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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TowExpo International on April 29-May 1

April 29 - May 1, 2010
Exhibit Hall Hours:
Fri. & Sat. 11 am to 5 pm

Tow Expo Int'l Highlights


- Cross-Training for First Responders, conducted by the Xtreme team and sponsored by the Jerr-Dan Corp.
- Watch in awe at the Live Mock Emergency Recovery right outside the convention center topped off with a Helicopter rescue (held in conjunction with the City of Houston Fire Dept. ) April 30. Sponsored by the Jerr-Dan Corp.
- Southwest Chili Cookoff following Mock Rescue, sponsored by Southwest Tow Operators, Copart and Miller Industries.
- Light-, & Heavy-Duty and Incident Management training for Texas towers conducted by Southwest Tow Operators.
- LIVE tow truck demonstrations on show floor, sponsored by Miller Industries.
- All American "Truck Trick Out" of a new Dodge/Dynamic wrecker, sponsored by Dynamic Towing Equipment & Mfg. and RealWheels Corp.
- Educational seminars by American Towman Academy, feature industry gurus Tom Luciano of Miller Industries, " Tow Dr ." D.J. Harrington, SSCS/Digital Dispatch's Al Stoeberl, Paul Stevenson of Copart Auto Auctions, and Lockout Clinic by AAA, TX.
- Enter or view the trucks of beauty at the USA Wrecker Pageant, sponsored by Dynamic Towing Equipment & Mfg. NEW "Best Theme" classifications.
- "Beast to Beauty" - see a tower's own 10-year old used pickup transformed into a brand new looking "American Towman" truck right in front of your eyes. Sponsored by DIG Graphics and Phoenix USA .
- Representatives from TDLR (Texas Dept. of Licensing & Regulations) will be present to find out the latest on mandatory certification for Texas towers.
- Saturday night Ten Gallon Gala starts at 7 PM with the Casino Classic to follow at 9 PM. Dinner and entertainment.

Visit www.Towshow.com for registration & hotel information or call 800-732-3869

Everyday Tow Heroes In Canada

Kudos to Trista Stafford and her husband, Chris Snow, who own Universal Towing, for their help to their community! Here's the story from The Sudbury Star:
Greater Sudbury is reaching out to help the families who lost their homes to a fire Friday in Copper Cliff.

"You feel for the people in the community," Trista Stafford said.

Stafford owns and operates Universal Towing with her husband, Chris Snow.

They are offering the use of their trucks to people in town to help deliver furniture and other items to the families of the fire.

"There are lots of people in town who want to help, but don't have the means to," she said.

"We're looking to offer the services of our trucks to pick up furni ture and others to donate."

An account is being set up by the Copper Cliff Credit Union for monetary donations. The contact name is Mimi Wiseman.

The St. Stanislaus Church in Copper Cliff, as of Tuesday morning, has no more room to store donations. If you have have furniture or large appliances, please contact the office at 682-4683.

Jason LaFauci of Omerta Records, a local electronic dance music label, offered to raise funds for the families with his international music artists.

They will sell CDs and all the proceeds will be going to the families in need.

Wal-Mart, at 2414 Long Lake Road, will be holding a barbecue and fundraiser event Thursday 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Blaze At OH Towing Company Ruled As Arson

Best wishes to Paint Valley Towing and owner Roger Carter as they rebuild. Here's the story from the Chillicothe Gazette:
BAINBRIDGE -- An early Friday morning fire that destroyed a towing and auto business was set intentionally, officials said Monday.

Shane Cartmill, public information officer for the Ohio State Fire Marshal, said investigators sifted through the scene and made their ruling.

"They did not find anything that would indicate accidental causes and found evidence that suggested the fire was intentionally set," said Cartmill.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. Friday at Paint Valley Towing, 105 Webster St., in the western Ross County village. No one was injured in the fire, but the business was destroyed.

The owner of the business, Roger Carter, told the Ross County Sheriff's Office he left the business at 5:15 p.m. and had locked up before he left.

A Blue Ribbon Arson Award, which could hand out up to $5,000, has been placed on information that helps solve the case and leads to the arrest of the person or people responsible.

"We're looking for anyone who believes they have witnessed something, heard something or seen something that could help us in investigating this fire," Cartmill said.

To report any information that could lead the solving of this crime, call the fire marshal at (800) 589-2728.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Former Driver Causes Headaches for OK Tow Company

Here's the story from www.kfor.com:
OKLAHOMA CITY - A fleet of heavy duty trucks sits outside Arrow Wrecker Service. The business is a mainstay in Oklahoma City for the past few decades. But now the owners say the reputation it has built over the years is being tarnished by a former employee.

"He kept a uniform and a cap, and has been going about town trying to borrow money and using Arrows name," says Mark Koss, the company's attorney.


Arrow Wrecker fired the driver last month. Since then they say he continues to pose as an employee showing up at businesses around the metro that work with the company. Employees tells us he asks for gas money and promises that the company will then pay them back.


"I just can't believe that someone number one, would loan him the money who doesn't really know him and number two somebody would be willing to use our good name to that benefit," says Danny Day, Arrow Wrecker Service.


Over the past three weeks, 20-30 businesses have called Arrow Wrecker about this former employee. In some cases, they're looking to be re-imbursed for the money they loaned him, not realizing he no longer works there. Arrow Wrecker is now trying to mend its relationship with some of those long-standing clients, hoping this scam won't effect business.


"We try and keep a good name, we want people to understand this is not something that we do," says Day.


The company contacted police about the problem Thursday afternoon.

Congrats to DE Tower Honored By State Police

Here's the story from The News Journal:
Delaware State Police honored a local community business the agency has had a relationship with for decades.

William Chambers Jr., owner of William Chambers and Son, was honored Wednesday at the State Police Awards.

The towing company he operates, which his father started as a blacksmith shop in Viola in 1915 before beginning to repair vehicles in 1919, is the towing company with the longest history of working with state police, dating back to when the agency was founded in 1923.

The company expanded to Seaford in 1967.

Chambers and his wife, Betty, still run the company out of their Viola office.

Chambers was honored by Col. Robert Coupe and other officials.

Coupe also named Cpl. Matt Addonizio Trooper of the Year for Troop 3 in Camden.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nice Profile on NJ Tower Brian "Hawk" Hawkins of Hawk's Towing

I had the pleasure of meeting Hawk at the Baltimore Tow Show a couple years ago. Here's a profile on him in The Trentonian (click on the link for the video):
I bought my first truck when I was 17, the day after I graduated high school. I always knew this is what I wanted to do. My dad had his own tractor trailer for 30 years, and my grandfather was a diesel mechanic for years. So as soon as I was out of school, I went right to work.

So you’ve always been interested in trucks? Do you remember your first toy truck?

I most certainly do. It was a dump truck — and this is when toys were real toys: The thing probably weighed as much as me. I was 4 or 5 years old, and I wouldn’t part with it for anything.

Do you still have it?

My oldest brother has it. I’ll let him think he got one over on me.

You do more than just tow ... your trucks are customized, and you enter them in shows and contests ...

It’s a hobby. Everyone has a hobby, and mine is customizing and building cars and trucks. I’ve always been like this, always had my hands in everything when I was a kid, by my dad’s side the whole time. I’ve been competing in truck shows for 18 years, with plenty of first-place finishes.

Grew up around here?

On Flock Road in Hamilton, and my mom’s and dad’s families both grew up in Trenton. I’ve been around here my whole life. I like it. It’s small enough that everybody knows everybody, but big enough to get around.

About the towing ...

Yeah, you get your irate people. But look at it this way: Who would you rather have tow your car, me or someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing? And I’ve gotten offers over the years from people who don’t want me to tow their car. Cookies, jewelry — and stuff you probably can’t print in the paper.

But it’s more than that ...

I love helping people out. You feel bad, especially when people do some crazy stuff with their vehicles. I remember one call, down in Pemberton, where they said the car was stuck in the driveway. Well, I get there, and I don’t see a car in the driveway. I look up, and all I see is wood all over the place. The car was in the living room. I literally had to walk in the front door and into the living room to see the car ... also, I remember a big flood in ’94, ’95 ... I was on Arctic Parkway, up to my chest in water, getting six cars out. Next thing I know, a guy in a Porsche pulls around, about to make a left, and we told him he couldn’t do it. Well, he went in, the water went up to his roof, he jumps out, and the car is floating away. Yep. We towed him out, too.

You enjoy this stuff ...

There’s nothing I can’t do. When you call me, consider the job done. We also have a repair and body shop. I love what I do.

Do you have kids?

Five boys (ages 3 to 15). Our house is chaos. They are all boys, that’s for sure. My oldest son is here all the time, and I believe he’ll step right into it. I want all of them to step in one day.

What will you do if they take things over?

I’ll step back and just build some more trucks.

PA Lawmakers Spar Over Towing Legislation

Here's the story from KYW Newsradio 1060 Philadelphia:

The state House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would establish standards for tow truck operators in Pennsylvania.

The bill would, among other things, require operators to clearly disclose towing and storage fees, and would require that towing at the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle be provided only if an operator is summed by the owner or by authorities. Allegheny County Democrat Tony DeLuca is the sponsor of the bill:

“This is a consumer piece of legislation. I think we’ve got to be more concerned about the consumers.”

But Chester and Delaware County Republican Steve Barrar claimed that the insurance industry is among those calling it a consumer-friendly bill:

“Let me tell you, when the Insurance Federation comes to this chamber and supports a consumer friendly bill, it’ll be a very cold day in this chamber and somewhere else.”

Barrar claims the bill turns the towing industry over to the insurance industry.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Terrorism With Guns Mandates Two Years, Even For ND Man In Wheelchair

Here's the Bismarck Tribune story:

Richard Starke could die in prison for what he says was a show of force to compensate for being disabled in a wheelchair.

Starke, 79, started serving a mandatory two-year sentence in mid-February after being convicted of a Class C felony charge of terrorism involving guns.

He has emphysema among other health problems and figures his lung capacity is failing so fast he could die before his sentence is served. For now, he’s in a small, green-tiled room in the prison’s infirmary.

Starke, a retired major in the U.S. Air Force, was awarded a Silver Star for bravery while flying reconnaissance missions with one shot-out engine in the Vietnam War. Now, he’s doing time because a jury believed he pulled out a small handgun and used it to threaten two young men who towed his vehicle out of a snow bank in January of 2009 and had come inside his house in Burlington to collect their towing fee.

His attorney, Michael Ward of Minot, says a one-size-fits-all mandatory sentence imposed by the Legislature in the wake of the terror attack on the World Trade Center doesn’t fit Starke’s case.

“I don’t see where this serves justice at all,” Ward said.

Ward County Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Flagstad said he did try to negotiate a lesser charge because he knew the potential outcome. “He chose to go to trial and here we are. The law doesn’t make exceptions. He screwed up and he screwed up big,” Flagstad said.

The case is being appealed to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Starke says he never un-holstered the palm-sized, five-shot Smith and Wesson, just laid it on the kitchen table to make its presence known.

Flagstad said it happened quite differently.

Flagstad said Starke pointed the gun at the two young men and told them, “This one’s loaded, too,” after indicating a rifle leaning against the wall nearby.

“What would you do if you were looking down the barrel of a gun?” Flagstad asked. He said the tow drivers fled from the house and the police were called.

Starke said he was agitated after the tow drivers first charged him $94 to get his vehicle out of the snow, since he’d been charged $35 for the same service by a different company, and then said they’d tow it away if he didn’t pay.

He said he wrote the check and thought their business was concluded when the drivers asked to see some identification.

He said that’s when he reached for the handgun, which was on the seat of a kitchen chair at the table next to his wheelchair.

“I just put it there and then I crossed my arms (in front of me on the table). He (driver) looked at it and left with my check,” Starke said.

Starke said he never pointed the gun and says his 80-year-old female companion and care provider who was also in the kitchen told the court the same thing. “I just wanted them to get out of there. They were young and strong and I’m not. When they took my check and wouldn’t leave that told me something was going to happen,” he said.

Starke said he had the right to protect his home and the right to bear arms.

He’s been a member of the National Rifle Association since 1954 and owns a sizeable gun collection.

Gerald Olson, owner of the Minot towing service, said had the towing charge been tenfold, Starke’s reaction was still way out of line.

“There’s no reason to pull a gun. He should have taken it (dispute) to the authorities. There’s no place for firearms,” he said.

He said one of the tow drivers was his son, Dusty, 25, who was just learning the towing business. “He’s a big guy, really easygoing, not abrasive and fun to work with,” he said. The other was Landon Larsen, 22, a talented viola player for the Minot Symphony Orchestra, a good worker, a “get ’er done” kind of guy.

“They felt terribly threatened,” Olson said.

He said since the incident, he no longer allows his employees to enter a customer’s home for fear of them being trapped. He said neither his son nor Larsen will work the tow truck anymore and Larsen, that day at Starke’s, was too shaken to finish his shift. He said the state’s attorney’s office requires they get identification for checks, but he’s since quit taking checks, too.

Olson said he called the other towing company afterward and was told its bill was twice what Starke claimed. He said his towing fee was fair and included mileage plus a base fee.

He said people from Burlington have told him it’s about time something was done with Starke. Starke’s own attorney, Ward, describes him as a “wing nut,” but says the man had a perfectly clean record without as much as a speeding ticket.

Starke said he was “dumbfounded” when the 12-member jury convicted him in December. He shouted, “Traitors,” as jurors filed out of the courtroom.

Ward said given Starke’s health and age, he should have been sentenced to wear a tracking bracelet and do his lockup and medical care at home.

Mandatory sentencing for terrorism, in the wake of Sept. 11, “takes away discretion from the judge,” Ward said. “It’s an entirely different matter when it’s in his own house and he lays a gun on the table in a gesture of self-protection.”

Flagstad said as crimes become more serious, the Legislature has a duty to respond. “Guns used against people is getting into the pretty serious range,” he said.

While Starke claims he had a right to protect himself in his own home, Flagstad said it’s not that simple.

“There’s a difference between someone who did something and was allowed in the house to present a bill, and a burglar. He had other options. If he thought he was being charged too much he could pay the bill and sue,” Flagstad said.

Still, Flagstad said Starke’s was an unusual case and he “didn’t particularly enjoy doing it because of the defendant. Looking at the facts and the evidence, you know what’s going to happen (with the mandatory sentence).”

Besides the appeal, or the potential to be released to home while the appeal is pending — a defense motion Flagstad said he didn’t contest because he doesn’t believe Starke is physically capable of fleeing — the Department of Corrections also can remove Starke from prison for home placement with a tracking bracelet, Flagstad said.

Starke said he wants to go home.

“I’d rather not die here. I’d rather go home and restore my family’s honor. I’m not a criminal,” he said.

(Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 701-784-5511 or lauren@westriv.com.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sleeping Woman Towed In Jeep In FL

Here's the story from the Panama City News Herald:

PANAMA CITY BEACH — A woman who fell asleep in the back of her Jeep woke up in a tow yard Sunday and had to use bolt cutters to get out, she told sheriff's deputies.

The 23-year-old Indianapolis woman had her Jeep parked in front of a tattoo shop on Front Beach Road — and was asleep in her back seat — when a truck from Discount Towing towed her, according to a Bay County Sheriff's Office report.

"She said she woke up inside the tow yard with nobody around," a deputy wrote. "She could not call anybody because her cell phone was dead."

She knocked on doors and windows at the business and didn't get an answer, she said, so she finally found a hammer and a pair of bolt cutters in a company shed and cut her way out of the gate between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

She left the tools behind, the deputy said. The towing company called the Sheriff's Office about 9:45 a.m.

The woman was on her way back to the tow yard when a deputy stopped her, and she had just called her mother, who told her to go back to the yard and call police. She had hand-written directions back to Discount Towing in her Jeep and "did not appear to be deceptive when explaining her account of the incident," the deputy wrote.

The tow truck driver said he didn't check the back seat before towed the Jeep, according to the report.

A call to her cell phone went straight to voicemail Monday.

WA Governor Signs Bill Outlawing Predatory Towing

Seems it just applies to one portion of "predatory towing" - giving gifts for tows is outlawed. Here's the story from www.komonews.com:
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday signed a bill that stems from a KOMO News investigation.

Once the law takes effect in 90 days, it will ban towing companies' practice of offering special incentives to get more business.

When you get towed, you have a problem: the inconvenience and the high cost to get the vehicle back from the towing company.

It's such a lucrative business that some towing companies are offering cash and gift incentives for people, such as apartment managers, to send work their way. Other towing companies complained, calling the practice unethical.

But the practice went on for nearly two decades until KOMO News exposed the practice at Shannon Towing of Lynnwood.

"All we were told is that it was a gray area, the law was a gray area. Nobody was doing anything about it, so it was time," said Mary Brubaker of Mary's Towing. "We're so excited about the Problem Solvers, we couldn't have done it without them."

"That's where the bill generated from, from the Problem Solvers," said Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, sponsor of HB 2592, which deals with impounds and incentive towing.

Hunt says he was outraged by what he saw.

"I remember the tower at first saying, 'Oh, we don't do that' when Michelle (Esteban of KOMO News) went into interview them," he said. "Once you sort of get caught red-handed, it gave the whole thing momentum."

The bill sailed through the Legislature and quickly signed by the governor.

"I'm just excited it's finally here. It has been a long time coming," said Tina Beck of Mary's Towing. "With the help of Michelle and TRAW (Towing Recovery Association of Washington), I feel with the joint effort, we finally made it."


Once it takes effect, a violation of the law will be a misdemeanor.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Two Injured In KS Tow Truck Crash

Keeping these people in our thoughts...
Here's the brief story from www.kctv5.com:
Two people were injured in a crash on the Interstate 435 offramp to Nall and Roe avenues.The wreck occurred around 2 a.m. on eastbound I-435. A tow truck was on the side of the road assisting a vehicle stuck in the mud when a vehicle struck the tow truck.One person was taken to the hospital with critical injuries and another person suffered minor injuries.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MN Professional Towing Association Gets New Website!


Take a look around the Minnesota Professional Towing Association's NEW web site! According to the press release, the new website was created by a MN tower and MPTA board member and it offers more towing news, faster updates, more advanced members section, and useful resources. It launched Feb. 26. Check it out a www.mnprotow.org.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Funeral Held For Tow Company Owner, Wife, And Son Killed In Home Invasion

Sad, sad news from Chicago. Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of towing company owner Jeff Kramer, his wife Lori and son Michael who were murdered on March 2 in their home. Here's the story from the Chicago Sun-times:
Flanked by an honor guard of two dozen tow trucks, more than 300 mourners gathered to pay tribute to the west suburban couple and their son who were murdered at their home last week.

Relatives of tow-truck business owner Jeff Kramer, his wife Lori, and son Michael wore Chicago White Sox jerseys in honor of the devoted baseball fans for the service at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Darien.

Among them were Angela Kramer, who hid from alleged gunman Jacob Nodarse in a bedroom closet, Anthony Kramer, who escaped through a basement window, and Michael’s 17-year-old girlfriend Tina, who also fled the home on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive before the killer could strike in the early hours of March 2.

“Death makes love urgent for all of us,” the Rev. Edward Ward told the mourners, urging them to find ways to show love for their own families and to find ways to prevent violence.

Jeff Kramer’s cousin Paul Mapes delivered a eulogy, saying he had been buddies with Kramer since they shared a playpen as children.

“We knew what that word meant: ‘buddies,’ ” he said.

“It means someone that you watched out for, someone that you cared about, someone that you never wanted to see get hurt and if they were, you did everything you possibly could to make it better.

“This time I can’t make it better.”

Mapes urged mourners to follow the Kramers’ example of “sharing love with a world which can be so cruel,” telling them he’d never forget Lori Kramer’s laugh.

“I want so much for this to be over, to wake up last Tuesday morning and have it just be another day,” he said.

“We need to comfort each other, we need to wipe away one another’s tears because that’s what family does. We are Jeff, Michael and Lori’s family and that is what we must do for Angela and Anthony and that is what we must do for each other, for that is what Jeff, Lori and Michael would have done for us.”

Speaking after the ceremony as the funeral procession made its way to Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Stickney, tow truck driver John Pemberton, of Fire Towing in Westmont, said he did not know the family, but “the tow truck business is very tight-this can be a dangerous job and we all wanted o be here in a show of support for the family.”

The Kramers are being buried in pr

Relatives of tow-truck business owner Jeff Kramer, his wife Lori, and son Michael wore Chicago White Sox jerseys in honor of the devoted baseball fans for the service at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Darien.

Among them were Angela Kramer, who hid from alleged gunman Jacob Nodarse in a bedroom closet, Anthony Kramer, who escaped through a basement window, and Michael’s 17-year-old girlfriend Tina, who also fled the home on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive before the killer could strike in the early hours of March 2.

“Death makes love urgent for all of us,” the Rev. Edward Ward told the mourners, urging them to find ways to show love for their own families and to find ways to prevent violence.

Jeff Kramer’s cousin Paul Mapes delivered a eulogy, saying he had been buddies with Kramer since they shared a playpen as children.

“We knew what that word meant: ‘buddies,’ ” he said.

“It means someone that you watched out for, someone that you cared about, someone that you never wanted to see get hurt and if they were, you did everything you possibly could to make it better.

“This time I can’t make it better.”

Mapes urged mourners to follow the Kramers’ example of “sharing love with a world which can be so cruel,” telling them he’d never forget Lori Kramer’s laugh.

“I want so much for this to be over, to wake up last Tuesday morning and have it just be another day,” he said.

“We need to comfort each other, we need to wipe away one another’s tears because that’s what family does. We are Jeff, Michael and Lori’s family and that is what we must do for Angela and Anthony and that is what we must do for each other, for that is what Jeff, Lori and Michael would have done for us.”

Speaking after the ceremony as the funeral procession made its way to Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Stickney, tow truck driver John Pemberton, of Fire Towing in Westmont, said he did not know the family, but “the tow truck business is very tight-this can be a dangerous job and we all wanted o be here in a show of support for the family.”

Relatives of tow-truck business owner Jeff Kramer, his wife Lori, and son Michael wore Chicago White Sox jerseys in honor of the devoted baseball fans for the service at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Darien.

Among them were Angela Kramer, who hid from alleged gunman Jacob Nodarse in a bedroom closet, Anthony Kramer, who escaped through a basement window, and Michael’s 17-year-old girlfriend Tina, who also fled the home on the 8900 block of Kilkenny Drive before the killer could strike in the early hours of March 2.

“Death makes love urgent for all of us,” the Rev. Edward Ward told the mourners, urging them to find ways to show love for their own families and to find ways to prevent violence.

Jeff Kramer’s cousin Paul Mapes delivered a eulogy, saying he had been buddies with Kramer since they shared a playpen as children.

“We knew what that word meant: ‘buddies,’ ” he said.

“It means someone that you watched out for, someone that you cared about, someone that you never wanted to see get hurt and if they were, you did everything you possibly could to make it better.

“This time I can’t make it better.”

Mapes urged mourners to follow the Kramers’ example of “sharing love with a world which can be so cruel,” telling them he’d never forget Lori Kramer’s laugh.

“I want so much for this to be over, to wake up last Tuesday morning and have it just be another day,” he said.

“We need to comfort each other, we need to wipe away one another’s tears because that’s what family does. We are Jeff, Michael and Lori’s family and that is what we must do for Angela and Anthony and that is what we must do for each other, for that is what Jeff, Lori and Michael would have done for us.”

Speaking after the ceremony as the funeral procession made its way to Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Stickney, tow truck driver John Pemberton, of Fire Towing in Westmont, said he did not know the family, but “the tow truck business is very tight-this can be a dangerous job and we all wanted to be here in a show of support for the family.”

CA Tow Truck Rolls Away, Damages 10 Cars

Here's the story from the San Francisco Chronicle:
SAN FRANCISCO -- A runaway tow truck crashed into at least 10 parked cars Monday in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood, causing two injuries, authorities said.

The crash happened on Third Avenue between Irving Street and Parnassus Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. when an Alpha Tow Services tow truck with a car that was being off-loaded began rolling backward on the hilly street, said Officer Samson Chan, a Police Department spokesman.

The car broke away from the 2005 Freightliner truck and crashed into a tree, authorities said. The woman who owns the car was near it when the mishap occurred and suffered minor injuries, Chan said.

The tow truck then rolled half a block down Third and hit and seriously damaged 10 parked cars, Chan said. Several other parked cars suffered minor damage, he said.

A person sitting in one of the parked cars suffered minor injuries.

The circumstances of the incident remain under investigation, Chan said.

The manager of Alpha Tow Services, who would only identify himself as David, said the mishap occurred as a result of slippery bricks on Third. "Those bricks get moist and wet," he said.

David also said the driver of the truck, whom he declined to name, had neglected to put rubber blocks behind the tires of the truck, which was in park.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

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Matheny Motors Now A Miller Industries Distributor


Matheny Motors has announced a new partnership Miller Industries to be an authorized Miller Industries distributor covering Ohio, West Virginia, and Northern Virginia. Previously a Jerr-Dan distributor, Matheny Motors is authorized to sell the full line of Miller Industries towing and recovery equipment including: Century, Vulcan, Chevron, Champion, Challenger and Holmes.

Matheny Motors was established in 1922 and has four locations in Parkersburg, W.Va.; Marietta, Ohio; Woodbridge, Va.; and Mineral Wells, W.Va. In addition to Miller, Matheny Motors is an authorized dealer for Volvo, Hino, Isuzu, Thomas Built Bus, and General Motors. For more information call 800.284.4418 or visit www.mathenymotors.com.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

WI Tow Co. Has Zip's Medium Duty Truck of the Year Winner


Here's the press release:
Towing leaders have spoken and the votes are in for the 2009 Zip’s Medium Duty Truck of the Year Award. The winner is Liberty Towing Service, LLC of Madison, Wisconsin for their 2009 Freightliner M2 Extended Cab with Vulcan V30 aluminum modular integrated wrecker body.

Liberty Towing Service’s 16-ton Vulcan V30 is a versatile truck with a 120” CA Aluminum Modular Body and dual 15,000 lb. winches. Large, fully customized, lighted compartments, underbody dolly storage, and additional custom attachment storage brackets give this unit has an excellent storage configuration.

“We love this truck!” said Simon Birch, co-owner of Liberty Towing Service. “The Freightliner extended cab has so much room. It also has great visibility and a short turning radius. The Vulcan V30 is so versatile. You can tow a Geo Metro in one minute and a semi tractor the next. The people at Zip’s are the best. We wouldn’t buy a truck anywhere else.”

Votes were cast online at Zips.com to determine three finalists for the Truck of the Year. Along with Liberty Towing Service, the finalists included Arrow Towing of Council Bluffs, Iowa and North Suburban Towing, Inc. of Crystal , Minnesota . The Michigan Towing Association chose Liberty ’s V30 as the overall winner.

Liberty Towing Service was presented with the coveted Zip’s Truck of the Year award. In recognition of the assistance from Michigan Towing Association, Zip’s has made a $500 donation in the organization’s name to the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum’s Survivor’s Fund.

“Every truck Zip’s builds, bold or basic, is always quality,” says Paul Rottinghaus, president of Zip’s. “During the contest, it’s nice to see which trucks are most popular and stand out from the rest.”

Even though the contest is complete, towing enthusiasts can still be heard. Voting is currently underway for the Zip’s 2010 Light Duty Truck of the Year at Zips.com. You can vote by visiting Zips.com.

Zip’s owners who purchase a new truck from Zip’s become Gold Level Zip’s Owners Club members and qualify for the Zip’s award in their category. Owners must take delivery of the carrier before voting begins to be eligible, and delivery must have taken place within the last year.

In addition to being eligible for the contest, Gold members also receive a high-quality embroidered jacket featuring Zip’s and their company’s logos and are entered in annual drawings for a $1,000 donation to a favorite charity or scholarship in their name.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

IA Tow Truck Driver Dies After Crash With Dump Truck

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 22-year-old David Bellows who died on March 3 after crashing his tow truck into a dump truck. Here's the story from www.kcrg.com:

CEDAR RAPIDS - One man was killed this afternoon after he drove his tow truck into a dump truck on Highway 30.

At around 2:45 p.m., Linn County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene of a two vehicle accident in the westbound lanes of Highway 30, just a half mile west of the Cedar River.

They and police from Mount Vernon and Marion shut down traffic as an Air Care helicopter landed on the highway.

The driver of the dump truck was Jason Recker, 30, of Manchester. He was not injured. Deputies pronounced David Bellows, 22, of Parkersburg, dead at the scene.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said that there were no passengers in either the dump truck or the tow truck, and that the driver of the dump truck was not injured in the accident.

Gardner could not say what caused the accident nor could he release any details about the drivers of the vehicles or where they were coming from.

Authorities are incrementally opening up traffic, which was back up at least two miles.

Linn County Sheriff’s deputies are still investigating the incident.

NC Tow Truck Driver Hit By Car

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to this unnamed NC tow truck driver. Here's the story from www.digtriad.com:

Greensboro, NC-- The icy conditions from Wednesday morning are being blamed for a Guilford County accident that injured a tow truck driver. The tow truck operator was trying to help a stranded motorist who got stuck in the median after hitting an ice patch.

Highway Patrol tells WFMY News 2, the crash happened just after 5:00am on the Old Oak Ridge Road ramp off Bryan Blvd. as the stranded car was waiting for a tow truck. The car was hit by another car and later that car was hit by a car. Trooper say all cars involved in the crashes hit black ice on the ramp.

Trooper J. Zachary said the tow truck driver parked on the hill after seeing the accidents and was walking down to check on the driver who called him. While walking to the car, a pickup truck coming along hit the ice, lost control and hit the man. Officers say he tried to jump out of the way but was knocked down the embankment by the car.

Investigators say it was about a 20 ft drop. Emergency crews transported him to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Highway patrol says no one was ticketed but it is a reminder for people to slow down in icy conditions. All lanes of Bryan Blvd and the exit ramp reopened around 10am.

From midnight Tuesday until Noon Wednesday, Highway patrol told WFMY News 2 they responded to 175 accidents. They were all weather related.

Everday CT Tow Hero

Kudos to 35-year-old Adam Peplau, a driver for Mid-Town Auto Body for his rescue of a CT woman who rolled her SUV while avoiding another vehicle!
Here's the story from the Stanford Advocate:

BRIDGEPORT ---- Adam Peplau, a tow truck driver for Mid-Town Auto Body, was heading to Shelton on Wednesday morning for what he expected to be a routine job, when things changed dramatically.

The 35-year-old Peplau, a Bridgeport resident, was driving north on the Route 8/25 connector, coming up on the Boston Avenue exit, when the sport-utility vehicle in front of him swerved to avoid a speeding car.

The woman driver "cut the wheel pretty hard to the right and rolled her SUV about three times," he said. "She wound up off to the side on that construction site where a State Police cruiser is usually parked. If he had been there, it would have been pretty ugly."

Peplau pulled over, hopped out of his truck and immediately looked inside the overturned Honda SUV. The SUV came to rest on its passenger side, and the driver, Christin Valdes, 22, of Stamford, was "strung up" by her safety belt.

"She told me that she was all right," he said. "I ran back to the truck to get my gloves and pulled off the cracked windshield."

Peplau then told Valdes to brace herself so she wouldn't fall when he cut the safety belt. Then, he helped her out of the crippled vehicle. By then, emergency vehicles arrived to whisk her off to the emergency room of Bridgeport Hospital, where she was treated for a few bumps and bruises, and released, police said.

"I've had training for taking care of rollovers, but only for after the people in the car have been rescued," he said, adding that his self-taught survival training came in handy to deal with the emergency.

"You have to be able to deal with what life throws at you," he said. "If my car flipped over and I was in the middle of nowhere, I have the mental training, and I've read enough, too, to deal with it myself."

He said that people should be better prepared to handle an emergency like Wednesday's traffic mishap.

"You have to prepare for the worst," he said. "I always carry an extra charged battery for my cell phone and I always have a set of knives. I also have a first-aid kit that's bigger than the one you'd get at Wal-Mart."

His advice for motorists?

"When you get into an accident, call 911, not Triple-A," he said. "A lot of people are so upset after a crash that they call for a tow truck when they really need a police response and an ambulance."

As for the flipped-over SUV, he said that his boss at Mid-Town swung by with another tow truck to remove it from the side of the highway.

And the car that Peplau was supposed to fetch in Shelton?

"They sent another driver to get that one," he said. "It's been a crazy day."

CT Repo Man Shot On The Job

Thankfully, he was not killed! Here's the story from The New Haven Register:
ANSONIA - Police are interviewing two suspects in connection with the shooting of a "repo man" this afternoon on Reichelt Terrace.

A man with York Towing of New Haven who was sent to repossess a vehicle at 4 Reichelt Terrace was shot at about 1 p.m., according to police spokesman Lt. Andrew Cota. The victim told police a man came out of the house, argued with him over whether he had the right to take his car, then assaulted and shot him.

The victim sustained a non-life threatening wound to his knee, authorities said. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment, Cota said.

Police now have a husband and wife in custody and are trying to determine which one pulled the trigger.

“The husband says he did it. The wife says she did it,” Cota said.

No charges have been filed yet.

Police aren’t releasing the victim’s identity yet. Cota said the man is in his 30s.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Convicted Murderer of TN Tow Truck Driver & Two Others Wants Case Overturned

Here's the story from The Messenger:
An Oklahoma man arrested in Union City in 2000 after allegedly killing people in three states has appeared in a Dyer County court claiming his defense attorneys provided ineffective counsel at trial in 2002.
Steven Ray Thacker, 39, of Chouteau, Okla., who is seeking post-conviction relief, asked the court last week to overturn his 2002 murder conviction and his death sentence.
Testimony in the case was heard Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Dyer County Circuit Court by retired Judge Allen Wallace of the 23rd Judicial District in Waverly. He took the case under advisement Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to issue a decision at a later time, The Dyersburg State Gazette reported.
Circuit Court Judge Lee Moore, who presided over Thacker’s trial in Lake County in 2002, recused himself from hearing the request for post-conviction relief.
In his request for post-conviction relief in Tennessee, Thacker claims court-appointed attorneys Charles Kelly and Tom Strawn provided ineffective counsel. He was represented at last week’s hearing by Donald E. Dawson, a state-employed post-conviction defender.
Thacker was convicted Feb. 8, 2002, of first-degree murder and felony murder in the death of Dyersburg tow truck driver Ray Patterson, 52, who had answered Thacker’s call for assistance Jan. 2, 2000, on Interstate 155. Patterson reportedly towed Thacker’s stolen car to Patterson Brothers service station. When Thacker’s credit card was denied, Thacker allegedly stabbed Patterson to death and stole his tow truck, cash, credit cards and an unloaded pistol.
Police tracked Thacker to a Union City motel, where he was arrested.
According to authorities, Patterson is one of three people Thacker allegedly killed during a 10-day spree that started in Oklahoma and continued in Missouri and Tennessee. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and killing 25-year-old Laci Dawn Hill in Bixby, Okla., and to killing restaurant supervisor Forrest Reed Boyd, 24, of Aldrich, Mo.
Thacker was sentenced to death in Oklahoma and life without parole in Missouri. He apparently also sought post-conviction relief in the Oklahoma case, but the request was denied.
Thacker is being held at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.
Published in The Messenger 3.1.10