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Friday, August 22, 2008

A Hazard of Being a Tow Truck Driver in the South

Here's the East Volusia News (FL) story:

Reptile deters wrecker driver's recovery effort


DAYTONA BEACH -- A sport utility vehicle plunged into a pond near the golf course at Indigo Lakes early Thursday morning after the driver lost control of the vehicle and ran off Interstate 95 just north of International Speedway Boulevard, a witness said.

The driver of the SUV and his passenger escaped the sinking vehicle through the sunroof and were uninjured, according to Holly Hill tow-truck driver Adam Balboa.

Balboa of Arrow Wrecker Service said the crash occurred before dawn Thursday and Florida Highway Patrol troopers called him to the scene to remove the vehicle.

Balboa arrived at the scene about 8 a.m. and prepared to begin fishing the vehicle out of the murky water when he noticed two alligators on the surface.

"They looked pretty big," Balboa said. "They (FHP investigators) called the trappers and . .( ) we were able to go in the water and bring up the truck."

Balboa said the SUV was extremely heavy because it was so inundated with water.

Trappers killed the 8-foot-long gator recovered from the water, Balboa said.

More details about the crash and the victims' identities were not available Thursday night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CA Deputy Jailed After Tow Truck Confrontation

Here's The Desert Sun story:
A San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy faces felony assault charges after he allegedly handcuffed and held a tow-truck driver at gunpoint along Interstate 10, about 45 miles east of Indio.

Richard Charles Heverly, 41, of La Verne was arrested Monday and booked into the Riverside County jail in Indio. He was released later that day on $150,000 bail.

He faces four felony charges for the Aug. 10 incident involving tow-truck driver Roger Gilstrap, whose hometown was not available Tuesday.

Charges against Heverly include assault with a semi-automatic firearm, assault under the color of authority, making a criminal threat and false imprisonment.

According to a statement by Michael Jeandron, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, Gilstrap had noticed a “big rig” fire on the side of the freeway, near Eagle Mountain Road. While on the phone with police dispatch, the tow-truck driver blocked the freeway with his vehicle to keep people away from the fire until emergency personnel arrived.

Heverly then approached the tow-truck driver and flashed his badge.

“Witness reports indicate that Heverly escalated the confrontation by unlawfully handcuffing and holding the tow- truck driver at gunpoint,” Jeandron said.

Indio resident Sean Moore was traveling a few cars behind the tow-truck driver and saw some of the events unfold.

“The tow-truck driver looked scared. It looked like (Heverly) had the guy's hands behind his back,” Moore said.

He then noticed the off-duty officer taking photos of the tow- truck driver.

“He stuck a digital camera into his face. I don't know why,” Moore said.

As a witness to some of the events, Moore was subsequently interviewed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's internal affairs unit and the California Highway Patrol.

The district attorney's office is now pursuing charges.

“The Riverside County District Attorney's Office has the authority to prosecute crimes that occur within Riverside County,” Jeandron said.

Heverly is scheduled to for arraignment on Oct. 29.

Xochitl Peña covers Indio and Coachella for The Desert Sun. She can be reached at 360-1340 or at xochitl.pena@thedesertsun.com.

SC Tow Truck Driver Arrested After Shooting

Here's the story from The Beaufort Gazette:
A Burton tow truck driver was arrested Tuesday and faces two counts of assault with intent to kill after police say he opened fire on two men during an argument at his impound yard on Bay Pines Road.

Michael James Louder, 28,of Burton remained in jail Wednesday afternoon on $80,000 bail, accused of shooting at Timothy Brian Bonk, 21, and Kevin Szabo, 24.

Bonk and Louder were arguing about a four-wheeler that was at Louder's lot. The argument turned violent when Louder went to the cab of his tow truck, retrieved a 9 mm handgun, and starting shooting at the two men, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

When Bonk and Szabo tried to leave, Louder blocked the exit before ramming Szabo's Ford F-150 with his tow truck, causing an estimated $5,000 worth of damage to the truck, the Sheriff's Office said.

No injuries were reported in the shooting, authorities said.

Deputies recovered two shell casings and surveillance video from a nearby business captured the entire incident, the Sheriff's Office said. Deputies also seized a magazine of 9 mm bullets from the cab of Louder's truck.

Monday, August 18, 2008

CA Deputy Sheriff Charged With Threatening Tow Truck Driver

Here's the KPSP Local 2 News story:

A San Bernardino County Sheriffs Deputy has been arrested in Indio for allegedly terrorizing and threatening the life of a tow truck driver.

In an arrest decalration obtained exclusively by KPSP Local 2, a California Highway Patrol Officer indicates that on August 10th, San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff Richard Heverly pulled up next to a tow-truck that had responded to a fully engulfed big-rig fire off Interstate 10 near Eagle Mountain. Heverly approached the tow truck driver flashed his badge at him and said "This entitles me to do what ever the f*** I want. The deputy yelled at the driver and grabbed his cell phone disconnecting his call. He then handcuffed the driver, puncturing his hand. Allegedly he then placed his semi-automatic handgun in the driver's ear and threatened to kill him. The tow truck driver suffered cuts and bruises from the weapon. The CHP officer indicates that Heverly refused to allow the man to leave for a full five minutes

The deputy has been charged with four felonies, all qualifying as strikes under California law, including assault with a deadly weapon and terrorist threats. He was released $150,000 dollars bail. The Deputies arraignment is set for August 20th, according to the Riverside County Courts Website.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goodyear Seeking Highway Heroes

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is starting its second quarter-century of celebrating truck-driver heroics. A search is on for U.S. and Canadian drivers who come to the rescue of fellow motorists.

Nominations for the prestigious 26th annual Goodyear North AmericaHighway Hero Awards will be accepted through Nov. 30, 2008.

To be considered for this year's award, the following criteria must be met:
. Nominee must be a full-time truck driver;
. Nominee must be a resident of the United States or Canada;
. Incident recognized must have occurred in the United States or Canada;
. Nominee must have been on the job or on the way to or from work, and in his or her rig at the time of the incident;.
. Nominee's truck at the time of the incident must have 14 wheels or more;
Incident must have taken place between Nov. 16, 2007, and Nov. 15, 2008, to qualify.

Joe Copeland, vice president for Goodyear commercial tire systems, said, "Too many times, we only hear about the negative news of our world. That extends to truck drivers, who are truly misunderstood for the role they play in moving freight from the factories to our homes. We see today's truck driver as the brave men and women who make our highways safer and drive our economy. They truly are America's unsung heroes, and we want to honor them. The Highway Hero program is for those who selflessly risk life and limb to come to the aid of fellow motorists or who make the world a better place for all. Anyone can nominate a truck driver for this high honor," Copeland said.

Nomination forms and program details may be obtained by calling the Goodyear Highway Hero Hotline at 330-796-8183. The nomination form also is available on the program's web site at
http://www.goodyear.com/truck/news/hero.html.

towPartners Announces New Website

towPartners launched an all new website August 1.Some of the features of the new website are shown below.

Standard Features:

  • Local Weather
  • Gas & Fuel Prices
  • News including US, World, Entertainment and more
  • towPartners News
  • Motor Club Rates and Statistics (expanded offering)
  • Tow411 RSS Feed for Latest Posts
  • Savings Ticker – See what members are saving!
  • Mapping
  • Advisor Articles
  • eAdvisor (Latest 164 page issue online now)
  • Polls
  • Google Search
  • NASCAR News
  • Information on all of our savings programs
  • Classified Ads
  • Motor Club Listings
  • Trade Show Listings

Members Only Features (Must be logged into view):

  • National Towing Rates (Regional also for Light and Heavy Duty)
  • Free VIN Decoder
  • Legislation / Legal Research Tool (Gold)
  • More detailed savings information including exclusive offers only to members
  • Messages from towPartners
  • Online Profile Updating which also updates free listings on towSearch.com
  • Back issues of the Advisor online
  • Access to our free software, towData
  • Many more members only items in development

Take a look at www.towpartners.com.


Friday, August 15, 2008

MA Tow Service Loses AAA Contract due to "Lobster-gate"

This is related to my Aug. 5 post on this MA tow company and its "disposal" of a load of lobsters.
Click here to read the story.

Everyday Towing Hero in CO

Kudos to Mike Hipszky for his heroic actions! Here's the story from The Daily Record:
Humble Hero

It has all the makings of a superhero movie — a wall of water, drivers in distress and a former Navy Seal buckling himself into a makeshift harness for swift-water rescue.

There is only one problem. Mike Hipszky, hero of this particular story, shrugs off his role in rescuing people from the July 26 flood at Copper Gulch, even though he risked his own life to save theirs.

“I’m no hero,” the soft-spoken 32-year-old said. “My dad is a hero. The people serving in Afghanistan and Iraq right now are heroes. My wife and daughter are heroes for putting up with me.”

Hipszky, a body-shop worker at Lindner by day, turns into a tow-truck driver by weekend. He had just finished a run up Copper Gulch Road late the afternoon of July 26, when the rain started.

“It was sprinkling just a little bit,” Hipszky said. “It turned really nasty, really fast. It was pretty crazy — I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Devastating rains dropped from a late-afternoon thunderstorm, racing down the flood-prone Copper Gulch area and stranding drivers. Strips of pavement dropped five feet straight down, and the road suffered severe shoulder and culvert damage. At least one lane of the road was completely washed away in three different places.

Safe in his 2004 Chevy Duramax wrecker, Hipszky had slowed to a stop when he felt the road beneath him start giving way.

“I was just sitting there, waiting for the water to go down,” Hipszky said. “It washed the road away from underneath the wrecker. I got washed off the road and started to worry — I didn’t want anything to happen to the wrecker.”

Even as his own safety shifted beneath him, Hipszky saw others in great distress and chose to focus on them.

“There were four or five cars that were stuck,” he said, including one that had literally washed down the channel. “People were out of and on their cars.”

Others had left their vehicles and made their way to higher ground.

“The water was so deep, it was washing boulders down,” Hipszky said. “It was really strong, really fast.”

So, he did what any hero would do — quickly created a makeshift harness out of ratchet straps from the tow truck. He attached himself to the wrecker’s cable and braved the rushing waters several times to bring others to safety.

“It was so hard to stand up. You had to lean into it so you didn’t fall over,” Hipszky said.

Another driver, a Marine — Hipszky didn’t get his name — helped reel him in using the truck’s winch.

“It was definitely a lot of water,” Hipszky said.

Hipszky admitted the adrenaline was flowing, probably making his actions seem easier than they actually were. He lost count of the number of people he saved.

More than four hours later, the ordeal was over, and Hipszky was able to drive away. The simple act of towing a car up Copper Gulch Road had turned into much more than he had bargained for.

Steve Lindner, owner of Lindner Chevrolet Cadillac Inc., said the wrecker was a mess after Hipszky’s adventures.

“It took us a good couple of days to clean that wrecker back up,” Lindner said. “The water was up to the doors. Weeds were floating in the tool boxes.”

Naturally, Lindner said he and the entire team at the auto dealership are proud of their colleague.

“He is just a great guy,” Lindner said.

Before he signed on with the Lindner team, Hipszky spent 12 years in the Navy, where he joined the SEAL special military forces. That reliable, disciplined and highly skilled maritime force operates from sea, air or land while employing stealth and clandestine methods.

Although reluctant to talk about his military service, Hipszky said he saw “almost every part of the world that has a shore,” spent time in war-torn Afghanistan and Bosnia. His duties there are undoubtedly the reason he downplays his role in the Copper Gulch flood of 2008.

“It wasn’t really that big of a deal,” Hipszky said. “It probably sounds a lot more impressive than it really was.”

A screenplay of the Copper Gulch flood, however, would tell a different story — one of honor, service, bravery and valor — with Hipszky as the hero.

Debbie Bell may be reached at dbell@ccdailyrecord.com.

Towing Co. Owner is 2008 Citizen of the Year in CA City

Here's The Sun story:

San Dimas' 2008 Citizen of the Year learned from father
Imani Tate, Staff Writer

SAN DIMAS - Service is a lifetime habit for Scott Dilley, the 2008 San Dimas Citizen of the Year who was spoon-fed activism and charity during his formative years.

Dilley and his younger brother Chris didn't have time to get in trouble as children growing up in San Dimas and La Verne. Their days were filled with youth sports, school and community activities and public-service projects.

Scott and Chris inherited more than ownership of Sanders Towing, Lock and Key and Automotive Shop from their dad, Ron Dilley. The examples of their father, mother Julie Dilley Hector and grandmother Pearl Dilley convinced the Dilley boys there was more to life than breathing air and taking up space.

Ron's record of service include La Verne Planning Commission, Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce and philanthropic projects in San Dimas and La Verne. Pearl, retired chief baker for Bonita Unified School District, helped children in crisis with grandmotherly care and cookies. Hector volunteered with numerous community and children's programs before remarrying and moving to Texas where she continues to live a service-oriented life.

Family and community remain Scott's top priorities. His attraction to his wife, Ekstrand Elementary School teacher Kerry Dilley, was about more than her physical beauty. He chose a life partner equally committed to philanthropic work.

Scott is teaching older son Matt, 16, to recognize and respond to the needs of others.

Matt picks up trash, sells tickets, cooks, fills balloons and performs whatever tasks help others at the San Dimas rodeo, Western Days and birthday party, usually working side-by-side with Scott and Kerry.

"We are not alone" and the Golden Rule were the messages Scott constantly heard growing up and remain constant in his life today, he said.

Sanders' tow truck today also carry Girl and Boy Scouts, Little League, Pop Warner and Girls Softball Association athletes, church and community floats, professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, musicians, youth advocates, elected officials, military banners, costumed characters and public safety agents for parades and community events in San Dimas and La Verne.

Scott is a Bonita High School and Citrus College graduate.

Sanders Towing was started by Scott's great- uncle Leonard Stevenson and later owned by Ken Sanders before Ron Dilley bought it.

Young Scott was promoted to tow-truck washer before he and Chris began more serious tasks to prepare them for ultimately assuming ownership of the business in 2001 when Ron retired.

Fairplex Education Director Dan Harden, a retired Bonita teacher and La Verne councilman, said the Dilleys never stand on the sidelines when help is needed.

"Anytime the community needs support for anything at any time, Scott and Chris step up," Harden said. "Scott is the kind of person you like to be around, because he's positive, friendly, gentle, giving and caring. And so are his brother, his wife, his dad and his stepmom. The Dilley boys were good kids and now they're great, generous men."


Monday, August 11, 2008

Suit Settled

Jason Wahler's ex-girlfriend has agreed to pay $3,000 to a tow truck driver to settle a lawsuit he brought against her and "The Hills" star. Read the rest of the story here.

Murder Trial Starts in NC Tow Truck Driver's Shooting

Here's the WRAL.com story:

The murder trial of a man charged with killing a Rocky Mount tow-truck driver on New Year's Day 2007 began Monday.

William Corbett, 25, was shot when he tried to tow a car parked outside a business across from a nightclub on North Church Street, police said. Witnesses said a large group of people left the club at about the same time Corbett was hooking the illegally parked car to his wrecker, and they surrounded him.

One man in the crowd pulled a gun, shot Corbett in the chest and fled, police said.

James Taylor Jr., 24, of 717 Starling Way in Rocky Mount, later surrendered to police and was charged in Corbett's shooting.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Another Reminder of How Dangerous Towing Can Be

Our best wishes for a full recovery to this MI tow truck driver who was severely injured after being trapped underneath a car. Read the full story here.

Jazz Diva By Night; Tow Truck Driver By Day

Cool story from South Africa's Daily Dispatch about an award-winning jazz singer who tow cars, too!

THE truck’s engine drowns out her voice as she shifts gears. She loses her cellphone signal and pulls over for the third time just so we can talk.

It’s just another day for award-winning Port Elizabeth jazz singer, Phinda Mtya. While her peers are running around shopping malls looking for outfits to wear for their next concert, Mtya spends the day in oily overalls towing broken-down cars.

She has been driving tow trucks on the streets of Johannesburg for the past eight years and enjoys it.

But on Saturday evening, the Tiki-Tiki star will swop the overalls for a stunning outfit when she performs at East London’s Orient Theatre.

The event, Divas Jazz Evening, which will celebrate Women’s Day, will also feature Oupa Makhubela, Mimmi and Linda.

It’s not often that one sees a woman behind the wheel of a tow truck, especially one that has performed in The Lion King and has recorded CDs.

“Actually, it’s my husband who has an interest in cars,” she says.

“We started a panel-beating business and our clients would have problems bringing their cars in. So we bought one tow truck and it ended up outperforming the actual business.

“Now we have both the panel-beating shop and the tow company. I drive the trucks when we don’t have a driver. L ike today, when there’s a strike, I’m very busy.”

It’s not unusual for her to get wisecracks from passersby when she’s driving the tow truck.

“I get a lot of eyes when I tow a car and some people even come up to me and say: ‘Ha! My sister, such a big truck? Do you have a driver with you?’ I just smile at them.”

She has to stop our telephone interview for a while as there are so many people stopping to greet her.

This is the attention Mtya has been getting since her song, Tiki-Tiki, announced her arrival in the music industry last year. Things have not always been this rosy. Mtya began singing at the Alabama Hotel in Port Elizabeth before touring with a band. In 1991, she moved to Johannesburg and worked with Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, who introduced her to her producer. Soon, she signed a record deal.

She recorded her first album, Into Yam, but it never saw the light of day.

“The company that I signed with was liquidated,” says Mtya.

“I was still very young, only 22. This was all happening within a year of being in Johannesburg.

“I could have moved the material somewhere else. Instead, I really got disappointed and stopped trying. When that didn’t work, I went back to doing what I knew best – singing backup and writing music for other musicians. ”

Things started changing when Lebo M, The Lion King co-producer, spotted Mtya performing in Johannesburg. She joined the cast of the hit musical and, as a result, was based in Canada for almost three years.

“That was the most humbling experience and it taught me many things about the industry,” Mtya says.

On her return to the country she joined Mahube, a collaboration of 12 of southern Africa’s finest musicians, including Oliver Mtukudzi, George Phiri, Suthukazi Arosi, Feya Faku and Andile Yenana, among others.

Her second album, Mbeka Phesheya, won a SA Music Award in 2006.

“When I heard my name I was zoned out and I don’t even remember what happened next,” she says.

Now this diva has her sights set on starting her own recording studio and launching a project to develop upcoming musicians in the Eastern Cape.

“It just goes to show, you can never judge a person by their job or by the clothes they wear,” she laughs.

l Divas Jazz Evening starts at 7.30pm and tickets are R80. They can be bought at Shoprite/Checkers outlets and at Computicket.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Parade of Tow Trucks Planned to Honor Killed AZ Tow Truck

Good story from The East Valley Tribune's writer Katie McDevitt:

About 200 tow trucks are planning to proceed through Gilbert and Mesa Thursday evening following a funeral for a AAA tow truck driver who was struck and killed on Loop 202 on Friday.

Jesse Gault’s funeral will be 5 p.m. at Falconer Funeral Home, 251 W. Juniper Ave., in Gilbert. The procession will take place between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. from the funeral home.

Route of funeral procession, Thompson's Auto Repair and Towing, U.S. 60, University Dr., Guadalupe Rd., Baseline Rd., Southern Ave., MESA, GILBERT, Broadway Rd., Main St., Stapley Dr., Lindsay Rd., Gilbert Rd., Hometown             Buffet, Falconer Funeral Home, Map by Scott Kirchhofer/EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE

It will move north on Gilbert Road and make a left on Main Street where the tow trucks will stop for a moment of silence in front of Gault’s former employer, Thompson's Auto Repair and Towing in Mesa at 1325 E. Main Street. Most of the procession will then continue on to Gault’s favorite restaurant, Hometown Buffet, located at 1855 S. Stapley Drive and the truck carrying his casket will return to the funeral home.

The body of Jesse Gault will be in a casket on the flatbed of a tow truck in the procession, said Chris Timothy, owner of Falconer Funeral Home in Gilbert.

Gault was killed along with Jean Bunch after he changed her tire in the emergency lane on Loop 202 near Gilbert Road about 10 a.m. Friday. A large truck driven by Albert J. Lorona, 31, of Yuma plowed into the back of Gault's tow truck, crushing Gault and Bunch only minutes before they were going to drive away.

Investigators still haven't interviewed Lorona because he has been at a local hospital with injuries.

The procession of tow trucks with flashing lights will be held in Gault’s memory, but will also be an effort to show state lawmakers that tow truck drivers want to see a change, said Joyce Capson, of Robins Towing, who has been a tow truck driver for 25 years.

“Why don’t we matter?” Capson said in a phone interview while holding back tears. “The ‘Move Over Law’ should apply to (us).”

Capson said she wants to see the law that requires freeway drivers to move over a lane or slow down for emergency vehicles on the side of the highway be changed to also include tow truck drivers.

Tow truck drivers were initially included in the bill, but were removed from the legislation before it became law.

Capson said she and other tow truck drivers have written letters to lawmakers in light of Gault’s death and have already heard back from one person.

“We’re trying to do all we can now,” Capson said.

Chattanooga Beer & Wrecker Board...

Sounds like an interesting committee to be on! Anyway, here's a short story on a recent ruling.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tow Truck's Chrome Pays Off In AK Truck Show

Here's the story in The Courier about Cogswell Motors' second-place win during a Little Rock, AK truck show. "Cogswell Motor’s newest wrecker [a 2008 Peterbilt] bested more than 30 trucks to place second at the four-day event hosted by the cast of Country Music Television’s popular series 'Trick My Truck.'"

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Bill Sutherland, one of the first presidents of the Virginia Association of Towing & Recovery Operators or VATRO.

His obit:

William Edward Sutherland Jr., 65, of Stafford County passed away Sunday, Aug. 3, 2008.

He was the husband of Lorraine Bernier Sutherland and was president and owner of Mount Vernon Fuel Oil Inc., t/a Woodbridge Marine.

He was past king lion of the Aquia Host Lions Club and past commander of Aquia Harbor Yacht Club. He was a member of the Mid-Potomac Power Squadron.

Mr. Sutherland was born in Alexandria March 27, 1943, the son of the late William Edward Sutherland Sr. and Bessie Cornelia Merchant Sutherland.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Carol A. Sutherland of Stafford and Billie Sue Walker and her husband, Jeffrey A., of Stafford; two sisters, Joan Rush and her husband, Jim, of West Virginia, and Patricia Roberts and her husband, Don, of West Virginia; and five grandchildren, William Christopher Sutherland, Jill Walker, Jesse Walker, Brandon Lang and Olivia Shupe.

A funeral will be conducted at 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Stafford Chapel, by the Rev. George Dearborn. Interment will follow in Mount Comfort Cemetery in Alexandria .

The family will receive friends Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Aquia Host Lions Club; the Aquia Harbor Yacht Club; or to Mary Washington Hospice.

Online condolences may be made by visiting mullins thompson.com

OH Tow Truck Driver Killed

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 27-year old Seth Hicks, who died Friday after being struck on the side of the road. Hicks worked for Fletcher's Towing Service in Circleville.
Read the story here.

In the News: "Wrecked"

Here's a story from the Belleville News-Democrat of IL.

And another from the Chicago Tribune.

Colleagues Mourn AZ Tow Truck Driver Killed Friday

Here's the story from The Arizona Republic:
by Jim Walsh - Aug. 5, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Jesse S. Gault of Gilbert died doing something he loved: helping other people. Jean Bunch was a nurse who devoted her career to helping children.

Gault, 44, a Navy veteran and longtime tow-truck driver, and Bunch, 56, a nurse at Phoenix Children's Hospital, died Friday in a crash on the Red Mountain Freeway in Mesa.

Gault had just finished changing Bunch's tire at about 10 a.m. when a truck driver, Albert J. Lorona, 31, of Yuma, plowed into the back of Gault's tow truck in the emergency lane. The force of the crash pushed the tow truck forward, running over Gault and Bunch as it slammed into Bunch's sport-utility vehicle, according to Sgt. Harold Sanders, a state Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Sanders said police have been unable to interview Lorona because of his condition and may never know exactly why he struck the back of Gault's tow truck in the westbound lanes near Gilbert Road because of short-term memory loss, a frequent problem for trauma victims.

After the tow truck hit the victims and the SUV, it veered across three lanes of traffic and hit the cable median barriers, preventing the truck from hitting the eastbound lanes.

Gault and Bunch were pronounced dead at the scene.

Tow-truck drivers are planning to memorialize Gault with a procession of tow trucks through the southeast Valley on Thursday night. Gault's casket will be loaded aboard a tow truck and taken to a funeral home for services, said Bryan Vivian, Gault's boss at Thompson's Auto Repair and Towing in Mesa.

"A perfect tow driver has to be willing to help. It was definitely in Jesse's blood," Vivian said. "I've had a couple of callers who called in to say how pleasant he was in providing service to them."

Bunch started as a clinical emergency-department nurse. She was reassigned in February to help the hospital move to computerized patient-treatment records.

Gault was a 20-year Navy veteran and his ashes will be spread at sea by the Navy as a tribute, Vivian said. Gault was the father of four children.

"That's what he loved in life. He loved his kids and he loved his work," Vivian said. "We were happy to get him. We will definitely miss him."

A memorial fund for Gault has been established at Wells Fargo Bank. Gault's viewing is at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Falconer Funeral Home, 251 W. Juniper Ave., Gilbert. Services are at 5 p.m. Thursday at the same location, with the procession to follow.

NH "Move Over" Law In Effect Today: Covers Tow Trucks

Here's The Eagle-Tribune story.

MA Towing Co. Under Investigation

Seems 11,000 lbs of lobster and seafood went missing after the recovery of an overturned tractor-trailer... Read the Worcester Telegram story here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Towing Story Is A Load of Bull

Yeah, literally! Seems Stepps Towing of FL was called to recover one large bull statue that had been stolen from a high school. Read the story here.

Texas Tow Act Story

Signed into law last year, the Texas Tow Act goes into effect on September 1. Read the story here.

Farewell, Friends

Our condolences to the family and friends of Mark Storer, the owner of Airport and Burien Towing of WA, and his youngest son Brian. They were killed last week in a floatplane accident. Read the story here.

"Wrecked" Rocks!

I don't know about you, but I'm lovin' the new SPEEDTV series "Wrecked"!
Here's a story I found about it today.

OH Tow Truck Driver Killed

Sad news... Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of the Columbus, OH tow truck driver, who worked for Fletcher's Towing. He was struck and killed on the side of the road early this morning. Read the WBNS 10TV report here.