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Monday, March 23, 2009

Congrats on 50 Years In The Business!

Here's to Murray’s Garage and Wrecker Service in Leeds, AL! They celebrate 50 years in operation on April 1.
Here's the story from The Leeds News:Lora Carroll/The Leeds News

When seasoned locals think back to the city of Leeds over 50 years, many can remember trips to Pioneer Hardware for tools and supplies, outings to The Pants Store for clothing, visits to McKinnon or Patterson Pharmacy when sick and of course, a stop off or pull to Murray's Garage if the car needed servicing. These and only a handful of other businesses in the area have managed to weather the test of time.

In fact, Murray’s Garage and Wrecker Service is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as a family-owned business in April and owners Murray and Chip Ash are delighted to reach the milestone.

Murray opened his garage doors to the public in 1959 and has not closed them since. He said there have been times in the past when many thought they were actually opened 24-hours a day because he and the employees did not rest until the job was done.

“Daddy started April 1, 1959,” said Chip. “He was in a little shop right across from the telephone company. He was there for a couple of years until this location came up for sale.”

Murray's Garage moved to Ninth Street and since then, Murray has continuously added on to the location.

“We have been steadily going all along,” said Chip.

Murray bought his garage after returning home from the 34th Infantry Regiment in the 24th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. While in the Army, he worked with engineers and later moved to the Motor Pool.

He was also a mechanic. Murray got a chance to go to school on the G.I. Bill and during that time he learned about automatic transmissions. Then for a few years, he worked at several garages in the area, but always wanted to be out on his own.

“When I was a kid I would think of doing this,” said Murray. “I might be plowing a mule or something, but I would also think of what I was going to do someday.”

Murray said back then he would walk a mile to Leeds to work at a similar business for $5 a day.

“I was just glad to get it,” he said, adding it was hard work, but it taught him to make his way in life. “I used to say I have to do a day and a half every day to ever amount to anything,” he said.

Murray’s offers every automotive need except tire work. They have a full-service body shop, frame machine, wrecker service and more. “We do it all,” said Chip.

They also have two wrecker and impound lots in both Leeds and Moody. The wrecker service operates a 12-wrecker fleet and will work pretty much any accident on the road including 18-wheelers.

Running Murray's Garage has been a sort of family affair. Seven members of the Ash family have worked at the location since it opened including Murray, Chip, Murray's late wife Gaye, Murray's daughter Susan Cooch and Chip's wife Tracy along with their son Matthew and daughter Emily.

“I started down here when I was probably seven years old,” said Chip. “Back then I was pushing brooms and I just grew up doing things at the shop.”

“When Chip came along, that was probably the proudest day of my life,” Murray said. “We tried to get him to go to college. The teachers would tell him that he would not be able to get a job and Chip would say I've got a job waiting on me. He has been here ever since.” Chip said he would work for another 50 years if he had it left in him, joking that he is 47 now and not sure if that will actually happen.

Murray's has 20 part-time and full-time employees. Some have been with the company nearly as long as it has been open. Murray added that Sandra Eden has worked at the shop for over 25 years and Clyde Kelly has been with them for 45 years.

Murray said Kelly is a good one and always has been. “He would never get mad, even if he had to,”said Murray. “He makes a good wrecker man, too.”

Murray and Chip said they couldn't even start to guess how many customers they have had over the years, but both agreed that if it was not for their committed employees and patrons they would not be where they are today. “Thank you all,” said Murray. “We've had good help and tried to do just about anything anybody wanted done. They used to say, years ago, if a mechanic quit with something half torn down that we could finish it.” “We have had a good business over the years,” added Chip.

Murray's Garage is located at 209 9th Street NE and can be contacted at 699-6651.

Jerr-Dan's "Run Hard" Now Available Online


Jerr-Dan Corporation, an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, announced that its custom published magazine, Run Hard, is available now in an easy to navigate electronic on-line format. The newest edition is available beginning today at www.jerr-dan.com.

Run Hard magazine provides towing professionals with timely information on business management and the selection and use of wreckers and carriers to enhance their business and profitability. Each quarterly issue includes features on towing and recovery equipment, news and events, towing company profiles, safety issues and more.

“Since its inception, the Jerr-Dan Run Hard magazine has been a tremendous resource to our customers for relevant news, insightful safety tips, product information and interesting company profiles,” said Mike Walter, Jerr-Dan Corporation president. ”We look forward to continuing the magazine in its new format and with easier access from our website’s home page.”

The Spring 2009 edition includes the following editorial content:
Company profiles on B&F Towing in Delaware and Walters Towing in Illinois + Distributor profiles on Santiam Enterprises in Oregon and Crawford Truck Sales in Massachusetts + Articles on the new Jerr-Dan 6-ton carrier, integrated 50-ton wrecker and rolling tarp system + A 2-page spread featuring photos from various towers
To sign-up for a free online subscription and view back issues, go to: www.jerr-dan.com/life/run-hard.asp.

OR Predatory Towing Law Stalls In Legislature

Here's the story from the Portland Observer:

Two years ago Sean Cruz, a northeast Portland resident, used to start his day with a cup of coffee and a look out his window to see if one of his cars had been towed.

Retriever Towing had assumed Cruz's cars were parked illegally on the nearby property of Hacienda Community Development Corporation, which he suggests was in cahoots with the company, and repeatedly towed his cars.

Cruz said he also watched immigrants with limited English abilities, housed at Hacienda, grapple with towers that would swoop out of nowhere and hitch up their cars as soon as their backs were turned.

The incident set off a long battle between Cruz, then chief of staff to former State Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland, and Oregon's towing companies, the recent chapter of which unfolded in Salem earlier this month when a bill that was geared toward ending predatory towing was sidetracked after towing companies howled loud enough about certain provisions in the bill.

Oregon has left towing companies largely unregulated, but had been slowly moving in that direction. The most recent effort to regulate towing companies came in the form of House Bill 2578, a bill sponsored by Rep. Chuck Riley, D-Hillsboro.

The proposed legislation would have prohibited paying tow truck operators by commission; required the property owners OK before a towing occurred; prevented cars from being towed until two hours had passed; and make it illegal for towers to patrol lots looking for potential parking violations.

Portland caps the rate that towers can charge vehicle owners at $161, plus other fees, and requires that towers notify the police. People who have had their cars towed can file complaints, and towers can have their licenses yanked.

Last month alone, over 700 hundred cars were towed in Portland. At $161 a pop, there is money to be made.

Currently property owners enter into a contact with a towing company to keep unauthorized cars from parking in their lot. Many of these companies pay their towers based on the cars they tow.

Cruz said that the commission-based pay that towers rely on is a major problem because it's in the towers' interest to haul off more cars- an arrangement, he says, that lends to predatory practices.

"We need to eliminate the conflict of interest," he said.

The prospects of passing the bill were good, according to Riley, until the proposed legislation went to a public hearing last month before the Oregon House Consumer Protection Committee where tow company representatives made a fuss over some provisions.

"This is overreaching," said Steve Preston, the president of the Portland-based Sargent's towing.

Preston was uncomfortable with the state telling him how he could pay his employees and feels he should be able to pay his employees by commission if he chooses.

He said that the Legislature had no business telling him how to run his operation. In particular, Preston had a problem with the provision that made towers wait two hours before they could tow an illegally parked car, saying that it essentially amounted to free parking.

Preston also took issue with the provision requiring property owners to be notified before a car was towed from their property, explaining that it was unreasonable to expect a property owner to be available all hours of the day.

"Property owners don't want to get up at 5 a.m.," quipped Preston.

Cruz was also present to testify. He said that the bill doesn't do enough to protect disabled people who have their cars towed. Such people may have medicines in the car, and having their cars towed leaves them particularly vulnerable.

"I really feel this is a terrible failure," he said.

According to Kevin Jeffries, a legislative assistant for Riley, the bill was referred to a workgroup that will include advocates for regulation of the industry and tow company representatives.

Although the bill is on hold for the time being, in recent years the legislature has been leaning toward regulating the industry that has largely been left to its own devices.

In 2007, Gordly, successfully passed bills that allowed the state and municipalities to regulate the industry. She also got bills passed that prohibits towers from carting off vehicles just because they have expired tags, required towers to provide vehicle owners with a printed rate sheet if their car is towed, among other provisions.

However, Cruz said he ran into opposition from lobbyists from the tow truck industry and commercial property owners who, he said, wield significant political clout.

Jeffries said he hasn't encountered such opposition, but Cruz remains optimistic.

"Everyone has a towing story," he said.

Don't Mess With Texas...Tow Truck Drivers!

Here's the story from the Dallas Morning News:

Tow truck drivers chase, tackle, capture robbery suspect in Fort Worth

11:19 AM CDT on Monday, March 23, 2009
By KATRINA GUTIERREZ / The Dallas Morning News

Fort Worth police are crediting a father and son for helping capture one of two men accused of holding six hostages during a robbery.

Ollie Ray Whitworth, 43, and his 18-year-old son, Ollie Ray Whitworth Jr., were in a tow truck and leaving the Abandoned Vehicle Enforcement business in the 6800 block of Randol Mill Road on Sunday evening when they saw a robbery taking place in the office.

The Whitworths thought it was a joke until they encountered a second robber wearing a black skullcap, sunglasses and bandanna covering his face. The man pointed his gun at the Whitworths and ordered them into the office, where four other people were being held hostage.

The robbers took the cash register and fled on foot. When the Whitworths heard the robbers shaking a gate to escape, they decided to pursue them.

The Whitworths jumped into their truck and followed the robbers, who were on foot, to a nearby mobile home park. As one of the robbers fired at the Whitworths, the Whitworths knocked him down with their truck. The robber then ran to a white Chevy Caprice and drove away. The Whitworths continued their pursuit, trying to cut off the fleeing car.

During the pursuit, the Whitworths used the radio in their truck to notify other tow-truck drivers about the robbery. Kelly Hedge, 32, who was filling up his truck at a nearby gas station, heard the radio alert and drove to the mobile home park, where he saw the suspect who was on foot. He jumped out of his truck with a handgun and flashlight and gave chase.

Hedge found the suspect under the steps of a mobile home, but the man fled. As Hedge chased him, the Whitworths and the robber in the Chevy Caprice spotted them. Hedge fired a couple of shots at the Caprice, and Whitworth drove head-on toward the Caprice to stop the Caprice from hitting Hedge, police said. The Caprice swerved and hit a street sign. The driver then fled on foot.

The younger Whitworth got out of the tow truck and helped Hedge tackle the other suspect.

Christopher Mayor, 26, was charged with aggravated robbery, Fort Worth police said today. He was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries sustained during the chase and capture.

The second robber remained at large Monday morning, and police had not released a detailed description.


Here's another story from the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Committee Votes Down WV Towing Legislation

Here's the story from West Virginia Public Broadcasting:
March 17, 2009 · The Senate bill addressed disagreements between towing companies and the Public Service Commission When Senate Bill 309 was brought up, it proved contentious. Representatives from both the Public Service Commission and towing companies testified. The towing companies felt they all were having to answer for one rogue toweing company.
The bill adds four provisions to the existing law. Towing companies must have authorization
from the owner of the property where the vehicle is towed from, and the company must contact local law enforcement and inform them as to the vehicle’s location. Also, the bill would require towing companies to accept credit and debit cards, and not to charge for the first 24-hours of storage.

But this legislation is in response to a problem with one company in Morgantown, and the
other towing representatives didn’t think it was fair to impose blanket restrictions on the industry throughout the state.

On Friday, the committee seemed close to passing the legislation, but then heard from Michael
Pifer, past-president of the
West Virginia Towing Association.

“So, this situation in Morgantown is going to penalize every tower in the state of West Virginia and make it easier for the Public Service Commission that had one hearing on one towing
company and never did anything to them,” Pifer said. There is another reason the industry is opposed to a bill: the towing association has been working with the Public Service Commission to address the same problems for two years. They reached a settlement in December.

Darrell Summers is the current president of the West Virginia Towing Association.

“The reason we were opposed to this bill is because we’ve been working two years with the
Public Service Commission, and in December we had a settlement that is supposed to be finalized by March 26, which addresses every problem they had with this bill.” Though the committee asked the Public Service Commission whether the legislation would give them more authority over towing companies, representatives didn’t seem to be able to answer the question. Ultimately, the committee voted to defeat the bill.

Senator John Unger is the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“But we also need to address that problem in Morgantown and what I think some of the members of my committee were concerned with, was we were implementing a type of regime on the overall industry throughout the state for a problem that’s occurring in only one part of the state,” Unger said.

“And the question is do we have to do that in order to solve that problem that’s only in Morgantown and not in any other place?”

Towing Caps Run Into Hitch In Greenville, SC

Here's the story from the Greenville News:

A law that would cap what tow trucks can charge when they take a car from private property without the owner's permission is back on the drawing board after sustained opposition from a group of tow operators that grew to about 15 people Tuesday.The proposed caps came after Greenville County officials and truck drivers said some people are paying as much as $1,700, traveling out of state and even losing their vehicles after they were towed from lots where
no-parking signs were poorly posted.

However, Councilman Jim Burns said Tuesday he has received a lot of complaints from opponents of the measure and questioned how a council committee came up with the proposed towing caps: $50 for the lightest vehicles, plus a $10 daily storage fee, and $300 for the
largest rigs, plus $50 a day for storage. Mike Barnes of Barnes Towing in Greer told council members they don't know what it costs to tow a car and said caps elsewhere are $130 or more.
Councilman Joe Dill, a garage owner who chairs the Public Safety Committee and originally brought up the issue, said he didn't know where the county's proposed rates came from.
County Attorney Mark Tollison said the rates in the initial county proposal -- $100 for small cars
and $400 for the biggest rigs -- came from similar laws in other areas both in and out of South Carolina. However, Dill's committee lowered those fees, and Dill later said it was the result of calling towing companies and asking what they charge.

Council members said Tuesday they need a more objective approach to rate caps. Councilman Bob Taylor said people who park on private property are breaking the law, and that the county should pause before giving them consideration instead of towing companies. Dill said the proposed caps may need adjusting and agreed to take the issue back to his committee.A local
insurance official has previously told Dill’s committee that the proposed caps of $200 and $300 for the biggest vehicle categories are “reasonable,” and that the county needs to make sure tow companies can’t get around the caps by adding gate fees and other add-ons.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Progressive Offers Expanded Coverage


What if your tow company was dispatched to pick up a vehicle, and an improper hook up caused transmission damage? Or, your mechanic got into a wreck when he took a car out for a quick test drive while doing repairs? You could be liable for these additional damages.

Progressive has announced “Expanded On-Hook Towing Liability,” which now covers more than just the towed vehicle. Towed property, including cargo like equipment or raw materials and select personal items in towed vehicles, is now covered if it is damaged at any time between pick up and delivery. Plus, coverage for transmission and transaxle damage is now included. Limits for this truck insurance coverage are now available up to $100,000. “Expanded Garagekeepers Liability” now provides coverage for vehicles being serviced, repaired or stored at up to three business locations. This coverage is also now available in limits up to $100,000.

The new on-hook and garagekeepers coverages are currently available in 19 states and are expected to roll out countrywide throughout 2009. For more information, or to find a local independent agent, visit www.progressivecommercial.com.

SouthWest Tow Operators Offers New Benefit


Current and new members of Southwest Tow Operators now have a new benefit: an Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance policy at no additional cost.

The policy will initially start out at $15,000 coverage and will protect those tow operators 24 hours, 7 days a week, on the job or not. Southwest Tow Operators will cover all charges and administrative duties for this coverage. The program began in January.

Southwest Tow Operators will continue to offer its “In the Line of Duty” Benevolent Fund for any licensed, professional tower in the state of Texas that will up to $1,000 to assist family members.
For more information, contact Southwest Tow Operators at (866) 320-9600.

Navistar's New Value Line

In response to the tough economic times, Navistar (NYSE: NAV) is launching a new value line, private label brand of truck parts aimed at cost-conscious truck owners.

Known as PartSmart™, the new product line offers products that cost up to 20 percent less than genuine, original equipment parts. The PartSmart line focuses on fast-moving and fast-wearing parts for all makes of trucks. Some of the parts available include air valves, bearings, belts, clutch, hoses, hydraulic pads and calipers, lighting, rotating electrics, u-joints, seals and wipers. Product lines will continue to be added based on customer feedback.

All PartSmart parts come with a one-year, parts-only replacement warranty and can be purchased at any one of over 500 International® dealers in the U.S. PartSmart will be available globally later in the year. Additional information is available at www.navistar.com/newsroom.

Miller Industries News


Continuing Racing Relationship. Miller Industries will continue, for the next three years, to be the official towing and recovery equipment at race tracks owned by International Speedway Corporation.

Under the agreement, Miller Industries will provide trucks and equipment to California Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Talladega SuperSpeedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

The trucks are staffed by experienced tow operators from across the country who volunteer their time and services. They are still required to attend sanctioned training classes that are conducted by Miller Industries Race Director Ken Burdine on the proper techniques and safety procedures on the speedways. The equipment and operators will
cover a wide variety of major races at these tracks that includes NASCAR, Indy
Racing League, ARCA, USAC and Grand American sanctioned events.

For additional information, visit www.millerind.com and click on "At the Races" under galleries.

Also At The Races. Miller Industries has joined forces with AAA to help promote their Slow Down/Move Over campaign to race fans throughout the year, starting with the Daytona 500.

The new Miller Industries ad that is printed in the souvenir race programs at many NASCAR races throughout the year will include the AAA Slow Down/Move Over logo along with an important public service message calling attention to the laws and stressing to race fans to slow down and move over when they see flashing lights from emergency vehicles on the roadways.

GA Tow Truck Operator Dies After Crash

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Robert Vaughn Bailey of Macon, GA. The 33-year old died this morning after a crash.

Here's the Macon Telegraph story:

A Macon man is dead and another is in the hospital following a traffic accident near the Interstate 16/Interstate 75 north interchange at 11:30 a.m.

Macon police Sgt. Melanie Hofmann said the white Ford F550 tow truck lost control and hit a guardrail at the intersection just before noon.

Robert Vaughn Bailey, 33, of Chapman Road, was taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia and pronounced dead at 12:21 p.m., said Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones.

A passenger in the truck, Charles Pittman, 32, was ejected from the truck. He is listed in stable condition.

Both men were ejected from the vehicle, Jones said.

The accident caused traffic to be blocked in all lanes for about a hour, Hofmann said.

Hofmann said the accident is still under investigation by the Macon Police Department.

Tow Truck Operator Hospitalized After MD Bus Crash

Here's the Baltimore Sun story:
An MTA bus struck a parked tow truck this morning in Essex, sending the driver and two passengers to the hospital with minor injuries.

The collision happened about 6:45 a.m., near the intersection of Middleborough Road and Foxchase Lane, according to the Maryland Transit Administration. The driver and two passengers were transported to Franklin Square Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to Jawauna Greene, an MTA spokeswoman.

Greene said the bus crashed into the rear of the tow truck.

MTA officials are investigating the cause of the collision.

Miller Industries (MLR) Approves $5 Million Stock Buyback Plan

From StreetInsider.com:
March 12, 2009 5:18 PM EDT

Miller Industries, Inc. (NYSE: MLR) has approved the repurchase of up to $5,000,000 of shares of the Company's outstanding common stock.

Repurchases, which will be conducted through open market purchases or privately negotiated transactions, will be made from time to time depending on market conditions and other factors. Repurchased shares will be held in treasury.

Miller Industries, Inc. (Miller Industries) is a manufacturer of vehicle towing and recovery equipment. The Company manufactures a line of wrecker, car carrier and trailer bodies. [SM]


More Info On Miller Industries at MarketWatch.com:


Tow Training In VA This Weekend

The Virginia Association of Towing and Recovery In Partnership with MATHENY MOTORS Presents:

A Wes Wilburn Heavy-Duty Truck Seminar

DATE: MARCH 21 & 22, 2009

TIME: 8 AM – 5:30 PM both days

PLACE: Blairs Volunteer Fire Dept.

Blairs, Virginia

INFORMATION: Call Paul Gammon 434-836-6711

COST: Early Bird Registration up to March 2, 2009:

$250 for MEMBERS of any tow association.

$275 for Early Bird all others….

After 3/2 Cost for ALL will be $300

***** Lunch Will be provided both days *****

The class will be limited to 30 students. Try to get your applications in early for the first come/first served opportunity.

A special thank you to Matheny Motors for the sponsorship of this seminar.

To register, please fill out the attached application form.

TRAA TESTING WILL BE AVAILABLE IF NEEDED….CALL VATRO 800-541-2432.

Kudos To This TX Tower

Seems like B&W Wrecker and this (once again) unnamed tow truck driver went above and beyond to help.
Here's the story from the Corsicana Daily Sun:
By Bob Belcher
An elderly Navarro County man remained hospitalized Thursday after being found about two miles from his stranded pickup truck early Thursday morning.

Walter Early Johnson Jr., 78, had set out on foot to get help after his truck became stuck in mud on NWCR 2060 Wednesday morning. Johnson’s wife, Doris, 75, remained in the truck while her husband went for help. The pair had been in the truck for several hours before Johnson went to seek assistance, said Navarro County Sheriff Les Cotten.

After trying for several hours, Doris Johnson was finally able to reach an OnStar operator by cell phone at about 2 a.m. Thursday, and sheriff’s deputies were dispatched in an effort to find the truck and Johnson. Deputies found the truck and the woman about 4 a.m. Thursday, Cotten said, and called a tow truck to get the pickup truck.

“B&W Wrecker then started driving around in their 4-wheel drive truck, trying to locate Mr. Johnson,” Cotten said. Johnson suffers from health problems, and has both a tracheotomy tube and a feeding tube, Cotten added.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday, Johnson was found by the wrecker driver, lying in a ditch about two miles from where his truck became stuck. An ambulance was called to transport Johnson to Navarro Regional Hospital, where he remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit Thursday night.

Reposessions In A Tough Economy

Seems to be a number of stories these days on how the repossession sector is doing these days...

Here's one from the St. Louis Dispatch:

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

The tow truck driver rolls north on Lindbergh Boulevard, a cell phone to each ear, an elbow on the steering wheel, his head on a swivel.

On this night, he's headed for the Hazelwood apartment of a woman who is $964 behind on payments for her 2004 Mitsubishi Galant.

He scans the passing strip malls, parking lots and traffic looking for any of the other 211 vehicles on his list. Just tonight, he was handed names of seven new people who had property that lenders wanted seized. Bad times are busy times for the repo man.

"I feel sorry for people, but that car on the back feeds my family," he said. Click here to read the rest of the story.

And here's another from The Wall Street Journal:

SUMTER, S.C. -- You'd think these would be salad days for a repo man.

So why is Tony Cooper laying off tow-truck drivers, trying to sell his impound lot and wasting half the night chasing down a waitress and her lipstick-red 2002 Jeep Liberty?

Bad times for debtors, it turns out, aren't necessarily good times for debt collectors.

"People are doing everything they can now to hold onto what they've got," says Mr. Cooper, owner of Professional Auto Recovery LLC. "Do you think they're going to wait [around] to give up their cars? They hide them. They fight over them."

Click here for the full story.

South African Tow Truck Driver Seriously Injured In Crash

Here's the Independent Online story:

By Thandi Skade

A tow-truck driver is fighting for his life after a head-on collision with a 20-ton brick-carrying truck in Douglasdale, north of Johannesburg.

The drama unfolded at 9.20am on Thursday on Douglas Road when an A1 tow truck driver - speeding to an accident scene - drove on the wrong side of the road and crashed into the truck.

Joburg metro police spokesperson Inspector Edna Mamonyane said the truck driver then lost control of his vehicle, colliding head on with a Toyota Yaris before he plunged through a boundary wall of a property.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said: "Paramedics from ER24 that arrived first found a chaotic scene covered with bricks that were flung from the truck during the collision. The tow truck driver was found barely breathing trapped partially under his vehicle."
The tow truck driver was trapped in his wrangled vehicle for almost an hour before firefighters managed to free him using the jaws-of-life.

He was in a critical condition and placed on life support on the scene before being rushed to Sandton Medi-Clinic for further medical treatment.

The Yaris driver was in a critical condition after he sustained chest and neck injuries.

The truck driver, who sustained a fracture to his arm, and his passenger, who was treated for neck and back injuries, were in a stable condition.

Douglas Road was closed to traffic in both directions on Thursday morning while a bulldozer was used to remove the piles of bricks along the road.

Mamonyane slammed the tow truck driver's reckless driving, saying: "He did exactly what we're trying to curb in the CBD... If he wanted to kill himself, he should have done so some place else where no other person would get hurt," she said.

A case of reckless and negligent driving against the tow truck driver is being investigated, Mamonyane said.

Everyday Tow Heroes In Canada

Here's the story about two tow truck drivers, Mike Bailey and Richie Barnes, from Canda's Globe and Mail:

Two tow-truck drivers are being hailed as heroes after a car chase through North Pickering yesterday morning.

Police said an Ontario Provincial Police officer pulled over a U-Haul at around 10:20 a.m. after receiving a report of a suspected drunk driver and one of the occupants tried to hit him with the vehicle.

The officer suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital. The male driver of the U-Haul and a female passenger ran toward Highway 7 and tried to stop passing cars.

Two tow-truck drivers who heard the incident on radio scanners located the suspects and held them down until police arrived.



Here's another story from the Sarnia Observer:

A 41-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman face a slew of charges, including attempted murder, stemming from a police chase in Durham that ended with an OPP officer firing his gun and two tow-truck drivers pitching in to make citizens' arrests.

The ordeal unfolded Thursday after the OPP received a report of a suspected drunk driver on Highway 401 in Pickering.

An officer spotted the U-Haul vehicle around 10:30 a. m. and attempted to stop it, but the cube van sped off, sparking the chain of events, police said.

The OPP alleges the officer chased the truck as it exited the highway and headed north on Westney Road, but the pursuit was called off when the U-Haul drove through red lights.

Soon after, a second officer resumed the chase on Highway 407. The OPP said the cube van again fled.

The truck was eventually trapped on a dead end street in the hamlet of Green River, near Highway 7 and the York- Durham Town Line Road, and the officer was forced to fire a shot at it when the driver allegedly tried to run him down, police said.

The truck crashed in a ditch and a man and a woman fled on foot, the OPP said.

Moments later, the couple allegedly attempted to carjack several vehicles on Highway 7, offering money to one motorist before finally jumping into the backseat of a car occupied by a woman and her child.

Two tow-truck drivers, who had been monitoring the police chase on their radios, saved the day.

Mike Bailey and Richie Barnes nabbed a couple from a car they were attempting to flee in and held them for police.

Barry Allen and Melissa Maxwell, both of no fixed address, were arrested.

Allen is now charged with attempted murder, forcible confinement, breach of probation and two counts each of dangerous driving and failing to stop for police. Maxwell is charged with assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and breach of probation.

Forcible confinement was added to their list of charges because the pair allegedly demanded their last carjacking victim drive them away from the scene rather than ordering her to exit the car with her child, OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford said.

The accused remain behind bars awaiting a bail hearing in an Oshawa court Monday.


Move Over In MA on March 22

Story from the Daily News Transcript:
DEDHAM —

The Dedham Police, Fire Department, and Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Warn Drivers to “Move Over.” In an effort to keep Massachusetts roadways safer, the Dedham Police Department, Fire Department, and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) are raising awareness for the state’s new Move Over Law in order to promote safe driving across the commonwealth.

Every year, first responders across the country are injured or killed while providing emergency roadside help. In the past six months alone, several Massachusetts state troopers have been injured on the job. According to the Merit Rating Board, in 2008, there were nearly 2,000 violations of the Chapter 89 law which deals with obstructing emergency vehicles including failure to yield and following too closely.

The new law, which takes effect on March 22, is meant to help protect police, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck drivers, and all roadside emergency and maintenance workers. The law requires all drivers approaching a stationary emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights to move to the next adjacent lane if it is safe to do so, and, barring that, to reduce their speed. Violating the Move Over Law can be expensive as well as dangerous, as failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $100.

The Dedham Police and Fire Departments ask that all drivers within Dedham and across Massachusetts take a moment to slow down and move over if they see an officer, firefighter, paramedic, EMT, and/or other emergency responder or maintenance worker stopped on the side of the road. Together we can make the roadways of Massachusetts safer and less stressful for everyone involved.

For more information, go to www.mass.gov/safety/moveover.

Now That's A Load of Bull!

Here's the story from Canda's Calgary Herald:

REGINA — Two thousand pounds of angry bovine kicked up a fuss in Regina on Friday, escaping his handlers, wandering through traffic and even knocking off someone’s prosthetic arm.

The hubbub began around 12:30 p.m. local time when a bull was being moved from a cattle trailer into the barns for the Regina Bull Sale.

But, the two-year-old bull, named Linton 52T, had other plans. He broke loose and fled through the parking lot.

Police officers stampeded to the scene, and joined Linton’s owner and others in trying to direct the angry animal out of noon-hour traffic.

As the bull ran down the street it knocked over a bystander, detaching the person’s prosthetic arm. The person did not appear to be injured.

The bull got on another street and travelled about 10 blocks before being corralled into a snowy area, where he was tied to a tree and given a sedative.

Tow truck driver Jared Perrault said he thought he’d misheard the dispatch until he pulled up to the strange scene.

“You guys weren’t kidding,” he then told his dispatchers. “I’ve got to put a bull in a trailer.”

The tow truck cable was then attached to the bull’s halter, and the animal was winched slowly toward the street.

Finally, about 45 minutes after his escape, Linton was back in his trailer, where he stood glaring out toward the street.

“He was going to the Regina Bull Sale, but he’s not going there. He’s going home,” his owner said. “He’s just got an attitude today, and no one wants that kind of attitude.”

Regina Leader-Post

Can You Believe It?


Some folks have all the luck!


My cousin wins the $181 million West Virginia Lottery...

...and just two days later finds the love of his life!



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Remember: Wall of the Fallen Needs Your Help

On Sept. 9, 2006, the “Wall of the Fallen” statue and memorial wall were unveiled at the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 2007, the names of 94 men and women who lost their lives in the line of service in the towing and recovery industry were placed on the wall. Another 61 bronze name plaques were added in 2008.
This year, the ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19. In order to gather a comprehensive list of towers who have died doing the job they loved, Ken Cruse, chairman of the Wall of the Fallen committee, has requested the help of the towing community.
Names of fallen towers should be submitted to the ITRHFM (International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame Museum), 3315 Broad Street, Chattanooga TN USA
37408. In order to ensure timely delivery of the bronze nameplates for the wall, please send in all names before July 1. Forms may be downloaded from the website www.wallofthefallen.com. There is no charge for this tribute.
For more information, please call 423-267-3132.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sad News

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of this unnamed Canadian tow truck driver who died as a result of his injuries during a Tuesday crash.

Here's the CBC.ca story:
A 41-year-old tow truck driver involved in a three-vehicle crash near Oka
on Tuesday has died.
The accident in the small community west of Montreal
involved the tow truck, a small school bus and another vehicle.
According to
Quebec provincial police, one vehicle lost control, smashing into two other
vehicles around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
It is still not clear which vehicle caused
the accident.
The male driver of the tow truck died in hospital. Four people
other were treated for minor injuries.
There were no passengers in the school
bus at the time of the accident.
The accident forced the closure of Highway
344 through Oka for several hours.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Spokane, WA's first woman tow truck driver, Betsy Merrill, who passed away in mid-February. Merrill, 60, was the owner of Rouse's Towing.

Here's the story on her memorial tribute fromt the Spokesman.com:

February 26, 2009
Memorial service honors Spokane’s first woman tow
truck driver
Meghann M. Cuniff /
The Spokesman-Review

Tags:
betsy merrill elizabeth merrill Rouse’s Towing

Tow trucks form a funeral procession heading south on Hamilton Street in
honor of Elizabeth “Betsy” Merrill, February 26.
Thursday was not the
day to call for a tow truck in the Inland Northwest.
Drivers from across
Washington and North Idaho gathered in Spokane to honor an icon in their
industry, ending Elizabeth A. “Betsy” Merrill’s memorial service with a funeral
procession of nearly 70 tow trucks.
Merrill, who owned Rouse’s Towing and
Recovery with her husband, Robin, died last week, five days shy of her 61st
birthday.
She was the first woman tow truck driver in Spokane and was known
statewide for her dedication and knowledge of the business.
“When she
started, it was because guys told her she couldn’t do it,” said Robin Merrill.
“She had that spunk to her.”
More than 250 people, many wearing coats and
hats from tow businesses across the region, packed the Riplinger Funeral Home
for a service, then 67 tow trucks drove to Rouse’s tow yard on Boone Avenue for
a reception.
It was the first time Rouse’s had closed its 24-hour-a-day,
7-day-a-week operation.
The Merrills bought the tow business in 2003, 26
years after Betsy Merrill was hired as a tow truck driver.
Her love of the
business never seemed out of place for her family.
Her daughters, Melody
Goode and Gwen Druckrey, said being a tow truck driver just seemed fitting for
their strong-willed mother, who’d already worked as a sheriff’s deputy in Pend
Oreille County.
“We lost one of the great women in the industry, and there’s
so few to start with,” Goode said. “It’s still a good ol’ boys club.”
Born in
Chicago, Betsy Merrill moved to Hawaii as a toddler, dropped out of school in
the 8th grade, then moved to Washington with her daughters in 1974 to run a
grocery store in Dalkena.
Merrill’s ex-husband, Ray Bourquin, was a driver
for Rouse’s when the two married, and Betsy used to ride with him on tows.
“She just fell in love with it,” Bourquin said.
The couple left Rouse’s
in the early 1980s to own a long-haul truck, but Merrill returned in 1986, then
hired her ex-husband as a driver about a decade later.
Merrill’s love of
people and desire to help everyone made her a great fit for the job, friends
said. She didn’t hesitate to help stranded motorists find hotels or rent a car,
friends said.
And though she entered the business not knowing anything about
towing, friends said she left it as an expert who knew more about the tow yard
trucks than anyone.
“She was more than happy to help people understand the
business better,” said Cej Florence, a Rouse’s dispatcher. “If most companies
had questions, they’d call her.”
And it wasn’t just colleagues and customers
she helped.
Her employees were her family, and company gatherings her family
reunions.
“For people like her, it’s more than a business,” said Chuck
Brewster, general manager of Jim’s Northside Towing in Seattle. “The younger
towers, they don’t have that dedication.”
She took her job seriously and
operated her tow yard that way, too.
“I think Rouse’s is really the epitome
of the opposite of how tow truck drivers are portrayed,” said Sean Comfort, 22,
one of Merrill’s 11 grandchildren. “It’s that way because Grandma wanted it
that way.”

Towing In Saudi Arabia

Here's an interesting look at tow truck operators in Saudi Arabia from Arab News:

Tow truck drivers speak their mindsBadea Abu Al-Naja Arab
News

LIFE IS NOT EASY: Tow truck drivers toil to make both ends
meet, but there are always complaints they exploit people during emergencies.
(AN photo)

MAKKAH: Tow truck drivers do not live easy lives. On
call 24 hours a day, they often sleep on the streets. Frequently accused of
exploiting car owners who have damaged or disabled vehicles, tow truck drivers
say they only charge normal prices and never take advantage of people whose cars
may be unserviceable because of accidents.
Arab News visited the industrial
area of Aziziya in Makkah where tow truck drivers gather. The drivers sleep on
the streets and come with coolers, beds, fans and small pieces of furniture.
They say they bear the heat of the sun, the cold of the night and sometimes rain
just to make a living.
Muhammad Al-Otaibi, a 27-year-old Saudi tow truck
driver, said he bought his tow truck on installments. “I pay SR2,000 every month
in addition to other expenses. I am on call all the time and so sleep on the
street next to my truck in order to make as much money as possible,” he said.
“Earning SR2,500 a month is not easy. It is true that we take advantages of
crises such as floods to make money. However, this is just like other
businesses. Airlines increase their fares during holidays,” he added.
Saud
Al-Juaid, a 21-year-old Saudi, said it was unfair that people accused tow truck
drivers of charging exorbitant prices. “There are many trucks on the street and
tow truck drivers will not risk losing customers by increasing the price to an
unacceptable level unless it rains or the driver is in a remote area,” he
said.
Al-Juaid has been driving tow trucks since he was 14. He dropped out of
school to drive. “The income is not steady. I normally earn between SR2,000 and
SR3,000 a month. In peak season, it could reach SR5,000,” he said.
Al-Juaid
said that this line of business had its own risks and that one needed to be
sharp. He recalled how two years ago a well-dressed Saudi asked for help to open
his car as he had left his keys and wallet inside. “He then told me to tow the
car to a repair shop close by. He told me he was a municipal official with good
connections,” he said.
“I asked him if he could help me find a job at the
municipality and that I would tow his car for free. He agreed to help me find a
job and I towed his car to a repair shop and then broke its window to get his
wallet and keys out,” he said. “He then said he would go to a spare part shop to
buy some parts to repair the car. He disappeared and I haven’t seen him since.
The car was left at the repair shop. It turned out that he was a thief and that
he used me to commit a crime,” he said.
Basheer Ahmad, 55, transformed his
tow truck into a moving home. “People cannot object to the prices we charge;
we’re charging for the time we spend on the streets, the long hours in the sun
and the risks we take,” he said.
Ahmad said tow truck drivers often face
strange and humiliating situations. “I remember once receiving a call about a
broken car on the side of a road. The owner did not have the car’s papers with
him and told me they were at home and on that basis, I towed the car,” he
said.
“On the way, the police stopped us and when they asked for the papers,
the man told them he had left them at home. The police held me for five hours
until the man brought the papers,” he said.
“Once an old man and his wife
insisted on sitting inside the car while I was towing it. I tried to explain
that it was illegal but they did not want to listen saying they needed the
air-conditioning,” he said. “The police stopped us later and when questioned,
the man said I hadn’t told him it was illegal.”

TX Towers' Legislative Day on Mar. 26


Here's the press release from the SouthWest Tow Operators:
Mark your calendars for:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Make arrangements to join your fellow Texas Tow Operators in Austin at the Capitol
and Spend the day learning how to make a difference! We will meet from 9:00AM to 12:00PM in the Capitol Extension Auditorium, you are on your own for lunch, and then we will spread out and visit our Senators and Representatives. We will give you step-by-step instructions on how to communicate effectively with your representatives. There will be a reception at 4:30pm at the Omni Hotel for those who can stay. It would be perfect to invite your representative to. We need you to bring as many people as you can. We will provide STO t-shirts, free to the first 200 who register, so we will have a flood of blue roaming the capitol! If you have never seen our beautiful capitol, you need to make sure and take the tour which is offered several times in the afternoon. Bring family, friends, and fellow towers for this information-packed day. IT WILL BE WORTH TAKING A DAY OFF OF WORK. Please find a way to participate, or send a representative. THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. We will use this time to let our legislators know we appreciate their service and how we feel on various issues. Always remember: Our elected officials serve the State of Texas at great personal sacrifice. Please address them and their staff courteously and professionally, even when you may disagree with them. As with all of us, that is always the most effective way to get your point across. We cannot serve food or drink in the auditorium, so please have your coffee and breakfast BEFORE YOU ARRIVE. (There is a café down the hall in the Capitol where you can get food and drinks.) Also, we cannot collect any money in the Capitol, so if you want to make a donation for the t-shirts, please send it to our office beforehand. We need to know how many to plan for and how many more shirts we will need. The 1st 200 who register will receive a free t-shirt. Please register ASAP. Registration forms can be printed off of website: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102485970883&e=0019oPaBHHz9mrHwh8qu_KHfIMAIWKBb3HquXtEHzgqs0jUlCwLCjJO3T7D4GTF2oBjBpSHnOJgz9XMGyahUOSzKQEIatFNVjqi3vbUygBiH4yc4fu8lF8ZcBO9-jFR0LZely6GKHN0dbv8qt5Bqqy5EauPBgx-wwrl. Tell your friends and fellow towers, give them a copy of the of the enclosed registration form and Fax to (972) 247-1605 ASAP.
Senator John Corona Sponsorship Thank you to SENATOR JOHN CARONA, Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, for sponsoring the auditorium for us

Guardsmen In Iraq Keep On Top Of Roadside Rescues

Here's the NewsTribune.com story:

MOSUL, Iraq – If a tank breaks down along the highway, a tractor-trailer snaps
an axle or a helicopter crashes in northern Iraq, Hitman is on the way.
You
might think of this platoon from the Washington National Guard’s 81st Brigade
Combat Team as AAA for Iraq’s exceptional needs along the highways.
The 50
soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment operate tow
trucks – flanked by armored vehicles – to recover damaged military vehicles as
they travel in convoys between bases.
“We’re there in case anything goes
wrong,” said platoon leader Lt. Jared Matheson, an Olympia resident and Tacoma
police officer. “It’s a bit of a different mission than the rest of our guys
have, and it’s definitely a different way to spend the deployment.”
About 75
percent of the 81st Brigade protects convoys of tractor-trailers that keep bases
throughout Iraq supplied. The soldiers of Hitman – also known as 1st Platoon,
Bravo Battery – deployed to Iraq believing they would do the same.
They
arrived in Mosul in October and were training to run convoys when they learned
in early December that their duties had changed.
Running a recovery service
presents a different set of challenges. Since the platoon’s missions are based
on need, its soldiers often find themselves sitting around without much to do,
followed by periods where they spend long stretches off base.
The unit
averaged about one mission every two weeks when it first arrived in Mosul,
Matheson said, but four calls have come in the past 10 days.
“The tempo is
totally inconsistent,” Matheson said, “and it’s nothing we can plan
around.”
Nor is the mission time. The soldiers can be sent anywhere
throughout northern Iraq, and the time outside the wire can vary from just a few
hours to almost an entire day.
Sgt. 1st Class Chris Bailey, a full-time Guard
soldier from Kalama, Cowlitz County, once embarked on a mission to a town near
the Turkish border that lasted 18 hours.
And the job sometimes changes when
the recovery soldiers arrive – either because of a miscommunication or because
the damage is more severe than originally thought.
On one mission, soldiers
set out believing a truck had broken down. When they arrived, they discovered
they also had to recover an Abrams tank.
The soldiers work shifts of 24
hours, followed by a day off. They respond to a fairly even mix of mechanical
breakdowns and vehicles hit by improvised bombs. Their customers are American
troops and contractor supply trucks – no Iraqi police, army or
civilians.
During down time, the soldiers work on their vehicles, watch
movies, play video games and talk online with family and friends.
And wait
for the next call, like a tow truck driver at the neighborhood service
station.
“It’s fun when you get to go out,” said Sgt. Brian Martin of
Longview, who works back home in a grocery warehouse. “Otherwise, it’s just
sitting around and waiting for the mission.”
Pfc. Johnny Phillips of
Vancouver admits that “time passes real slow” while waiting for a mission. Once
he went 25 days without a call.
But when Hitman is needed, it can be a
rush.
“When we get a call, it’s like, ‘Whoa, someone could be dying and we’re
going out there to save them,’” he said. “It’s like an emotional roller
coaster.”
blogs.thenewstribune.com/military

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Keith Calpito of El Paso, TX. The 35-year old died Mar. 8 after his motorcycle was struck by a possible drunk driver. Calpito was a tow truck driver for Best Wrecker.

Here's the story from the El Paso Times:
EL PASO -- A 35-year-old man died early Sunday when the motorcycle he was
riding was struck from behind by a car driven by a suspected drunken driver who
tried to leave the scene of the crash in Northeast El Paso, police said.
The
collision knocked Keith Calpito, of the 5600 block of Devon, off of his 2004
Harley-Davidson, and he died on U.S. 54 near Trans Mountain Road, police from
the Special Traffic Investigations Unit said.
Police do not believe Calpito
was wearing a helmet. He was traveling north on U.S. 54 when he was struck by a
2007 Scion driven by Brandon Bachtel, of the 4600 block of Loma Escondida.
Bachtel, 21, continued to drive north until his car quit running, police
said. He and Kenneth King, a 20-year-old passenger in the vehicle, fled on foot
but were tracked down by police.
Bachtel was charged with intoxicated
manslaughter and accident involving injury or death.
King, of the 5400 block
of Morningside, was not charged in the incident because he was not the driver
involved in the crash, El Paso police spokesman Officer Chris Mears said.
News about Calpito's death quickly spread Sunday morning among the tow truck
drivers who worked with Calpito at a Northeast El Paso wrecking service.
Calpito had been working only a few weeks at Best Wrecker, but had already
made many friends, said Christopher Cordova, a driver employed by another
wrecker service nearby.
"He was pretty cool to talk to and if someone needed
a hand, he was there for them," Cordova said.
Investigators believe speed
and alcohol were factors in the crash, which closed the roadway for several
hours.
This is at least the third motorcyclist killed on El Paso streets in
2009.
On Jan. 10, Edward Covarrubio, 42, was traveling on Alameda Avenue
when he collided with a truck and was thrown from his Harley-Davidson
motorcycle. Covarrubio was not wearing a helmet during the crash, and he died
from his injuries at Thomason Hospital.
Arturo Hernandez died Feb. 27 when
he rode his motorcycle at a high rate of speed into the back of a Jeep in the
11400 block of Montana Avenue. Hernandez was wearing a helmet.
Michael D.
Hernandez may be reached at mhernandez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6151.

More Greenville, SC Tow Truck Operators Fighting Plan To Cap Rates

From the Greenville News:
The number of tow-truck operators publicly fighting a proposed county law
that would cap their rates when they tow without a car owner’s permission has
grown to more than a dozen, with some claiming the change would unfairly
increase their cost of business.The proposed caps came after county officials
and truck drivers said some people are paying as much as $1,700 and traveling
out of state to retrieve trucks towed from lots that appeared to be legal for
overnight parking.
County Council members have also said they’re concerned
about the towing costs paid by someone who’s just been released from jail after
being pulled over and arrested.
The Sheriff’s Office had earlier requested to
be included in the ordinance so that tow companies called by law enforcement
would be capped as well, but the Sheriff has now asked to make his own policy,
said Councilman Joe Dill.
Law enforcement tows were removed from the measure
Tuesday night, though council members said they want to see the rates the
Sheriff comes up with. Meanwhile, Dana Williamson of Elgin Williamson
Enterprises said about 60 percent of cars picked up from private property are
never reclaimed by their owners because the incidents involve old vehicles that
break down on the road and are left for good.Many car owners don’t believe its
worthwhile to pay for removal, while many towing companies don’t want to
shoulder the cost of taking the abandoned vehicles and navigating the
bureaucratic tangle of finding the owners and legally disposing of the cars,
Williamson said. However, an assistant county attorney said the county proposal
doesn’t deal with abandoned cars, only vehicles illegally parked on private
property. Williamson said the line between the two can blur. Councilman Joe
Baldwin said if towing companies aren’t getting paid for abandoned vehicles
anyway, then a new county cap wouldn’t pose an additional problem. The measure
limits towing fees to $50 for the lightest vehicles -- those less than 10,000
pounds -- plus a $10 daily storage fee. For the largest vehicles -- trucks of
more than 30,000 pounds -- the fees would be capped at $300 for towing and $50 a
day for storage. The measure also prohibits towing from commercial parking
facilities unless prominent, weather-resistant signs of a certain size are
displayed at a certain height and include a phone number for locating a towed
vehicle. Williamson said it will take time to change the posted signs and towing
agreements lot owners having with towing companies, and that people parking in
private bank lots already pose a problem for workers who arrive to find their
spaces taken. More than a dozen towing operators lined two rows of seats in
Tuesday’s committee meeting, some of them in their reflective work gear and
others saying the council members had no idea what they were doing. Dill’s
Public Safety Committee passed the measure by a 4-1 vote Tuesday, with
Councilwoman Lottie Gibson dissenting because she said she thought the caps were
still too high. The matter now goes to the full council for a public hearing and
a vote.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More Information on Tow Truck Wreck in Rome, GA

In the story below about the motorist who crashed into the Boatfield's Wrecker rollback in Rome, GA this morning, there is (unbelievably) no mention of what happened to the driver of the rollback, Gene Boatfield.

I called and spoke with Boatfield's daughter, Betty Foster, who was at the hospital with her father. He was indeed injured in the crash, possibly with a fracture of the C2 vertabrae in his neck.

Please keep this family in your thoughts.

Not A Great Way To Start A Morning...

From the Rome News-Tribune:

A wrecker hit World Hi Fi's Home Store this morning after being involved in a crash with a pickup truck.

According to Tony Yarbrough of the Rome Police Department:

The driver of a 1984 Chevrolet pickup, Wanda Jean Couzzourt, was attempting to make a right turn onto Shorter from Burnett Ferry Road but turned too wide and entered the inside, left lane. Her vehicle struck a wrecker driven by Gene Boatfield of Boatfield's Wrecker Service.

The driver side door of Couzzourt's truck opened, and she was ejected onto the roadway. The truck went into Magic Wand Car Wash, where it struck some equipment, causing damage.

Meanwhile, Boatfield's wrecker continued east on Shorter, traveled approximately 365 feet -- crossing oncoming lanes -- and struck and broke a power pole. After another 175 feet or so, it hit World Hi Fi, with the cab coming to rest inside the store.

Couzzourt was taken to the hospital with what did not appear to be life-threatening

(contributed photo from Brian Pelfrey)
injuries. She was found at fault in the wreck for an improper right turn.

The wreck occurred before the store was open this morning, and no one was in the store. Employees said World Hi Fi is open for business today, and the hole is being covered.



Monday, March 9, 2009

As If The Chicago PD Needed This...

Here's the Southtown Star story:

Two Chicago cops have been disciplined, one for secretly boosting the number of his arrests and citations in the department’s database and a second for shoving a Lincoln Towing employee during a dispute over a towed car, according to documents.

Fifteen-year officer John Dellorto was fired for using other officers’ computer log-on information to increase the number of his arrests, citations and awards, according to the Chicago Police Board.

A commander found the discrepancy after reviewing district arrests and finding that Dellorto -- assigned to the lockup -- had an increase in arrests, according to transcripts from his hearing.

Tom Needham, Dellorto’s attorney, said no police cases were jeopardized, no member of the public was hurt, and the officer apologized after accepting he’d made a “terrible and foolish mistake,” according to the transcripts. Dellorto had 38 honorable mentions with the department.

In the second case, 10-year officer Linda Brumfield -- who has filed a non-related federal suit against the city over her treatment in the department -- was suspended for six months after she was found guilty of several charges, including shoving a Lincoln Towing employee in a July 2007 dispute over towing fees.

Brumfield, who has 20 honorable mentions, acknowledges she got into the dispute, but said towing employees taunted her, and the department retaliated against her because of the lawsuit.

What A Recovery! Raised Dump Truck Hits Overhead Sign

Definitely something you don't see every day! Click here to check out the picture and story of this dump truck that hit an overhead interstate sign in CT. The recovery was facilitated by Tolland Automotive Enterprises Inc. of East Hartford.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of James R. Charles, who passed away on Friday, Mar. 6. The 42-year old owned and operated Charles Garage and Towing in Greens Fork, Indiana.
Click here to read the full obituary.