to thinking about his limo sitting there in impound," Bradburn said. "I just knew from past experience the fees would rack up. I made some calls and found out it was at Southside Towing, and it was already up to $443 in a day."

Bradburn sent out an e-mail to all the limousine companies in the area. An anonymous donor paid the bill and helped Adams get his limo back.

Bradburn said it is a little-known fact that once your cars been stolen or in a fatal accident could end up costing you much more than you think when you add in towing and storage fees.

We couldn't reach anyone with Southside Wrecker Inc. to comment. Adams is back at home recovering but didn't feel up to an interview.

Truly an unfortunate incident, but how should the towing company be reimbursed for their work?

towPartners Launches Motorcycle Towing Search site

towPartners announced that it has expanded the offering of its popular towSearch service (www.towsearch.com) by adding a motorcyclist specific site, www.motorcycleroadside.com, that uses the highly developed towPartners database system. This service will allow motorcyclists to locate service providers when they have a roadside disablement. A mobile version of the application simplifies the search process for those on cell phones and other mobile devices.
The towSearch directory of companies used by www.motorcycleroadside.com is a free tool searchable by fleet managers, the general public, police agencies, automotive repair facilities and anyone needing road services.

Towing Headlines

From Baltimore, MD: Baltimore City bill seeks to rein in tow trucks
From Hyannis, MA: Tow truck hauled from woods
From Austin, TX: Woman in Tuesday collision with tow truck dies
From Wilmington, NC: The battle of towing companies and drivers in Wilmington
From Chicago, IL: Former tow truck driver claims he was battered
From London, UK: Angry Charedim hold tow truck hostage

Friday, May 16, 2008

NH Towing Assoc Going for World's Largest Tow Truck Parade on Sunday - Very Quietly?

The New Hampshire Towing Association is geared up to host the Largest Tow Truck Parade this Sunday morning as part of their 2008 Tow & Trade Show. That's all well and good, according to the town's Selectmen, just as long as there is no violation of the town's recently enacted noise ordinance. According to the story found on Seacoastonline.com, the law that was passed in March prohibits "anyone making loud, unusual or unnecessary noises with cars or construction equipment before dawn or after dusk." (Read full story here.)

The parade is set to start at 9:00 a.m. According to www.timeanddate.com, the sun will rise in New Hampshire at 5:19 a.m. on Sunday. Sounds like they're free to honk away!

We Want To Send $100 to One Great Tow Boss!

Nominate yours for our Top Tow Boss Of The Year Contest. The winner gets $100! Email details to senior editor Bill Candler at bcandler@traderonline.com. Deadline is August 15 - so do it today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother of Killed Tow Truck Driver to Take Part in News Conference on Wednesday

Judy Walters, of Fort Worth, TX, whose son Rob Walters, a wrecker driver, was picking up a broken down wrecker on the side of a highway when he was struck and killed by an 18-wheel truck, is slated to participate with other families of fatal truck crashes and members of Congress in a news conference on Wednesday.

They will protest a trucking and shipping industry front group called "Americans for Safe and Efficient Transportation that has pushed on Capitol Hill this week to weaken federal truck safety laws by increasing truck weights to 97,000 pounds or more from the current 80,000-pound federal limit. Safety groups will also release the findings of an independent national poll on American motorists' views on truck size and weight issues. Read the full release here.

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008, at 11:45 a.m.


WHERE: U.S. Capitol Room SC-6

Former TX Firefighter Convicted of Killing a Tow Truck Driver Faces Anger and Tears

Below is the story from KHOU Channel 11. To see the video, click here. Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Steven Ray Hardin.

Former Houston firefighter Barry Crawford was in court for a probation hearing.

Crawford was convicted of murder after shooting a wrecker driver in 1998. Steven Ray Hardin was trying to tow Crawford's vehicle when he was gunned down.

A jury gave Crawford probation and 1,000 hours of community service, but the Hardin family says he’s been skirting those orders and they're furious.

A judge reimposed 400 hours of community service and ordered Crawford to give up his tax stimulus check to help pay restitution.

But the family did not get an apology. They say there’s never been one.

“You could at least say ‘your sorry’ to his sister, his mother,” said one courtroom observer. “What kind of man are you Crawford? You’re a coward, that’s what you are, a murdering coward.”

“This is his sister. You didn’t even apologize to her. If I could get to you ... " said another woman.

“It hurts that he can walk the streets,” said the victim’s sister, Tonya Hardin.

“My brother is not here and he’s free. It is not right. Probation for murder is not right. It never will be right,” she said.

Under Crawford’s probation requirements, he’s supposed to carry a picture of the man he killed in his wallet. He is also required to carry a sign, five times a year, that says “ I murdered a citizen in Humble."

The judge put Crawford on notice that he will go to jail if he does not complete his community service.

Towing Happenings This Weekend

St. Louis, MO: May 17-18 Two Day-Heavy Duty Class By Wes Wilburn Consulting 910-486-8928 weswilburn@aol.com

Hampton Beach, NH: May 17-18: The New Hampshire Towing Association in cooperation with Dave's Garage, 321 Ocean Blvd., Hampton hosts the 36th anniversary Tow Truck Show on Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18.

On Saturday, there will be a tow truck rodeo from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Hampton Beach State Park with various activities such as a judged obstacle course, tow truck beauty contest, demonstrations, vendors, recoveries and a police K-9 demonstration. On Sunday, the association attempts to break the Guinness World Record by having the most tow trucks in a parade.

The parade starts at 9 a.m. and will follow Ocean Boulevard, High Street, Route 1 and take Winnacunnet Road back to the beach. Families are encouraged to watch the parade from any point along the route. The current record for most tow trucks is 83. Tow trucks for all over the New England will participate in Sunday's parade. (This report from Seacoastonline.com.)

Updated Information from the MN Professional Towing Association

Last Thursday, I posted some important information from the MN Professional Towing Association about legislation concerning the release of items inside of an impounded vehicle without the owner having to actually pick up the vehicle.

Here's an update sent from Jeff Schoenborn of Chief's Towing:
more to the story, The state did pass this bill however with some changes that I think all towers can live with. Now before somebody can take all there property without paying there bill they must show proove they are not able to pay for it. (see below)

24.9168B.051, a registered owner who provides documentation from a government or
24.10nonprofit agency or legal aid office that the registered owner is homeless, receives relief
24.11based on need, is eligible for legal aid services, or has a household income at or below 50
24.12percent of state median income has the unencumbered right to retrieve any and all contents
24.13without charge and regardless of whether the registered owner pays incurred charges or
24.14fees, transfers title, or reclaims the vehicle.

I think we can live with this. We do have hearts and some people fall on hard times and the majority of the people wont fall into this category.
GREAT WORK by Virg Siewart Siewarts Garage Red Wing, MN and the rest of the MPTA along with those who made the effort to be heard. Now it's time to tackle other problems ***FUEL PRICES***
Jeff Schoenborn Chief's Towing

Three Arrested for Illegally Towing Vehicles in CA

Here's an excerpt from the Ventura County Star:

Oxnard police have arrested three people on suspicion of robbery and grand theft auto after an investigation of alleged illegal towing practices.

Two of those arrested — Bryan Keith Eckenrode, 30, of Ojai and Bryan Linnaeus Booher, 32, of Camarillo — are tow-truck drivers for Buena Towing of Ventura, police said. The third, Tanya Marie Miranda, 30, of Oxnard, is a security guard for Gold Coast Security in Ventura, which provided security at several privately owned parking lots where some of the tows occurred, according to police.

The Friday arrests came after a nine-week investigation by Oxnard police of alleged "predatory towing," in which a towing company illegally removes vehicles and sometimes overcharges to release them to their owners, police said.

The state passed a law against such practices in 2007 to protect consumers, Oxnard traffic Sgt. Randey Cole said Monday.

Read the full story here.

Revised Ordinance In Gainesville, FL Allows Higher Rates for Police Towing

Here's an excerpt from the Gainesville Times story:

A recently revised ordinance allows wrecker companies to charge more than they have in the past when the police department calls them to the scene of an accident, to pick up an abandoned car or the vehicle of someone who has been arrested.

Gainesville police Capt. Chad White said the changes in the ordinance, passed by the Gainesville City Council last week, were long overdue.

"We’ve already had an ordinance in play, but it hasn’t been updated in many years," he said.

Both White and the owners of some of the wrecker companies the police department relies on to respond to its calls say fuel costs are one of the main reasons the changes were necessary.

Monday, diesel prices in Gainesville were as high as $4.29 a gallon, and the old ordinance did not allow for higher fuel costs or the extra work it takes to respond to city police calls, said Keith Chandler, co-owner of A-1 Towing and Wrecker Service.

Read the full story here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Towing Headlines

From Dallas, TX: Police seize vehicles from Dallas towing company

From Portland, OR: Tow truck, grandma in standoff over disabled parking spot

From Tampa Bay, FL: State senator Victor Crist's proposed towing regulation bill fails for 13th time

From Battle Creek, MI: Towing company fire under investigation

MA Tow Truck Driver Hit By Drunk Driver

Let's keep 30-year old Charles Solimine in our thoughts. While readying a car for towing, Solimine was hit by a Toyota being driven by a 59-year old man who was arrested and charged with drunken and reckless driving.

Here's the story from the Taunton Daily Gazette:
A tow truck operator was taken by MedFlight to a trauma unit in Boston after being struck by a drunk driver on Liberty Street at about 8:30 Friday night.

According to police, Charles Solimine, 30, of Union Street, was in the process of attaching a vehicle to his flat-bed tow truck when he was hit by a Toyota SUV. The driver, Antonio Resendes, 59, of Liberty Street, was unable to respond to initial questioning from police at the scene and was later arrested and charged with drunk driving (with serious bodily injury) and reckless driving.

Solimine was taken by ambulance to Morton Hospital before being flown to the intensive care unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

A friend who visited Solimine on Saturday said he sustained multiple injuries after he was crushed between the black Acura on his truck and the gray Toyota 4Runner driven by Resendes. Witnesses said the flatbed was tilted when the accident occurred.

Doctors operated on Solimine to treat injuries that included a broken hip, broken ribs, several leg fractures, significant knee damage and a punctured lung. He was expected to require extensive physical therapy as well as additional surgery as part of his recovery.
Solimine is an employee of Mike’s Towing and Recovery in Taunton.

After failing a field sobriety test, Resendes was arrested and taken to the police station were he registered .20 percent blood-alcohol content after taking a breath test. The state limit is .08 percent. He told police he had consumed three beers and a shot that evening.

tfaulkner@tauntongazette.com

Friday, May 9, 2008

"Hunks of Towing" - Are YOU Tow Man Enough?


Now, this is what you call FUN-draising! I'll definitely be one of the first in line to get one of these!!!

Tow Times
is hosting the contest and the 2009 calendars will sell for $10 each. The goal is to raise $10,000 to benefit the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum and the Women of the Towing and Recovery Association of America's Scholarship Fund. Plus, it's positive attention for the towing industry. Entries will be posted on the Tow Times website soon.

Here's what they're looking for in a "Hunk": Well-dressed, very presentable men (Keep the family in mind, guys!) DEADLINE: July 31 so get going!! Click HERE for the rules.

The WTRAA will pick the winners and the 8 1/2" by 11" calendar will feature photos of the winning "Hunks" and their rigs at the top with product and message placement of exclusive sponsors.

If you'd like to help sponsor, contact Tow Times' agent, Jeff Smith, at jeffsmith@fan-a-sea.com or call 407-699-5655 for all the details.




Prosecutors to Review Death of TX Tow Truck Operator

Here's the story by Bill Miller of the Star-Telegram:

Johnson County prosecutors will review the traffic accident that killed a tow truck driver late Sunday on the south side of Burleson, a spokeswoman for the city said.

William David Stone, 26, died when he was hit at 10:18 p.m. by a car while trying to remove another car from the shoulder of south Interstate 35W, according to reports.

The driver of the car that hit Stone, Kevin Lamar Williams, told officers that he fell asleep at the wheel, said Sally Ellertson, the spokeswoman.

Williams, 20, of McGregor, which is southwest of Waco, was cited for failure to drive in a single lane and for no insurance, Ellertson said.

Prosecutors, however, will review the case, she said.

"Standard procedure in a traffic accident involving a death is to forward the case to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office for review," Ellertson said.

In such cases, prosecutors might decide to put the case before a grand jury, which will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to conduct a trial on criminal charges.

Williams did not have to go to the hospital following the accident, Ellertson said. A passenger in the tow truck was not hurt, she added.

Stone was hooking onto a Mitsubishi GT3000, which was partially up on the flatbed wrecker, when a Chevrolet car driven by Williams crashed into the Mitsubishi, according to earlier reports.

Next, the Chevrolet struck Stone, the reports stated.

Stone, the father of five children, died at the scene.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tow Truck Owner Honored By State of ME

Here's a portion from the SunJournal.com story:
A 20-year Mexico towing service owner, who won a national towing award last fall, was honored by the 123rd Legislature on Saturday afternoon in front of family and friends inside the new Mexico Lions Hall.

During the small ceremony, Rep. Sheryl J. Briggs, D-Mexico, presented a surprised Roland Patneaude, owner of Roland's Automotive on River Road, with legislative sentiment.

The document recognized Patneaude's induction on Nov. 16 into the national Order of the Towman at the American Towman Wrecker Pageant in the World Trade Center at Baltimore.

Patneaude - the only one from Maine - was one of 63 nationwide tow truck owners honored for their dedication to towing and the communities they serve.
Read the entire story here.

Shots Taken at Tow Truck Driver, Near TV Reporter

From Dallas, TX: A man allegedly opened fire on tow truck driver Ole Whitworth while Whitworth was towing the man's friend's car for being illegally-parked. A CBS 11 news reporter was doing a live report at the scene and the sound of the shots were caught on tape. Thankfully, no one was injured. Read the report here.

Towing Headlines

From Mansfield, OH: Lawsuit Against Ontario Dismissed

From Peoria, IL: Pekin Towing Ordinance Worries Truck Drivers

From Longview, TX: Wrecker Fees To Rise?

From Seattle, WA: Thousands Spent On Freeway No-Parking Signs

Important News from the MN Professional Towing Association

FYI... From Phil Collins of Collins Brothers Towing for the MN Professional Towing Association

Just want to inform everyone that the Senate passed Senate File #3223. This pertains to abandoned motor vehicles and personal property. It basically says that even if the party does not pay the tow bill or impound fees that we have to release personal property to the owner.

Please take a few minutes to call the Governor's office and let them know that we are strongly opposed to this bill. If you have any questions, please contact Phil Collins at 612-221-3472. The phone numbers for the Governor's officer are 651-296-3391 or 1-800-657-3717.

towPartners' Budget GPS Aids Recovery of $400K Tow Truck

Here's the story that was posted on PR.com:

BudgetGPS Service Used to Recover $400,000 Truck After Theft

Dallas, TX , May 06, 2008 --(PR.com)-- On April 20, 2008, a 2007 Kenworth truck equipped with a Century XP-850 wrecker body was stolen from the Marlow’s Fuel Center truck stop in Dallas , TX . The truck was owned by Walnut Hill Wrecker, a WHW Towing Companies Company, based in Dallas , TX . The tow truck operator was off-shift and had parked the vehicle at the truck stop as was his customary practice.

The $400,000 towing and recovery vehicle was stolen from the parking area at the truck stop and was taken to a home in South Dallas where its parts and tools were being stripped. Using the BudgetGPS system from towXchange, the management of Walnut Hill Wrecker was able to notify police of the path of the truck and of its location when it stopped.

“It was amazing how accurate the BudgetGPS system was in locating our truck,” stated Jay Coldiron, Operations Manager for Walnut Hill Wrecker. “We installed the BudgetGPS system less than a year ago and though it pays for itself in many ways, this is the scenario you think about when you buy it. The system was able to pinpoint the actual address where the tools were removed and we were able to recover our truck.”

Mr. Coldiron went to the scene himself and was on-site when police recovered the truck. Using a BudgetGPS history report, Mr. Coldiron was able to play back the path the truck followed to determine where the parts had been removed and police were able to investigate that additional scene in an effort to recover the tools.

“We are proud that our system was able to aid in the recovery of this unit for Walnut Hill,” said Jeffrey Godwin , Vice President of BudgetGPS parent company, towXchange, Inc. “Our customers depend on the system for fuel savings and efficient routing of fleets but we all know that theft is a risk for commercial vehicles. Thankfully a minor investment can protect your biggest assets.”

The truck was recovered and is being returned to service as part of the Walnut Hill Wrecker fleet. The Sprint Nextel powered BudgetGPS system continues to track vehicles in fleets across the United States, prepared for the next truck routing, dispatching or even theft recovery.

See www.budgetgps.com for more information on BudgetGPS.

About BudgetGPS
BudgetGPS is a division of towXchange, Inc. and is a leading provider of vehicle tracking solutions to the towing and recovery industry. In February 2008, BudgetGPS expanded its operations to include offerings to all industries needing tracking services. The BudgetGPS application currently provides quality vehicle tracking solutions to companies of all sizes at very aggressive price points. BudgetGPS solutions are currently serving over 500 customers across the United States and extensive growth is planned for the system. To learn more about BudgetGPS, visit www.budgetgps.com.


Monday, May 5, 2008

2008 Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Congratulations to the 2008 Hall of Fame Inductees who were nominated by members of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum!
  • George D. Connolly (Westminster, Colorado)
  • Richard Daley (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
  • William G. Miller (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
  • Clarissa Powell (Winter Park, Florida)
  • J. Rodney Poynter (Bellevue, Kentucky)
  • James Salentine (Greenfield, WI)
  • Stephen B. Shinnick (Great Missensen, England)
  • Thomas A. Tedford (East Hartford, Connecticut)

Hall of Fame members will be recognized at an induction ceremony to be held at 6 p.m. on September 20th, 2008 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. A full weekend of activities will be held to celebrate this year’s inductees. For more information on the induction ceremony, or to order tickets, call Cheryl Mish at 423-267-3132.

TX Tow Truck Driver Killed

More terrible news... 26-year old tow truck driver, William David Stone, was killed late Sunday while he was towing a vehicle from the side of the road. Stone had a Mitsubishi partly-loaded on a flatbed truck when a Chevrolet crashed into the Mitsubishi and then into Stone. In the Star-Telegram story, Stone's mother said that Stone has five children. Read the full story here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

WA Tow Truck Driver Identified

Our condolences go the family and acquaintances of 44-year old Shawn Cary McKinney. He died this week when a truck he was preparing to tow rolled on him. Read the update here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tow Truck Driver Settles With Hancock's Insurance Co

A little more than a year ago, Cardinals' pitcher, Josh Hancock, ran into the back of Jacob Hargrove's flatbed truck, killing himself. Hargrove settled with Hancock's insurance company, State Farm, for an undisclosed amount. Read the story here.

WA Tow Truck Driver Killed

Sad, sad news... while readying a truck for towing, a WA tow truck driver was killed. Apparently, the truck he was working on rolled over him. Read the report here.