Saturday, October 31, 2009

Australian Tow Truck Owner Shaken After Brakes Sabotaged

LIVES PUT AT RISK: Ballina tow truck operator Martin Bailey is stunned by the actions of those who sabotaged the brakes of a tow truck left parked outside his business premises. He says their actions could have caused a fatality if the brakes had failed out on the road.

Jay Cronan

Here's the story from the Northern Star:

SOMEONE knew what they were doing when they fiddled with the airbrakes on the tow truck parked outside Martin Bailey's office in Ballina.

The vandalism was discovered by Mr Bailey, an East Coast Group Tow Trucks director, on Tuesday afternoon when he returned from a holiday in Tasmania. He climbed into the truck to start it up and the back wheels locked. It could have been fatal if Mr Bailey had driven out on to the road.

“I could have killed someone,” he said.

The vandal tied a chain to a tree and hooked the chain to the hose of the truck's air brakes.

“They had to have known what they were doing. You'd have to be a truck driver,” he said.

Mr Bailey has been in business for 10 years and has never had anything like this happen before. He only just moved his business to Ballina and fences and surveillance cameras are yet to be installed.

“Someone doesn't like competition,” Mr Bailey said.

Inspector Mick Heap, of Lismore police, said it was 'absolutely disgraceful that someone would stoop so low to put other people's lives at risk'.

This type of planned vandalism is different to the rampage of damage last weekend to car yards in Lismore, including Pollard's Car Sales, City Toyota, Lismore Nissan and Trevan Ford.

A spokesman for the four car yards, who asked not to be named, said there was 'a two kilometre radius of damage'.

He was phoned by people who drove by and saw the damage to his cars.

“It's happening more often and the dealers are prepared to offer a reward for information,” he told The Northern Star.

He wants to see more police patrols on the streets of Lismore to prevent further damage.

“We have a number of cars working every shift and we do our best,” Inspector Heap said.

“The police are only as good as our witnesses.”

A police spokesman said damage reports in Lismore had decreased, with an average of 54 incidents a month this year, compared with 71 incidents in the same period last year.

Anyone who has information about car yard damage can call the Lismore police station on 6626 0599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Recover This!

Michael Schumacher /Amarillo Globe-News Wrecker driver Adam Hutchens ponders a way to remove a GMC Denali from a utility pole after a multivehicle accident Monday on Plains Boulevard near Western Street in which three people were injured. The sport utility vehicle was pulled off, and it slammed to the ground.

Here's the corresponding story from
Three motorists suffered non-life-threatening injuries Monday when one of their vehicles went airborne during an accident about 8 a.m. in the 3700 block of Plains Boulevard.

Amarillo police were working Monday to determine what caused an eastbound GMCNeufeld said. Denali to cross the center line and into the path of westbound vehicles, setting off the sequence of events, police Cpl. Jerry

Two vehicles were in the westbound lanes on Plains when the Denali began heading toward them. Joe Green, 71, of Amarillo, driving an Oldsmobile Alero, tried to avoid the Denali but the sport utility vehicle struck the Alero, pushing it into a Toyota Camry driven by Beth Lowery, 35, also of Amarillo. The Camry ended up in the right of way parallel to Plains .

After hitting the Alero, the Denali, driven by Augustine Doerue, 39, also of Amarillo, went airborne and came to rest nose up against a utility pole. Ronetta Mills was driving behind the Alero and Camry and watched the accident develop . She described the Denali as flipping end over end.

"I looked up (through my sunroof) and saw him going over the top of me," Mills said.

To keep motorists from the crash site, westbound traffic was diverted south from Plains onto Dixie Street and around the Has- tings warehouse, exiting on Plains at Sunset Center. Eastbound traffic was reduced to one lane on Plains for about two hours, reopening just after 10 a.m.

The three drivers involved in the accident were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Neufeld expects citations to be filed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Funnies

Old groaners, like some of us, but still good for a chuckle….

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain ; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did

Farewell, Friend

Pallbearers place a casket of the late Joseph L. Mancillas onto the back of his old tow truck following a rosary Friday morning at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Cloudcroft. The 63-year-old former owner of Cloudcroft Wrecker Service, who died Oct. 19, was remembered as a beloved member of the mountain community. (J.R. Oppenheim/Daily News)
Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 63-year-old Joe Mancillas of Cloudcroft, NM. Mancillas, who owned Cloudcroft Wrecking Service for more than 35 years, died on Sunday, Oct. 19, after a fall from a bucket truck while trimming trees.

Here's the Alamagordo Daily News story about a tribute to him:

Family, friends and business colleagues said their final goodbyes Friday to Cloudcroft businessman and community fixture Joseph L. Mancillas at a funeral service and Mass of the Resurrection.

A procession of tow trucks, fire engines, ambulances and fire rescue support vehicles to honor Mancillas streamed past closed businesses and government buildings along James Canyon Highway from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Mancillas passed away after he fell from his bucket truck while trimming pine trees on Swallow Place at a local business around 10 a.m. Sunday.

On Wednesday, Cloudcroft Police Chief Matt Flotte said it was determined to be an accidental death.

"He was utilizing his bucket truck to trim trees at a local business," Flotte said. "He fell out of the bucket and hit the ground."

At a funeral service conducted at First Assembly Worship in Alamogordo on Thursday, Mancillas was described as a friend and family man. He enjoyed hunting, horseback riding and dancing. He also would help anyone who needed his assistance.

Pastor David Crispin said Mancillas was a very attentive man.

"He was a very engaged man," Crispin said. "He stayed connected with people. He was a pleasant person to be around. Joe was a very resourceful person."

Mancillas owned Cloudcroft Wrecking Service for more than 35 years. He worked in construction, logging and owned a tree trimming business.

Village of Cloudcroft Volunteer Fire Chief Erich Wuersching said he knew Mancillas his whole life, but knew him closely for 25 years.

"Joe was very friendly," Wuersching said. "He would help a person with anything."

Wuersching said he remembers a time when tow trucks were called out at the same time as the fire department.

"Joe was always with us on calls and helping people," he said. "He always took care of people in their time of need. It wasn't really his job to help people. His job was to just drive the wrecker, but Joe helped out with the situation."

Wuersching said Mancillas was always a phone call away.

"If someone needed help, you just gave him a call," he said. "I remember many times, especially with the fire department, that Joe helped firefighters. He would go to any emergency incident."

Wuersching said Mancillas would help firefighters by pulling hoses and setting up equipment on structure fires.

He said he remembers Mancillas helping in a winter snowstorm sometime between 1991-92.

"Joe really should have been on the volunteer fire department," Wuersching said. "The power was knocked out during the winter snowstorm. Joe was all over the place pulling trees off of power lines and cutting up all kinds of stuff with his chainsaw. He was running around trying to get things fixed and roads open. Joe was just a guy trying to help out."

In each of the services commemorating Mancillas' life, the family thanked the people of Otero County for their outpouring of support and love in the family's unexpected loss.

Contact Duane Barbati at

Recovery After Plane Wreck in MI

A crew from McDonald's Towing raise a small single engine Beechcraft plane after it crashed at the end of Kalamazoo Battle Creek Airport runway in the parking lot of Great Lakes Aviation, 2422 E. Kilgore Road Tuesday afternoon. (Jonathon Gruenke / Kalamazoo Gazette)

Ortiz-Sorrenti Promoted To American Towman Publisher

American Towman President Steve Calitri announced he is promoting Dennie Ortiz Sorrenti to the position of Publisher. She becomes the sixth person to hold the title in the magazine's 33-year history.

Calitri said he is shifting himself away from the publisher's role to devote more time and focus on the day to day editing responsibilities as editor in chief, a post he has held for the past 22 years.

"Dennie is dedicated to American Towman and the towing industry," said Calitri. "She is a detail-oriented professional who has always shown great care in oversight of the magazine product."

Ms. Ortiz-Sorrenti started with American Towman as AT Exposition's events coordinator in 1997, from which she rose to the position of Vice President of Communications. In these roles she was involved with both magazine and show promotion, including graphic design and page layout, utilizing her desktop publishing skills. She moved to magazine advertising sales in 2006 and became Advertising Sales Manager in February of 2008. A passionate industry participant, Ortiz-Sorrenti took towing and recovery training earlier this year and became WreckMaster certified. She is also a member of WTRAA.

"While Dennie will continue to work with select advertising clients," said Calitri, "she will also have oversight on magazine readership goals and processes as well as magazine marketing. She will also weigh in on American Towman's editorial direction as well as the layout and design of the magazine."

As editor-in-chief, Calitri, will continue to write feature articles and his lead Low Down column, while working with a nucleus of experienced field editors, including Randall Resch and Terry Abejuela (Operations), and Bill Simmons (Safety). Jim Sorrenti, who has left the editor's post to pursue other interests, will continue to contribute recovery-related articles.

WA Tow Company Accused Of Offering Incentives For Impounds

Here's the story from
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. -- Some businesses claim a tow company offered them rewards in exchange for impounds.

Businesses say they were offered gift cards for coffee, spa day, discount chains and gasoline all in exchange for a vehicle they could impound.

Apartment managers and towing competitors say not only is it wrong, they think it's down right predatory.

"It's unethical. It's wrong. It's not how I was raised," said Jennifer Bart on of Greenview Apartments.

Barton says a driver for Shannon Towing, Inc. drove by Greenview Apartments in Mountlake Terrace and left her with a flier.

The flier stated Barton could earn gift cards if she would call Shannon Towing with impounds. The more impounds she requested, the more she could make in gift cards, it said.

Three impounds would buy her a $50 gift card to her favorite coffee shop or nail salon. Nine impounds would earn her $250 in gift cards for anything, from gasoline to her favorite discount store, according to the flier.

"It just seemed unethical. Here -- you have this many cars towed, and we'll give you this as a present?" said Barton.

"You can't compete with that," said Tina Beck, who owns Mary's Towing in Everett.

Beck contacted KOMO News when she started losing clients to Shannon Towing in Lynnwood.

"We've definitely had to go in and talk with managers who are considering something like this and convince them our customer service speaks for itself," she said.

Beck said she found out about Shannon Towing's deal when two of her clients wrote her, skeptical of the offer.

"I don't think it's right," said Rolfe Johnson, former president of the state's Towing & Recovery Association.

The interest organization believes state laws prohibit monetary incentives and strongly discourages its members from offering such plans. At best, Johnson calls Shannon's practice an "unfair business practice."

At Shannon Towing, a representative denied having ever seen the flier, even though its name is clearly printed on the piece of paper.

"I've never seen one of these," said a Shannon Towing employee named "Brandt," who described himself as the "main guy" in the office. Brandt refused to provide his surname.

When asked how that was possible given that four different managers told KOMO News Shannon drivers had approached them with the fliers, Brandt said, "I have no idea."

Brandt said no one on his staff is responsible for the flier, and said a competitor may be behind the work.

One of the company's drivers seen hanging "Shannon-Towing-Away-Zone" signs in a local strip mall also swore he knows nothing.

"No, not off hand," he said. The driver added he'd never before seen the flier.

But another apartment manager said a driver for Shannon Towing on Wednesday offered her the same deal Barton was presented with.

In Johnson's eyes, something doesn't add up.

"We believe this is highly questionable. We think this should be directed to WSP (Washington State Patrol)." he said.

In a written statement, Towing & Recovery Association of Washington's Director Mike Walcker urged Washington State Patrol to fully investigate.

And state patrol agrees an inquiry is necessary.

"This doesn't smell right," said Capt. Jeff DeVere.

WSP, which oversees towing companies, has asked prosecutors to review the case and determine whether the reward program violates state law.

The agency, as well as KOMO News, will report on the findings of their work.

Anyone with concerns about a towed car can challenged the impound in court.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everyday MA Tow Heroes: Statewide Towing Association

Way to go!

The Statewide Towing Association (STA) for several years has designated the Shriners as one of its charitable causes. For many years, the STA has held their Holiday membership meeting in the western region of the state, highlighted by the “Parade of Lights” procession of tow trucks to the hospital. All participants in the tow truck procession made free will donations to benefit the hospital.

The STA holds an annual trade show event to provide its members as well as towers throughout the Northeast, an opportunity to participate in valuable seminars, observe “real life” demonstrations, see the latest in towing equipments and accessories as well as network with their peers. The association is the second oldest in the nation, second only to California. Having learned of the financial status of the Melha Temple, the group decided to organize a fund raising effort during this years annual Tow Show in Chicopee (Oktowberfest) held on October 2-4, 2009. To participate in the procession, drivers were simply asked to make a donation. During the Saturday evening banquet, one of our members, Winn Street Sales & Service from Burlington, MA, presented a challenge to the group; he would match any donations up to $5000.00! Well that is all it took, towers reached deep into their pockets and by the end of the tow truck procession a total of $10,479.00 was raised to help the Temple.

STA Past President John Borowski explained that the hospital needs the Temple to be there to help keep the hospitals open. “This has been an outstanding show of generosity on behalf of the towers and I am proud to not only be a tower but also a Shriner”, Borowski said. STA President William E. Johnson said, “ The towers in this state work hard everyday to keep the roadways open and see many things that sometimes are very painful to families and children, this is definitely their way of giving back to people who are in need. I couldn’t be more proud of my industry and Statewide Towing Association.

STA President, William E Johnson and STA Past President, John Borowski made a formal presentation of the check to the Melha Temple on Longhill St. Springfield during a press conference on October 9, 2009.


Statewide Towing Association was formed in 1970 to educate and bring professionalism to the industry. STA started doing trade shows in 1972. This association has become one of the strongest in the nation. STA continually safeguards towers and the motoring public by working with the Commonwealth on regulated pricing and legislation.

Updated Story On The Lucky Aussie Tow Truck Driver

Here's the update from the Geelong Advertiser:

A TOW truck driver escaped with his life after his vehicle veered off the Princes Highway and down a steep embankment.

Police said the 26-year-old was driving at 95km/h on the Geelong-bound lanes when his brakes failed about 1.30pm, near Lara.

The truck was towing two 4WDs, one of which rolled off the back off the truck and landed on its side.

The driver, who did not want to be named, said a passerby helped him out of the truck.

The Clayton man said he was in shock after the accident but did not sustain any serious injuries.

"I was driving in the middle lane and then when I put the brakes on to slow down a little bit it's got out of control and crashed down," he said.

"It was scary because I couldn't do anything. The brakes just locked."

Skid marks could be seen on the Geelong-bound lanes with debris scattered across the median strip after the truck crashed through a barrier and came to rest between thick bushes.

A brand new Land Rover Discovery rolled off the truck with its tyre coming loose while the impact flipped the other 4WD, a Mitsubishi Pajero, on to its side.

Lara police Sergeant Steve Burgess said speed was not considered a factor in the accident and it was believed there was a mechanical failure with the brakes. He said a serious multi-vehicle smash was narrowly avoided with heavy traffic on both sides of the highway

"He is very lucky he didn't end up on the other side of the road," Sgt Burgess said.

Traffic slowed in Geelong an Melbourne-bound lanes as people took a closer look, some pulling their cars over to take a photo of the crash site.

Anyone who saw the crash is urged to phone Lara police on 5282 1241.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TN Tow Truck Driver Killed

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Eddy McCreery who was killed on Thursday, Oct. 22, by an alleged drunk driver while he was working to tow his daughter's car from the side of the road. Here's the WZTV Fox 17 story:

The family of the tow truck driver killed on Interstate-40 by an alleged drunk driver late Thursday night is preparing for his funeral tomorrow.

Hundreds of people have come from across the country to bid farewell to Eddy McCreery.

Tonight, the daughter who shared his last moments with him says she's outraged that her father's death could have easily been avoided.

Faith McCreery says, "A lot of pictures going through my head with everything. It's been really hard."

20 year old Faith McCreery can't stop thinking about her final moments with her father.

Eddy McCreary, a tow truck driver, was loading her broken down car onto his flatbed truck just before midnight Thursday when he was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver.

Faith says, "The people that were right behind the girl that hit him-- they stopped immediately and started screaming for me because I was on the other side of the truck and.. I didn't know what to do and all I did was just run over to him and I just laid with him. I just laid there."

Police say Katrina Cornwell struck McCreary and drove off.

She was arrested about an hour and a half later.

She admitted to police that she was drinking.

Faith says, "That outrages me. It really does. And the fact that she's out right now, it really baffles me."

Cornwell paid 6,000 dollars-- ten percent of her bond-- and was released hours later.

But for the McCreery family, the tragedy of that night has changed their lives forever.

Eddy's wife Deena McCreery says, "To not be able to see him-- for him to come home at night and say, 'Baby, how was your day?' or 'I love you'... I don't get that chance anymore. And for her to be home with her family aggravates me very badly."

And perhaps one of the most frustrating things for the McCreery family is how easily this tragedy could have been avoided.

One bad decision took the man they say had the best personality, was a jokester and was known to help anyone.

Deena says, "Be responsible that you are not going to take the chance of taking someone's life like she took my husband."

Faith says, "Call a friend, have a responsible designated driver."

Eddy was a member of the Iron Order motorcycle club.

Hundreds of those riders, wrecker truck drivers, friends and family members will lead a procession beginning at 4:30 downtown Monday afternoon.

It will end at Phillip Robinson Funeral Home on Gallatin pike for his visitation and memorial service.

TRAA Honors FleetNet's Williams With Citizenship Award

TRAA Honors FleetNet's Williams With Citizenship Award

The Towing and Recovery Association of America has honored James Williams, Sr., director of vendor relations for FleetNet America, with its National Citizenship Award. The award recognizes those who contribute to the towing and recovery industry through good citizenship, legislative action and commitment to enhancement of the profession.

Williams accepted the award during the association's annual meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Sept. 18.

TRAA was founded in 1979 in Kansas City, Mo., and is now headquartered in Alexandria, Va. The group is the umbrella trade association and voice of the towing and recovery industry, which is estimated to include more than 35,000 towing businesses in the U.S.

FleetNet America, Cherryville, N.C., is a third-party vendor management company that coordinates emergency roadside services and maintenance management services for commercial equipment. FleetNet America provides maintenance management by managing vendors and the maintenance process through specific customer requirements in its Roadside and TMcare programs. Through the FleetNet Select Towing and Recovery Program, FleetNet's customers have nationwide access to preferential towing and recovery providers.

Lucky Aussie Tow Truck Driver

Here's the brief from the Geelong Advertiser:

A 26-year-old man is lucky to be alive after his tow-truck veered off the Princes Highway, falling down a steep embankment north of Geelong.

Police said he was driving at 95km/h when his brakes failed about 1.30pm.

The truck was towing two 4WDs, one which has rolled off the back off the truck and landed on its side.

A passer-by helped the driver out of the truck.

The driver sustained no serious injuries.

WA Horse Rescued By Tow Truck After Hours In The Mud

Here's the story from the Nisqually Valley News:

By Megan Hansen
Nisqually Valley News
Published: Friday, October 16, 2009 3:39 PM PDT
Rescuers weren’t horsing around Saturday when it came to helping Dare, a 7-year-old gelding who got stuck in mud up to his neck.

Crews from South Pierce Fire and Rescue, Gene’s Towing, Tacoma Equine Hospital and Pierce County Animal Control spent nearly five hours working together to save the horse.

Dare got stuck in a muddy ditch around noon Saturday on 341st Street East in Eatonville.

The more he struggled, the more he got stuck.

Deputy Chief Chris Grant was off duty at the time, but went to the incident after hearing a request for rescue equipment.

The only way to do it safely was to do a vertical lift, Grant said.

He’s worked with tow trucks in the past and knew they were capable of performing a vertical lift so he called dispatch to request a tow company.

Michael Myers, owner of Gene’s Towing arrived with a Class C tow truck to assist.

Before the horse could be removed, he had to be dug out at least to his stomach so harness straps could be fitted around him.

Veterinarian Meg deGravelles sedated Dare while firefighters gave him oxygen.

Once Dare was freed enough to attach a harness, rescuers used the tow truck to lift him out of the mud.

Crews checked for injuries and started Dare on an IV.

He was fine, Grant said.

The next day Dare’s owner told Grant he was doing just fine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Singapore Tow Truck Driver Injured In Crash

Hope this tow truck driver recovers quickly. Here's the story from
SINGAPORE: An accident, involving three vehicles along Lornie Road, caused a slight traffic jam on Tuesday around 3.40pm.

A 51-year-old man was trapped in his vehicle after his tow truck collided with a lorry. Civil Defence officers took 15 minutes to extricate him.

He suffered cuts on his legs and was brought to Changi General Hospital. Other than the tow truck driver, no one else was hurt.

A taxi, however, was hit by the debris from the vehicles as a result of the collision.

Update on VA Tower Who Crashed Into House

Here's the story:

NORFOLK--- The driver who lost control of his AAA tow truck and smashed into a Norfolk duplex Saturday night is out of the ICU.

36-year-old Mark Davis is out of ICU and is in good condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Doctors are unsure why he apparently blacked out and lost control of the tow truck, said AAA spokeswoman Georjeane Blumling.

AAA is working with its insurance company to compensate the owner of the duplex, located at the corner of Elkhorn Avenue and W. 38th Street.

No one was home at the time of the crash.

Tow Truck Smashes Into VA House

Here's the story from the Virginian-Pilot:


After attending a funeral on Saturday, James Fennell stopped at his house in Lamberts Point to change clothes.

He put the Shih Tzu he got a week ago into a crate, moved the dog from the den to another room and left, maybe around 7 p.m.

About an hour later, a flatbed tow truck smashed through the side wall of the house at 38th Street and Elkhorn Avenue, stopping in the middle of the den.

Frantic family members wondered if Fennell was inside. He rushed back when his aunt called him to tell him a truck was sitting in the house he rents. He was so nervous he got sick.

“Right where that truck is is where I sleep at,” Fennell said Saturday night as he stared at the wreckage . “I’m just speechless.”

The truck driver was headed south on Elkhorn, went up a curb and into a yard, then went through the intersection, into Fennell’s yard, and into his house.

Firefighters loaded the driver into an ambulance to take him to a hospital. His name and condition were not available.

They got the dog out OK.

Police are investigating what caused the driver to crash. They did not immediately release any information.

Fennell does not have renter’s insurance. He planned to stay with family while he figured out what would happen to the house.

Fennell has lived there for about four years. With the truck planted smack inside the den, it was easy to consider how it could have been much worse.

“I had left like 30 or 40 minutes ago,” he said. “I had just left.”

Updated Story on Death of CA Tow Truck Driver

Here's an update to the Morgan Hill Observer story of Tony Librers, who died on Sunday, Oct. 18.

As more details come out about the shooting death of Anthony William Librers last weekend, family and friends of the lifelong Morgan Hill resident respond in shock.

According to Sgt. A.J. Ford with the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a cabin in a remote area near the town of Jupiter at 2:47am on Oct. 17, where Librers and his friends were celebrating a bachelor party over the weekend.

“There was several witnesses there that were tending to Mr. Librers when we got there,” Ford said. “He was laying, bleeding from the head area. He was still alive, in a sense. He was breathing.”

Librers was transported to Sonora Regional Medical Center where he was put on life support before being flown to the Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Modesto. He died on Sunday.

Ryan Groshong, who played in a band with Librers and says he was his best friend, was one of four witnesses on the scene when the incident occurred. He said they grew up in East Morgan Hill together, and had been friends since they were both 12 years old.

“It was my bachelor party,” Groshong said, his voice breaking. “Basically, most everybody had gone to sleep, and me and Tony were out there with our friend Justin who plays drums in our band, and our other friend… I was standing right there. I heard the gun go off next to my head, and I looked back, and Tony’s on the ground.”

Sgt. Ford said that all of the 10 people on the scene were interviewed extensively during the police investigation, and that it was determined that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.

“Based on the investigation that was done, the position of the handgun that was there, how the wound looked, witnesses interviewed, and the scene. Based on all of that, I can tell you that in no way shape or form is their foul play suspected in this case,” Ford said.

Groshong said he and Librers had formed a punk band with two other friends last year. The band was scheduled to play the Mission Ale House in downtown San Jose on Nov. 13, according to their Myspace profile. Anthony Librers’ personal Myspace profile, titled “The Most Interesting Man In The World” (a nod to a beer ad campaign), still lists his mood as “Intense.”

Groshong said that Librers had had a history of depression, but that he had seemed to be doing better lately. He said everybody at his bachelor’s party had been celebrating and drinking that night.

“I knew he had issues with depression in the past, a long time ago. But lately, especially since we started the band together for real, his sprits seemed to be getting constantly better and better,” said Groshong. “I mean, I thought he was at a really happy point in his life, and I was really proud of him for pulling out of his depression. That’s why this is just so bizarre and shocking to everybody. I would have never thought that anything like this would have happened right now.”

Ford said that one of the witnesses had told the police during their interview that Librers had been put under a 72-hour psychiatric hold approximately a year ago, after he had made statements that he was suffering from depression and indicated that he might be a danger to himself.

The shooting came as a shock to everyone on the scene, Ford said. Groshong said that the Librers family has been devastated since the news of Anthony’s death.

“I spent a lot of time with them the other day, and I suppose they’re taking it well considering the circumstances. It’s not easy for anybody, especially his parents and his family. I mean, the man had three daughters,” he said.

As of now, the Sheriffs Department does not know if Librers shooting was accidental or intentional, Ford said.

“As far as when he was up here, they were very surprised, and said that he would have never done anything on purpose, not in this state of mind and at the bachelor party,” Ford said. “There was no notes or messages found later anywhere that would indicate he was suicidal.”

Ford said it’s possibile that the gun fired even though the clip had been removed.

“It is possible, especially for that type of gun, a Beretta 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun, for the clip to be out of it and there still be one round in the chamber, and if fired, for it to go off,” Ford said. “Other guns, if you drop the clip out, regardless of whether there is a round in the chamber or not, it wont fire. But, this particular gun will.”

Ford was unable to confirm whether the gun was found on the scene with a clip removed or not.

Groshong said that he too was unsure whether Librers’ death was an accident or not.

“I don’t think anybody will know for sure, if this was an accident or if this was…,” Groshong said, his voice breaking off again. “I mean, obviously, this was self-inflicted, but I don’t know his intentions. I don’t know if he was joking around and he didn’t know that there was a bullet in the gun, or if he had been planning this.”

Groshong says that his Halloween-themed wedding is still scheduled for Oct. 31. “I don’t know how we’re going to go through with it, but we are going to go through with it,” he said. “He was my best friend, and I’m completely devastated right now.”

“I just know that he had a huge heart and was a very sensitive person. I know he loved his friends, and he loved his family, and most of all, he loved his daughters so much.”

A funeral for Librers is scheduled to take place at Johnson Funeral Home in Morgan Hill at 5pm on Oct. 25, with a Rosary at 7pm. St. Catherine Parish will hold a funeral mass on Oct. 26, with an interment to follow at Mt. Hope Memorial Park in Morgan Hill.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 31-year-old CA tow truck driver Tony Librers. Librers, who died from a possibly self-inflicted gun wound on Sunday, Oct. 18, worked for Ponzini's Towing in Morgan Hill. He leaves behind three daughters.

Here's the story from the Morgan Hill Observer:

Anthony William Librers of Morgan Hill, a tow truck driver, was shot early Saturday morning and was on life support on Saturday, according to a family member. Known as Tony, he is the son of Joseph Librers and Elizabeth Westphal and the brother of Joseph A. Librers.

“We are devastated by this,” said Morgan Hill councilmember Marilyn Librers, who was Tony’s stepmother when he was young. She said he passed away Sunday morning.

Librers suffered a gun wound in the Central Valley early Saturday morning, according to stepbrother Tim Hennessey. Librers, who was 31 years old, has worked for Ponzini's Towing in Morgan Hill for about a decade and wanted to become a California Highway Patrol officer.

“He was always trying ot help other people. He was fearless,” Hennessey said. “He didn’t have a mean bone in his body.”

Librers has three girls, the oldest of whom is 12. “He just enjoyed doing his thing: driving a tow truck, playing with his kids and trying to become a law enforcement officer,” Hennessey said.

A spokesman for the Modesto Police Department, even after checking with county law enforcement officials, had no information about the shooting, which reportedly occurred near the city limits.

Updated October 18, 11:32pm.


October 20, 2009

The Gilroy Dispatch reported on Tuesday that Librers’ death occured as a result of his “accidentally shooting himself with a handgun during a camping trip.”

The newspaper quoted the victim’s father, Joseph Librers, as saying the shooting occured in Tuolumne County, east of Stockton.

"They were having a party around a campfire. Tony had a handgun and it went off accidentally. He had the clip out of it but he didn't clear the chamber," Librers told the Dispatch.

Houston Tow Truck Driver Saves Motorist From Burning Vehicle

Kudos to this unnamed tow truck driver! Here's the story from
HOUSTON –A wrecker driver saved one man’s life after he pulled the man from a burning car in northeast Harris County on Saturday.

It happened on Mount Houston at Sheridan.

Police said around 3 a.m., one driver was stopped at a stop sign on Mount Houston. After he attempted to continue, police said another car T-boned him, sending both cars into a ditch.

The driver of the first car hit an electrical wooden pole and burst into flames.

Police said a tow truck driver on the scene sprang into action and rescued the man from the burning car.

Both drivers were transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Are you a fan of Footnotes on Facebook yet?

Footnotes On Facebook. Face it, folks, Facebook is a fact! Become a fan and friend of Footnotes. Simply log on to Facebook ( or your existing Facebook page and type “Towing & Recovery Footnotes” into the “Search” box. Then make us a “Favorite” on your computer and come back often! You can do a lot on Facebook: post photos of your trucks and recoveries, sell or buy a truck, send letters to the editor, suggest story ideas, offer opinions on industry issues, and more. See you there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Interesting Profile of A Mom-n-Son Tow Biz in CA

Here's the column by John Bogert from the

Charlene Gowers is a lot of things, daughter of an English stage actress, former spouse of Emmy Award-winning "American Idol" director Bruce Gowers, Westside soccer mom, provider of housing for the poor and - of late - tow truck driver.

Naturally, with a wonderfully detailed arm-covering angel tattoo and one of those khaki shirts highlighted with reflecting tape and a nicely embroidered "Charlene" over a breast pocket.

Which is why I didn't notice her when we met for lunch in Hermosa Beach a few weeks ago. Not that I was surprised, because Charlene is absolutely unique, a regular surprise package.

She's also warm, funny, big-hearted and one of those rare individuals who came into this world lacking that horrible little voice, you know, the one that's always telling us what we SHOULD be doing.

Which has made it so this single mother of a now-grown son could always go exactly where life leads her.

When I met Charlene 15 years ago, she had just left commercial real estate. But she was still, with the business suits and flowing blond locks, the very picture of the Westside mommy down to playing on a softball team and coaching Little League.

And here she was buying up crack houses in South Central, abandoned 1950s-era motels badly in need of a good bulldozing.

Only Charlene saw something far different.

Buying and selling properties in that neighborhood had put her in direct contact with the people who live

there, with the working families living in cars and the kids who spend nights in boxes and in terror.

Probably because she didn't know that people like her didn't help people that actually couldn't be helped, she set out to do just that. She quickly bought five of these pathetic wrecks - rehabbing, fencing and bringing in solid managers - and making it so several dozen needy families could have a decent and safe place to live for $200 a month.

Later she'd sell these places to like-

minded managers and buy the massive and massively rundown, 300-room Ford Hotel, a downtown L.A. flophouse that she likewise converted to a nonprofit second chance for the working poor.

This she ran for five years, dealing daily with the often messy lives of her tenants until she was more or less forced out by a city that had different plans for the old structure.

I met her down there once, the tall blonde with the big smile who can be absolutely hilarious one second and all business the next, even facing down the LAPD at one point when she thought that a women in her care was getting a raw deal.

Through all this she remained the devoted single mother watching as her son's promising Santa Monica High School baseball career ended in injury then taking him seriously when, at age 18 in 2002, he asked her to help him buy - of all things - a tow truck.

"The only reason I wanted to go to college was to play baseball. When that dream ended and I found out that my girlfriend was expecting, I got a job in a mechanic's shop, where I saw them getting $80 to tow a car. And I was doing the towing!" said now 25-year-old Sean, who has, with the help of his mother, been raising 6-year-old Sean Jr. at their El Segundo home.

Where many parents might insist on college, Charlene went along with the tow truck idea, telling her 6-foot-4-inch son, "I'll give you this opportunity and if you fail, you fail."

Only Sean didn't fail. What he did was hustle his old wreck of a truck all over town. He hit up garage owners, repo outfits and auto dealerships for work, regularly charging a local Audi franchise $700 for killer 18-hour, round-trip delivery trips to the Bay Area. Once enduring an eight-hour traffic jam to get a ridiculously expensive car to Barry Bonds, his boyhood hero, who opened the door with a truly Bondian, "What took you so damn long?"

As business grew, Charlene started coming in to do the books. Soon they were plowing money back into a thriving firm that Sean built with a one-line philosophy: "Never say no to a job and always be on time."

Their SouthSide Tow Service now has 13 bright new trucks (including flatbeds and big rigs used to tow other big rigs) and eight full-time drivers, with Charlene driving - actually preferring to drive - when things get hectic.

At their Culver City location (they have a second shop near downtown) on Thursday the phones never stopped ringing, a happy situation propelled along by calls from the California Highway Patrol, from a host of body shops and from inclusion in car manufacturer roadside service plans.

This as Sean's friends pay back student loans and (as he put it) wait for something to happen in their lives.

"I really feel like I'm doing exactly what I should be doing," he said, as his cell phone explodes in his shirt pocket. "There is no better feeling than getting a call and being on my way knowing that a freeway is shut down or somebody is trapped until I get there. Plus, I know that I am good at what I do and that I learned everything I know on my own and with the help of my mom."

Charlene, meanwhile, is pleased and a little bit surprised that her $10,000 investment has became a thriving business.

"Listen to the phones," she said, as the things blasted away. "There is always something happening. And it's exciting to know that the movement of an entire city sometimes depends on our being there. Plus, I'm proud of Sean for what he has accomplished."

There is, of course, a downside to running a company that runs around-the-

clock, seven days per week with mother and son juggling the child-rearing and school drop-offs.

"I've had guns pulled on me on impounds and that's scary. It's also part of the job," Sean said. "But the other side of the coin is when I pull up next to somebody who has broken down in the dead of night. The look on their faces, like I have come to the rescue, is such a thrill. It's worth absolutely everything."

I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at

Driving Defensively In CA

Here's the story from the Auburn Journal:

By about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Mike Sanders was driving out to his sixth tow call in five hours.

Sanders, a tow truck operator for Foresthill Towing in Auburn, was on Interstate 80 with his wrecker to pull out Sue Smead’s Ford F-250 pickup, which had spun out on an onramp and was facing oncoming traffic.

“It’s a little bit higher,” Sanders said of the volume of calls he’s received Tuesday.

Sanders and Smead were not alone in their roadway troubles.

A storm that brought heavy wind and rain caused multiple roadway accidents and spinouts that kept emergency responders and road crews busy all day.

“I think people need to realize that you can’t necessarily drive the speed limit when it’s pouring down rain like this,” said Officer David Martinez, CHP spokesman. “This is by far one of the worst days of the year.”

Martinez said oil that’s been layering on the roadways during the dry months is now making roads extra slick with the heavy downpour.

Martinez said officers responded to multiple calls of vehicles spinouts and fender benders.

Smead’s accident was one of several spinouts that littered roadway shoulders.

The Christian Valley resident said she was driving “very slowly and very carefully” down the Interstate 80 onramp from Elm Avenue when the back end of her truck started to fishtail.

“I made the curve very slowly and it totally spun out,” Smead said. “I was shocked. It was surreal.”

Despite spinning around several times and hitting a concrete wall, Smead escaped without any injuries. Her truck, however, needed to be towed.

As Sanders connected Smead’s truck to his wrecker, big rigs roared by and cars and trucks whizzed past. Sanders said he always keeps an eye on the road when he’s working.

“Really the main thing in a situation like this is to watch your back, especially on the freeway,” Sanders said. “You never take your back away from the traffic.”

Roadway collisions, creek crashes

Emergency responders were inundated with accident calls and reports of downed power lines and trees.

At about 2:30 p.m. five cars collided on Interstate 80 near Horseshoe Bar Road in Loomis. One patient was transported via ambulance for minor injures while others were driven to a nearby park and ride to clear from the scene, Martinez said. Cars were immediately moved to the side of the road following the accident.

At about 3 p.m. on Highway 49 and Lonestar Road, a group of people escaped their sinking car after it ran off the road and landed in a creek. No injuries were reported, Martinez said.

Watch out on Wednesday

Martinez reminded residents to take their time Wednesday when driving on local roadways. While the storm is expected to diminish in strength, road conditions will still be problematic.

Drivers should put more space between themselves and the car in front of them, Martinez added.

“You’ve got to drive defensibly in these types of weather conditions,” Martinez said. “Don’t be in a rush (Wednesday). Just take your time.”

Jenifer Gee can be reached at

Fleet Sales West Appoints Meyers

Fleet Sales West has announced the appointment of Douglas Meyers as Sales Representative for Oregon and Southern Washington. Meyers brings a successful 30+ year track record of sales of new, used and trade-in appraisal experience in truck trailers and towing equipment sales which is uniquely tempered with an in-depth operations management background.

Canadian Tow-Truck Driver Killed At Job Site

Our condolences to this as-of-yet unnamed tow truck operator who died on Friday, Oct. 9, while unloading a vehicle.
Here's the Winnipeg Sun story:

WINNIPEG -- A tow-truck driver was killed Friday night in northern Manitoba after he was apparently pinned between his flatbed truck and the vehicle he was unloading.

The incident occurred at the towing company's yard in The Pas, Man. RCMP were contacted shortly before 7 p.m. after family members found the 49-year-old dead at the site.

The man was owner/operator of the tow truck, police said. RCMP said an investigation is in its early stages.

Foul play is not suspected. An autopsy has been ordered.

Be a Towing Twit!

Footnotes is on Twitter, too! Sign up and follow us today at!

Have you become a fan of Footnotes on Facebook yet?

Face it, folks, Facebook is a fact! Become a fan and friend of Footnotes. Simply log on to Facebook ( or your existing Facebook page and type “Towing & Recovery Footnotes” into the “Search” box. Then make us a “Favorite” on your computer and come back often! You can do a lot on Facebook: post photos of your trucks and recoveries, sell or buy a truck, send letters to the editor, suggest story ideas, offer opinions on industry issues, and more. See you there!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Everyday ME Tow Hero Recognized

COURTESY PHOTO Jack Lowe, center, of Jack’s Towing, is honored by York police. From left, Sgt. Brian Curtin; Lt. Charles Szeniawski; Police Chief Douglas Bracy; Detective Matthew Calcina and Patrolman Scott Randall.
Kudos to the York Police Department's "go-to" guy Jack Lowe of Jack's Towing! Here's the story:

YORK — On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the York Police Department held a luncheon for Jack Lowe, owner of Jack's Towing in York, and presented him with a plaque of appreciation for his dedication to the police department and Town of York over the years.

Lowe has always been there when others are in need. Serving on the York Volunteer Fire Department, he is many times first on the scene of accidents and tragedies in the western end of York, letting responding agencies know what is needed. Aside from his duties involved in his towing company, he will help out officers at the scene by directing traffic and also helps the department's accident re-constructionists with equipment and measurements. Lowe helped pick up the 80-kilowatt generator that was donated last year by the York County Sheriff's Department.

He also stepped to the plate years ago when York badly needed a voter antenna to help emergency service providers communicate in the Route 91 area. The town was able to locate one of the town's four voter antennae sites at no cost. Again, when the department needed help building portable firearm target stands, Lowe was the go-to guy and was instrumental in helping to fabricate them.

Many of the department's officers attended the luncheon to say thanks. Lowe is simply a guy who just keeps on giving and never asks anything in return.

Future of TX's "Safe-Clear" Program Still Uncertain

Here's the story from

HOUSTON—A move to extend the city’s Safe-Clear program has hit a snag. On Wednesday, Houston City Council members decided to delay voting on a possible contract extension for the service for at least a week.

Council Member Jarvis Johnson raised a couple of concerns about a possible 5-year extension. He wants to make sure minority and women-owned businesses are fairly represented in the service.

Johnson said he’s also concerned about whether wrecker companies are playing nice with each other.

Some wreckers have complained that other tow truck drivers are infringing on their territory and stealing their business. Johnson said the new contract doesn’t even address the issue.

Johnson said Safe-Clear is a good program, but these issues need to be worked out before moving forward.

Safe-Clear gives certain towing companies the exclusive rights to clear disabled vehicles off the freeways during rush hour. Mayor Bill White has already touted the program’s success for reducing accidents and commute times.

The city’s current contract runs through next June. (Watch the news video here.)

Arrow's "Back On The Road" 2010 Campaign

Arrow Truck Sales has announced the launch of Arrow’s Back On The RoadTM 2010 campaign, presented by Volvo Trucks North America. Now in its third year, Back On The RoadTM is an initiative designed to benefit a deserving trucker in need of a truck and a job. The 2010 campaign will also consider nominations from truckers who, consistently and unselfishly, help others in need or otherwise support the trucking industry. Country music star, Aaron Tippin, plans to return as celebrity spokesman for the 2010 campaign. A former truck driver himself, Tippin will, once again, play an active role throughout Back On The RoadTM, including participation on the winner selection committee. Tippin’s latest album, In Overdrive, is dedicated to classic trucker songs. “I’m honored to continue working in support of the American trucker,” said Tippin. “The Back On The Road program goes to the heart of the trucking world to provide assistance in this most personal way.” Arrow is currently soliciting stories from truckers across the nation who may have lost their truck - and their livelihood - through unfortunate circumstances beyond their control. Arrow is also accepting nominations, based upon stories of truckers who put others before themselves. The trucker whose story is selected will receive a 2007 Volvo VNL670, courtesy of Volvo Trucks North America, a one-year work agreement with Heartland Express, and other great products and services.

Learn more at

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 42-year-old FL tow truck driver Ronnie Sites who passed away on Oct. 4 at his home in Yulee. Here's a story from

YULEE, FL -- A funeral Wednesday shows the effect one person can have on the lives of others.

Ronnie Sites was laid to rest, but his family is not alone.

According to friend Tyson Lee, "He was just one of those people that had a heart of gold. He would just stop and help people."

Sites drove a tow truck, and friends are quick to say he was anywhere someone was in need.

"If he seen somebody he even thought needed help, he was there for them," says his brother Brian Males, who added, 'Every man dies, but not every man lives. Ronnie lived."

Many people turned out for the funeral, and all said similar things about their friend.

Sites' family asks that in lieu of flowers, they would prefer a donation to the Ronald Sites Educational Fund. Donations will be accepted at any First Coast Community Bank branch.

And his obituary:

Ronnie Sites, 42, beloved husband of Monica and devoted father of Dillon, passed away at his residence on October 4, 2009. He was born in St. Petersburg, FL and moved to Yulee in 1990 from Callahan. Ronnie was a member of the 1986 graduating class of West Nassau High School. He was a junior varsity and varsity player for the Warriors. He was a member of the Nassau River Hunting Club and has been involved with all aspects of The Yulee Little League for the past nine years. He is a loving husband and devoted father, and an outstanding loyal friend. His generosity knew no bounds. Ronnie was a life-long devoted Gator Fan and a NASCAR fan. He was a prankster and could always make his wife, Monica, laugh. He was greatly loved by an infinite number of friends. He was predeceased by his mother, Janice Sites, his father, John Males and sister, Brenda Sites. Survivors include his wife, Monica Sites, of Yulee, FL; a son, Dillon Sites, also of Yulee; his mother, Lorraine Males; mother in law, Wanda Nixon; three brothers, Brian Males (Donna), Richard James and George James; two sisters, Barbara Terrell (David) and Lori King (Brian); and numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, October 8, at The River of Praise Worship Center, 83410 St. Mark Dr. in Yulee. Interment will follow in Jones Cemetery in Callahan. The family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at Green Pine Funeral Home. Condolence messages may be left at . In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial donations be made the Ronald Sites Educational Fund for Ronnie's son at any First Coast Community Bank branch. Arrangements by Green Pine Funeral Home.

MA Tow Truck Crashes, Driver Killed

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances 52-year-old tow truck driver, Joseph Gaultier of Easton, MA who died on Oct. 8 when his truck struck another vehicle and rolled several times.
Here's a story from The Patriot Ledger:

A tow truck driver was killed Thursday night when his loaded truck struck another vehicle in the breakdown lane of Interstate 495 and rolled over several times before striking a bridge abutment.

The accident happened about 10:15 p.m. on I-495 south at Route 25 in Wareham, State Police said.

The truck driver, 52-year-old Joseph Gaultier of Easton, was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the stopped vehicle, 55-year-old Stephanie Boosahda of Yarmouth, was taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham with minor injuries.

Here's the story:
Police said a flatbed tow truck has crashed into a stalled vehicle on a highway in southeastern Massachusetts, killing one person.
David G. Curran/
State police said the tow truck was carrying a vehicle Thursday night on Route 495 in Wareham when it struck another vehicle stopped in the southbound breakdown lane, rolled over several times and slammed into a bridge support.They said the tow truck driver was ejected and died at the scene. The driver of the stopped vehicle has been taken to a hospital as a precaution. Part of the highway was closed while investigators searched for clues to the cause of the crash.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Former TX Firefighter Back In Custody

Here's the story from

HOUSTON - A former Houston firefighter who shot and killed a wrecker driver has been arrested again -- this time for allegedly violating his probation.

Barry Crawford was convicted of shooting and killing Steven Hardin back in 1998.

Hardin was in the process of towing Crawford's truck in Humble when the firefighter came out of his home and shot the wrecker driver once in the chest.

Crawford was found guilty of murder but his sentence was a disappointment to the victim's family: 10-years probation.
He was supposed to perform community service and pay restitution to the victim's family as conditions of that probation.

Hardin's family said they had been receiving checks for token amounts ($1.24, in one case) but even that has stopped.

"He has paid no restitution since January of this year," the victim's mother, Carolyn Hardin, told FOX 26. "He's basically got away with murder. And laughed the whole time he's done it."

Andy Kahan, the Mayors Crime Victims Director, said Crawford also has not logged any community service hours since 2007.

"You would have thought that he would have done everything humanly possible to make sure that he was in compliance (with the terms of his probation)," said Kahan. "But he consistently throughout the years just said, 'I'm not doing it and you're not gonna do anything to me.' So he reaped what he sowed."

Crawford is jailed without bond. At an upcoming hearing, the judge could order him imprisoned for ten years.

Had the former firefighter been able to stay out of trouble for another 9 months, he would have been released from court supervision.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of PA tower Hank Bowman, who worked for K&L Motors and Schliers Towing. He passed away on Sept. 24 while in a hospice.
Here's his obituary from the Pocono Record:

Henry "Hank" Bowman, 74, of East Stroudsburg, died Thursday evening, Sept. 24, at the VNA Hospice House in East Stroudsburg. He was the husband of the late Joanne R. Kieffer) Bowman, with whom he shared 43 years of marriage at the time of her death on Dec. 14, 2000.

Born Feb. 25, 1935, in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Frank and Marion Bowman and had lived in Monroe County since 1971.

He was a parts manager at Gray Chevrolet in Stroudsburg and then was a tow truck operator for K&L Motors and Schliers Towing.

Hank was a member of the Cherry Valley United Methodist Church. He was also a member of the former Pocono Mountain Jaycees and was a J.C.I. Senator.

Surviving are five children, Christine Carroll of Canton, Conn., Cynthia Copeland and her husband, Greg, of Warrenville, Ill., Robert Bowman of East Stroudsburg, Cheryl Steimer and her husband, Roy, of East Stroudsburg, and Barbara Ascencio and her husband, Benito, of Marion, Iowa; six grandchildren, Drew Bowman, Andrew Copeland, Scott Copeland, Sara Steimer, Steven Steimer and Elena Ascencio; two special friends, Edward Zindle and Miranda Keiper, both of Gouldsboro; his grand-dog, Maddy; and a former daughter-in-law, Christina Bowman of Morrisdale. He was predeceased by a son, Franklin Bowman, on May 21, 1983.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Cherry Valley United Methodist Church, Hamilton Township, with the Rev. Fred Landis officiating. Cremation will took place at the H.G. Smith Crematory, Stroudsburg.

The family requests that memorial remembrances be made to VNA Hospice of Monroe County, 502 Independence Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.

OK Wreckers May Get Rate Hike

Here's a story from the Tahlequah Daily Press:

Wrecker operators across the state have gone to lawmakers asking them to consider a 25 percent across-the-board rate hike when they’re called to the scene of a crash or other incident by law enforcement.

Local lawmakers have no problem with giving the rate hike a look, and wrecker service owners in Cherokee County think it’s time for the legislature to act on the request. The increase would be for the hourly rate and mileage.

“It’s been discussed over the years,” said State Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah. “It’s something we probably need to look at.”

The rates haven’t gone up since 2004, according to the Associated Press.

“Fuel prices and insurance costs have gone up in the last five years,” said Mac Martin, owner of Tahlequah Towing. “Fuel prices have fallen some, but our salaries didn’t go up during that time.”

Martin said wreckers occasionally need repairs too. He said he used to operate two wreckers and had another driver, but now it’s just him and one wrecker.

Devin Gordon, owner of Cherokee County Wrecker Service, echoed Martin’s sentiments.

“It’s hard to say what they [legislature] might do,” he said. “I sure hope they look favorably at it. It would be nice to have some more money kind of like a pay raise.”

Gordon, whose service is on West 720 Road, said his workload depends on how active law enforcement is with stopping vehicles and working crashes. He said local wrecker services are called on a rotation basis when called by law enforcement. There are times when a driver will be asked whether he has a wrecker preference.

Sen. Don Barrington, D-Lawton, called a hearing on the issue recently, the AP said, and says the bill could be heard on the Senate floor next year.

State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, said he’s ready to consider the issue if and when it makes it to the House chamber.

“It’s worth a review to kind of see where we’re at,” he said. “Diesel costs have come back down, but we’ve had a lot of jobs where people are going through tough times.”

One Tulsa area wrecker service operator said his costs have jumped more than 35 percent since the last increase. Larger wreckers can cost $500,000, he said.

Martin, whose service is located along the Illinois River, said he’s hopeful the legislature will approve a rate increase for him and other wrecker operators, but knows it may be a tough sell.

“This is probably not the best of times to ask for an increase,” he said. “We may have been more successful asking a couple of years ago.”

Martin said he sometimes considers the distance of the tow because of the costs associated with operating a wrecker. He charges $3 a mile for vehicles weighing 8,000 pounds or less on top of the $65 hookup.

“I can make a lot more going to Chicken Creek and getting one than I can if it’s right out here in front of the shop,” he explained.

Operators in nearby Arkansas can charge $150 for the same service, but in New Mexico a light-duty hookup costs $55.

Wrecker operators set their fees for service calls requested by motorists when vehicles break down or have a flat tire, fees for calls ordered by law enforcement are controlled by the Legislature.

The agencies routinely call wrecker services to haul away vehicles involved in collisions or cases in which the driver is arrested for driving under the influence or some other offense.

Wilson said he may ask to look at storage fees if the rate increase is considered. He doesn’t want the storage fees to be devastating. Martin said he doesn’t think the storage fees are unreasonable considering wrecker services are responsible for a vehicle if it’s damaged on their property.

Shriners Hospital Tow Truck Fundraiser in MA

Kudos to the Statewide Towing Association of Massachusetts for their support of the Shriners!
Here's the story from

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It was an unusual site on several main roadways in Springfield Sunday afternoon.

One after the other a steady stream of tow trucks headed to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield.

About one hundred of the trucks made the trip to raise money for the hospital. It is a special cause for many of the drivers.

"As towers we see so much carnage on the roadway and we really feel this is a way to give back." said William Johnson of the Statewide Towing Association of Massachusetts.

Organizers of the fundraiser expected to raise about $10,000 thanks in part to a member of the towing association who agreed to match all donations.