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Friday, April 23, 2010

Read Our Very First Issue Right Here!

Did you miss our first edition? This is where it all began! Click on the pic to read the entire issue!

Footnotes' Digital Edition for May Is Out!


And it's our 20th Anniversary Issue!!! Click on the pic to read!

CT Denies Request To Raise Regulated Towing Fees By 42 Percent

Here's the story from The Hartford Courant:
Tow truck companies in Connecticut won't get any of the state-regulated fee increases they have sought since last fall.

The Department of Motor Vehicles recently rejected the Towing and Recovery Professionals of Connecticut's request for a 42 percent hike in the base rate for towing a standard automobile (weighing 10,000 pounds or less).


The towing companies wanted permission to charge $125 per tow — up from $88. They said their operating costs had risen since their last increase, in 2007.


The increases would have applied only to so-called non-consensual tows: those requested by someone other than the car's owner, such as a police department.


Towing companies set their own rates for consensual tows.


In a decision dated April 6, a DMV officer assigned to hear the rate-increase case wrote that the towing companies "failed to provide substantial evidence to support the requested fee increase, either because insufficient evidence was provided or because ... no argument was made at all."


To appeal, the towing companies must file suit in Superior Court, according to the DMV. Their intentions were unclear Thursday. Joe Miano, co-owner of Hartford's Friendly Autobody and Towing and president of the towing companies' association, did not respond to a message.


The Insurance Association of Connecticut and the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut argued against any increase in fees or the creation of new ones.


The towing companies sought increases for several other services, as well as new fees, such as an "escort fee" for bringing people to their vehicles before payment.


The towing companies asked for a 21 percent increase for gas costs — $5.75 per mile after the second mile of a tow, up from $4.75.


Towing and Recovery Professionals of Connecticut says it represents 300 operators statewide. The state last granted rate increases in 2006; they took effect in 2007.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

TX Wrecker Operator Killed In Crash

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 46-year-old Adam Diaz Lopez, who was killed April 20 while working on the side of the road.
Here's the sad, sad story from the Reporter News online:

A Ranger wrecker employee was killed Wednesday in an Eastland County accident.

Adam Diaz Lopez, Jr., 46 was picking up a rental truck that had previously crashed when the driver of a 2008 Ford F-250 traveled off the road to the left and struck the rental truck. The Ford then struck Lopez.

The crash occurred at about 12:20 a.m. on Interstate 20, about 10 miles east of Ranger.

According to Senior Trooper Sparky Dean, Lopez was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and was pronounced dead at 5:01 a.m. His body was taken to Edward’s Funeral Home in Ranger.

Dean said the road was dry and the weather was clear at the time of the crash.

The crash is being investigated by Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Buddy Wise.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 78-year-old Norman L. Hummel of Portland, PA who died on April 18 at his home. He was the owner of Hummel's Garage in both Columbia, NJ and Portland, PA.
Here's the Pocono Record story:

Norman L. Hummel, 78, of Portland, passed away Sunday, April 18, at his residence.

Born March 7, 1932, in East Bangor, he was the son of the late Albert and Marie (Carter) Hummel.

He was owner and operator of Hummel's Garage in both Columbia, N.J., and Portland. Norman attended Bangor Area High School. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was of the Protestant faith.

He was a member of the Knowlton Township Business Association, the American Towing Association and was a former Knowlton Township constable.

Norman is survived by his fiancee, Lillian Serfass; two daughters, Linda, wife of Matthew Lilly of Telford, and Sharon, wife of Ronney Hopkins of Delaware, N.J.; five sons, Robert Hummel, husband of Annie, of Mount Bethel, Troy Phillips Hummel of East Stroudsburg, Norman Hummel and Matthew Hummel, both of Allentown, and Michael Taylor of Knoxville, Tenn.; three brothers, Carl Hummel and Howard Hummel, both of Saylorsburg, and David Hummel of Bath; five grandchildren, Jessica Hause Roper, Erica Lilly, Andrew and Michelle Hopkins and Joshua Hummel; and one great-grandson, Tommy Roper.

He was predeceased by two brothers, J. Earle Hummel and Frank Lown, and one sister, Joan Jaggers.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 22, in the Reed/Gaffney Funeral Home, 4 Lillian Lane, "Village of Johnsonville," Bangor. Calling from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, in the funeral home. Burial will be in East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Portland-Mount Bethel E.M.S., P.O. Box 96, Portland, PA 18351, or Portland Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1, P.O. Box 175, Portland, PA 18351.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Free Online Workshop on 4/22: The Truth Behind Gas Price Protection: Is It Right For You?

I received this note from Jane Kang of Pricelock, which has a new partnership with Cross Country Motor Club (see 4/15/10 blog post about this by clicking here):

We are excited about our new partnership with Cross Country and helping towing and recovery companies price protect their gas. As you know, gas prices matter…particularly to smaller businesses who struggle when gas prices rise. We are now enabling small and medium sized companies price protect their fuel using the same strategies adopted by the largest companies like Southwest Airlines without the complexity, risk and big price tag..

We have an upcoming workshop that many of your readers may find informative. Feel free to invite them (https://www.pricelock.com/workshop) as we discuss current gas trends, common misconceptions on gas price protection and best practices for price protecting their gas.

Two Everyday Tow Heroes Honored In NY

Round of applause to tow truck drivers William Murray and John Allen who assisted a police officer who was struggling to arrest a man last June. Here's the excerpt from The Valley News Online story about the city of Fulton's 14th annual awards ceremony:
Two tow truck operators, William Murray and John Allen, received Civilian Service Awards for assisting a police officer who was struggling to arrest a man.

One afternoon last June, an officer responded to a domestic dispute in the parking lot of a local bar. During that investigation one of the bar’s patrons came outside and start screaming and yelling obscenities at one of the people that were involved in the dispute.


The man that was yelling was warned about his conduct and told to move along by the officer on the scene. The man then yelled an obscenity at the officer. As the man was told that he was under arrest, he promptly turned and ran into the bar. The officer followed and confronted the suspect. The man then started to fight with the officer.


While loading a motorcycle to be towed, Murray and Allen saw the officer chase the man into the bar. When they got inside, they saw the officer wrestling with the man and jumped in to help the officer get the man handcuffed. During the struggle, the suspect bit William on the arm while trying to get him to let go.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

900 Miles for a Cure - Everyday Tow Hero In MA


For most tow truck drivers, racking up 900 miles is nothing – if it’s in a truck.

Kevin Roche of Norfolk, Mass., will be doing 900 miles on foot.

Starting in July, the 45-year-old Roche will participate in 15 walks in 15 cities across the country as part of the national Susan G. Komen 3-Day For A Cure fundraiser.

Each Susan G. Komen 3-Day is a 60-mile walk spread out over a course of three days. Proceeds from the events go to breast cancer research and community programs.

The first walk kicks off in Boston on July 23. The next weekend, Roche will head to Cleveland, Ohio. Then Chicago. Then Michigan and on…

His last walk will be in San Diego, Calif., on the weekend of Nov. 19-21.

Roche, who owns Norfolk Auto with his father, Paul, has been in the towing, auto repair and junkyard business for 33 years.

“I started here when I was 12,” he said.

While he is away walking, Roche said his dad will cover for him at the shop.

“He’s going to have to pick up the slack when I’m gone,” Roche said with a laugh.

The Roches’ company is comprised of a five-bay garage and four tow trucks – one of which is now wrapped in pink and white in honor of Roche’s cause.

If someone calls and requests the pink truck for a tow, Roche will donate ten percent of the price of the tow to the Susan G. Komen organization.

Additionally, to take part in each walk, Roche must raise $2,300 – 15 times. That’s a total of $34,500.

He’s asking for help from his family, friends and the towing community, especially sponsorships from towing associations nationwide.

Since he’ll be without his own tow truck when he flies in to each city, Roche is also hoping that local tower will pick him up at the airport.

According to Roche, there is only one other person who is currently signed up to participate in all 15 walks.

Surprisingly (and thankfully), no one close to Roche has had breast cancer.

So, why does he do it?

“I think it’s a very worthy cause,” Roche said matter-of-factly.

He did his first walk in Boston in 2008. “In 2010, I decided to do all 15,” Roche said, adding, “I guess I go to extremes.”

Want to help?
• Keep up with Kevin on Facebook. He’s under “900 Miles For A Cure.” You can also access his page through Footnotes’ Facebook fan page.

• Donate at his website www.keviniswalking.org. Sponsorships by towing associations would be especially appreciated!

• If you’re in Woonsocket, Mass., on May 6, attend a benefit concert. Ernie and the Automatics and Fatty Mac will be playing at the Stadium Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Stadium Theatre box office and at Norfolk Auto, 38 Main Street, Norfolk, Mass.

• Meet Kevin at the airport and give him a ride in your tow truck! Give him a call if you live in Cleveland, Chicago, Southeastern Michigan/Detroit, Twin Cities, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Arizona or San Diego. He can be reached at 508-528-0296.

Progressive's New Truck & Cash Giveaway


ok, ok - I had to enter!
Enter every day for a chance to win a Ford F-150 Platinum and $10,000 in this year's Progressive Commercial Truck and Cash Giveaway. One lucky winner will drive away in the newly redesigned Ford F-150 Platinum, with an extra $10,000 in his or her pocket. In addition to the Grand Prize winner, two participants will win $25 each day.

The Towing Network Launches Nationwide Service

The Towing Network has announced that it has launched a nationwide service as a new partner for the heavy duty towing industry.

The Towing Network operates a nationwide call center located in Brunswick, Ohio, that brings motor carriers to the towing community in a new way. With fair and consistent pricing, the motor carrier customers receive value in consistency for their planning purposes while the towing companies find value as they increase their profitable market share.

The Towing Network has chosen the towSearch Commercial software platform from towPartners to assist in building its network of service providers, as well as to manage work orders and to connect the motor carriers and towing companies through web portals to create new efficiencies in towing dispatch. The towSearch Commercial product was specifically designed for commercial clients and utilizes the highly developed towPartners database system.

The Towing Network is actively looking for partner towing companies with a solid reputation and the ability to serve large motor carrier customers with heavy duty towing, recovery and road service. The Towing Network was established through a strong collaboration of motor carrier executives and some of the best towers in the industry. They were able to build a program that serves the needs of both groups.

The Towing Network is looking for the best towing companies who embody this philosophy. This ensures that The Towing Network is not a “come one, come all” opportunity. For more information on The Towing Network, please check out their website at www.thetowingnetwork.com.

The Towing Network Chooses towPartners to Provide Search and Software Services

towPartners has announced that it has partnered with The Towing Network to provide search and software services.

The Towing Network operates a nationwide call center located in Brunswick, Ohio, that assists motor carriers in locating towing and recovery service providers. The Towing Network has chosen the new, expanded version of towSearch Commercial from towPartners to assist in building its network of service providers as well as to manage work orders and to connect the motor carriers and towing companies through web portals to create new efficiencies in towing dispatch. The towSearch Commercial product (www.towsearch.com) was specifically designed for commercial clients and utilizes the highly developed towPartners database system.

A towing and road service provider locator tool, towSearch, is used to power this solution, and over 28,000 companies are currently listed on towSearch Commercial. Dozens and often hundreds of member updates are received daily at towPartners and results of these updates keep the system accurate, making it a reliable resource for all of the commercial fleet customers across the United States.

Japanese Tow "Trucks"




FMCSA Delays CSA 2010 Implementation to 2011

Full implementation of CSA 2010 will be delayed to 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced. The agency's original plan was to begin implementing the program in July 2010 and to have all states fully functional by December of this year. It now appears that although certain phases of CSA 2010 will begin this fall, full implementation will not be completed until spring or perhaps summer of 2011. The FMCSA plans to provide motor carriers with a limited preview of their CSA 2010 data beginning on April 12. Cottingham & Butler will provide members with instructions on how to access their data as soon as these details become available. While this preview will include carriers' safety events (roadside inspections and crashes) and resulting violations, it will NOT reflect carriers' scores in each of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

FMCSA also announced that beginning November 30, 2010, motor carriers and the general public will be able to view more complete CSA 2010 Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) data, including scores in each of the BASICs. However, as previously indicated, the public will not be able to view the Crash Indicator scores, because of concerns about the quality of the underlying crash data. On Nov. 30, FMCSA will also begin issuing warning letters to deficient carriers, but will not utilize the full range of CSA 2010 interventions. Instead, FMCSA will use the CSMS (instead of Safestat) to prioritize motor carriers for standard on-site compliance reviews.

STO April Newsletter Available

Click here to check out The Towers Voice by SouthWest Tow Operators.

Matheny Motors to Hold Open House May 7 in Woodbridge, VA

Matheny Motors invites members of the towing and recovery industry to the Matheny Motors Open House on Friday, May 7, 2010 from 10AM – 5PM at the Matheny Motors Woodbridge, VA location: 14716 Industry Court, Woodbridge, VA 22191.

The Matheny Motors Open House is the flagship customer event for its Commercial Sales Department. Open House Sponsors are B.A. Products for the all day cook-out and Sovereign Bank for the all day dessert station. While all attendees will receive a special gift courtesy of Matheny Motors, Miller Industries and other sponsors; attendees will also have an opportunity to register to win additional sponsor-donated prizes.

Open House attendees will have an introduction to the most current selection of Miller Industries towing and recovery equipment including the new LCG – Low Center of Gravity Carrier. Representatives from Miller Industries will be available to meet customers and answer questions regarding Miller Industries products and equipment.

Prior to the Open House, Matheny Motors and Miller Industries will be holding a Heavy Duty Towing & Recovery Class on May 5-6, 2010 in Woodbridge, VA. This class will be taught by internationally recognized instructor, Tom Luciano. Matheny Motors is the direct contact for more information or to sign up for the class.

Miller Industries is the world’s largest manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment. 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 has been in the truck equipment business since 1922 and has four locations in Parkersburg, W.Va; Marietta, Ohio; Woodbridge, Va.; and Mineral Wells, W.Va. For more information contact Matheny Motors at 304.485.4418, or visit www.mathenymotors.com.

US Transportation Secretary Proposes Permanent Ban on Texting By Commercial Drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a federal rule that proposes to specifically prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers. The proposed rule would make permanent an interim ban announced in January 2010 that applied existing safety rules to the specific issue of texting.

The Department also announced an unprecedented partnership with Cornell University to increase public involvement and collaboration in the rulemaking process. The Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) partnership will make the federal regulatory process more accessible to the public through Regulation Room, an online public participation environment where people can learn about and discuss proposed federal regulations and provide effective feedback to the Department.

"This is good news on two fronts," said Secretary LaHood. "This rulemaking keeps our commitment to making our roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted driving. And our partnership with Cornell on the e-Rulemaking Initiative is an important step toward keeping President Obama's promise of opening government to more effective citizen participation."

The proposed rule to ban texting by drivers of commercial vehicles and bus drivers is the first effort in this innovative partnership. Citizens can find more information on the Cornell online effort and provide comments on the proposed rule at regulationroom.org over the next 30 days. The Department of Transportation encourages participation in this rulemaking through Regulation Room, but the public may also submit comments to the DOT docket at regulation.gov.

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.

Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.

"We are committed to using every resource available to eliminate the dangers of distracted driving,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “This rulemaking to prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers, along with the Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative, reinforces our unwavering commitment and provides the public with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and comments on how together we can make our roads safer.”

The proposed rule will be on public display in the Federal Register March 31 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on April 1.

During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department’s plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the other risks posed by distracted driving.

President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.

The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving at www.distraction.gov.

More By Footnotes' Writer Allan Duffin


History in Blue 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers By Allan Duffin
This edition: Hardcover, 352 pages
Availability: Usually ships within 2-3 days
Our Price: $27.95


Description
In 1893, Chicago’s mayor gave Marie Owens the title of “patrolman,” even though she had no authority to walk a beat. She did “women’s work” and was a patrolman in name only. Throughout her 30 years of service, she was never allowed to wear a uniform. It would take nearly a century for women to be able to join the police ranks as full-fledged officers. Even today, women comprise just 15 percent of the nation’s nearly one million law enforcement officers.

Spanning 160 years, History in Blue is the first book to tell the riveting story of the uphill struggle for respect and recognition sustained by women in the modern police force. Featuring rare photographs and original interviews with pioneering female officers, this fascinating book chronicles the ongoing fight for equality in the world of law enforcement. In this vivid and remarkable history, Allan T. Duffin tells of the extraordinary women who broke down the barriers of gender so that they—and many generations of successors—could do the work they loved most.

"Tow Truck Kings" - New Kindle e-Book Now Available by Footnotes' Writer Allan Duffin!


Are you a fan of Towing & Recovery Footnotes' writer Allan Duffin? We are! He has recently put together a collection of the stories he's done for us in a an e-Book for Kindle readers. Way to go, Allan!


Digital List Price: $2.99 What's this?
Kindle Price: $2.99 & includes wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Kindle Books

* Kindle Books include wireless delivery - read your book on your Kindle within a minute of placing your order.
* Don't have a Kindle? Get yours at www.amazon.com.

Editorial Reviews
Product Description
An exclusive collection of incredible stories, tips, tricks, and information about the towing and recovery industry. Great reading for people already in the business, or as a primer or textbook for anyone interested in the towing & recovery industry. Includes chapters about accidents, different vehicles that are towed, attacks on towers, business practices, sales, storage, fuel prices, designing busiiness websites, traffic incident management, legislation, import/export, recovery techniques used around the world, plus humorous stories from the road.

Everyday Tow Hero In AZ

Kudos to Mike Davis, owner of Tarheel Towing of Prescott Valley, AZ, for donating $1,000 each year for the past 17 years to the annual Yavapai Area Invitational Spring Games of the Special Olympics!

Here's the story from The Daily Courier:

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Hundreds of people filled the stands and cheered on the 161 athletes who competed Saturday at the 17th annual Yavapai Area Invitational Spring Games of the Special Olympics.

Athletes from northern Arizona Special Olympics groups including Bradshaw Mountain, Flagstaff Hozhoni, Flagstaff Mountaineers, Rainbow Acres, Verde Valley and Williams teams competed at the meet at Bradshaw Mountain High School.

Jill Greedy of the Williams team looked forward to competing in the deadlifting event.

"My max is 145 pounds," Greedy said. "I'm hoping to go to state. I hope my brother can come, since their baby is due around then."

Greedy said she just began competing in the deadlift again after taking a four-year break because of issues with her hands because of cerebral palsy.

Greedy proudly showed off the tattoo on her arm commemorating the seven Special Olympic gold medals in weightlifting and cycling she's earned over the years.

Kenneth McLoughlin of the Bradshaw Mountain team greeted friends, looked forward to seeing his parents at the meet, and couldn't wait for the shot put and the 200-meter events to begin.

"I'm so glad my mother, sister and nephew are here already," said Brandy Snow of the Bradshaw Mountain team. Snow competed in the softball throw and 100-meter walk.

"I like that Little Caesar guy," Snow said pointing to the mascot.

The mascots from local entities - including the Prescott High School Badger and businesses such as Wendy's and Red Robin - gave out hugs as they mingled with the crowd, posed for photos, and later ran a race.

Marnie Uhl, director of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, welcomed everyone to opening ceremonies as the Bradshaw Mountain Middle School and Glassford Hill Middle School bands played the Olympic Theme.

Honor guards from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Army ROTC, the Prescott Police Department, and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office presented the colors on the sunny, but windy day.

"Please welcome our athletes," said Commander Laura Molinaro of the Prescott Valley Police Department who is part of the Games management team. "They've been practicing a lot for this competition."

The crowd erupted in cheers as the athletes paraded by the stands with Special Olympics Arizona CEO Tim Martin, Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh, Prescott Police Chief Mike Kabbel, and Prescott Valley Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye and other local leaders.

Cassandra Tallman of the Bradshaw Mountain team sang the national anthem.

Brad Penner, chaplain of the Prescott Valley Police Department, said, "Bless them as they compete and keep them safe," during his invocation.

Molinaro thanked Tarheel Towing for donating $1,000 each year to the Special Olympics Games for the past 17 years and Dr. Henry Schmitt of Humboldt Unified School District for giving the event use of the field each year.

Mike Davis, owner of Tarheel Towing, told the athletes, "All we ask is that you have fun."

NARTA Recruit Officer Brent Kimbriel of the Chino Valley Police Department ran in carrying the torch flanked by police officers on bicycles then handed it to Chris DeWolfe of the Bradshaw Mountain team who lit the Olympic torch.

"That was fun," said DeWolfe afterward.

Uhl thanked the many sponsors, volunteers, athletes and their families, and people who turned out to cheer on the athletes.

Athlete Robert Airas of the Flagstaff Mountaineers team and Kabbel read the Special Olympics Oath together: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

"We are about to witness the most pure event and athletic competition," Martin said. "Let the games begin."

In the shot put area, Coach Robert Ziegler of the Bradshaw Mountain Special Olympics team reminded the athletes to warm up before competition.

"State games are in three weeks and we don't want to get hurt now," Ziegler said.

After Haley Stanfer of the Bradshaw Mountain team finished her practice throw and stepped out of the ring, she said "Coach Robert and Dillon in power lifting helped train us."

Stanfer also said she looked forward to competing in the pentathlon next.

In the power lifting area, Dillon Haag of the Bradshaw Mountain team successfully lifted 155 pounds. Afterward, he said this is his first year doing this in the Special Olympics.

"My favorite event is deadlifting and that's coming up soon," Haag said.

Willie Allen of the Bradshaw Mountain team - who lifted 105 pounds - said he has been training and competing in power lifting for three years.

"I lift almost as much as I weigh," Allen said.

After the 25-meter wheelchair race, Julio Sanchez of the Verde Valley team smiled to cheers of "Yea, Julio!" and "We love you Julio!" coming from the stands.

"It's my favorite event. I practice a lot," Sanchez said.

Leandra Yazza of the Hozhoni Flagstaff team won the wheelchair slalom race.

Yazza said it's her favorite event and she's been competing in it for the past four years.

Like many other athletes, Yazza looks forward to competing in the state Special Olympics meet in Phoenix. To compete in state, the athletes must have completed eight weeks of training and competed in a regional meet.

Incident Traffic Control Course For Incident Respoders to be held June 12 in Grand Rapids, MI

ITC is a 4-hour course that presents a basic overview of temporary traffic control (TTC) standards and guidelines for incident responders. It provides essential information to make traffic incident areas safer for emergency management personnel, motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Specifically, it discusses principles and concepts of temporary traffic control presented in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Section 6I, a Federal standard which now specifically addresses traffic incident management areas. The MUTCD divides traffic incidents into three general classes of duration, each with unique traffic control characteristics and needs.

Click here for more information!

TX Tow Truck Driver Finds Toddler & Infant Left In Car By Dad Who Went To Strip Club

And the "Dad of the Year" award goes to...
Here's the story from CBS 11:
When tow-truck driver John Young cruised into a dimly lit private lot across the street from a Northwest Dallas strip club Friday night, he didn't expect to see a small hand waving at him from the backseat of the vehicle he came to tow.

"With the light, I could see the three-year-old," Young said. "He was waving from the backseat."

Authorities say 36-year-old Michael Galloway abandoned his nine-month-old baby and three-year-old son in his vehicle while he sat inside Pandora's Gentlemen's Club from 10:15 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Galloway told police he was inside for just 20 minutes, but witnesses said Galloway was drinking in the strip club for nearly an hour-and-a-half.

"He said he was there trying to check on his wife who worked there. However, the officers soon determined that was not the case," said Dallas Police spokesman Lt. Kevin Janse. "She … was at home and she ultimately picked the kids up. After several lies from the father to the officers, the truth slowly started coming out."

Galloway was charged with two counts of child endangerment. He did not return phone messages left by CBS11 or answer his door.

Cross Country To Offer Pricelock Fuel Price Protection to Its Network of Towing, Road Service Providers

Here's the press release:

Cross Country Automotive Services (Cross Country), the largest provider of integrated vehicle and driver programs in North America, and Pricelock, Inc., a leading provider of fuel price protection to small and large businesses, have reached agreement to offer a new program to help Cross Country towing and road service partners control their fuel costs.

The addition of Pricelock's service enables Cross Country to provide its growing network of independent roadside service providers a simple, cost-effective way to manage their costs for gas and diesel fuel by minimizing their exposure to rising gas prices without requiring a change in how they currently purchase gas.

With Pricelock fuel price protection, Cross Country towing and road service partners receive a payout when national average fuel prices rise above their set protection price. Fuel price protection does not entail pre-purchasing fuel so partners benefit from lower fuel prices at the pump when prices fall.

"We are delighted to become an integrated part of Cross Country's overall service offering," said Pricelock's chief operating officer Naveen Agarwal. "Fuel prices matter to businesses of all sizes. Our goal is to enable all businesses to easily control the volatile cost of gas and diesel using strategies previously available only to large companies like Southwest Airlines."

Managing a business highly impacted by the fluctuating fuel costs is a common problem faced by Cross Country's network of independent roadside service providers.

"We are always searching for valuable solutions that help enhance the bottom lines of our service partners," added Charles Cavolina, Cross Country's senior vice president of Service Delivery. "With the addition of Pricelock's service to the variety of special benefits we offer to network providers, they now have an easy and cost-effective way to manage fuel costs, and can focus their resources on delivering the immediate and high-quality service associated with the Cross Country network."

Pricelock's fuel price protection is an integrated part of Cross Country's Perks program, designed to offer instrumental services and promotions to increase the efficiency of Cross Country partners' businesses. Cross Country service providers can enroll in the program at www.argosiperks.com or by contacting their Cross Country performance manager.

About Pricelock

Pricelock, headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., provides solutions to manage volatile fuel prices which are top of mind concerns for businesses and individuals alike. The company's full range of solutions has been benefitting fleets, employers, car manufacturers and consumers every day. From national brands such as Chrysler, Hyundai and Aegis to small, local businesses, Pricelock is responsible for more than 100 million gallons of price protected fuel. Pricelock also offers Carbonlock™, a unique, patented "green fleet" program that allows fleets and businesses to efficiently acquire certified carbon offsets and become carbon neutral. A full suite of Pricelock's solutions can be found at www.pricelock.com.

About Cross Country

For nearly 40 years, Cross Country Automotive Services has been a pioneer and thought leader in creating and delivering technology enabled service solutions for the auto and insurance industries.

Cross Country's innovative privately labeled customer relationship management programs connect, inform, and assist drivers while building brand loyalty. Cross Country leverages emerging technologies, data and application integration, and multi-modal experiences to deepen customer relationships at critical customer touch points. Its customized solutions include accident scene and vehicle release management programs, comprehensive roadside assistance plans and connected vehicle solutions (telematics) through its division, ATX Group.

Foreign and domestic automakers with greater than 90% of the domestic sales along with more than 30 of the largest automobile insurance carriers utilize Cross Country's expertise to engage with more than 76 million of their customers. Cross Country Automotive Services is a member of the Cross Country Group, one of the largest privately held providers of customer service programs in North America. For more information, visit www.crosscountry-auto.com.

SOURCE Cross Country Automotive Services
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RELATED LINKS
http://www.crosscountry-auto.com
http://www.pricelock.com

AAA Recycles 4 Million Auto Batteries, 90 Million Pounds of Lead

With Earth Day just a week away, this is pretty nice news! Here's the AAA press release:

AAA has recycled more than four million automotive batteries and continues to promote the environmental importance of recycling this essential automotive part that 100 million U.S. motorists replace each year.

Approximately 97 percent of all the lead in spent automotive batteries is recyclable.

Through the automotive battery recycling efforts of the AAA Mobile Battery Service and the AAA Approved Auto Repair network, AAA has recycled nearly 90 million pounds of lead in addition to 12 million pounds of plastic. This year, the nation’s largest motor club anticipates it will replace and recycle an additional one million batteries via its roadside battery replacement service.

“AAA encourages all motorists to recycle their old automotive batteries. Many don’t realize that batteries are made of hazardous materials, and it’s imperative that they not be left sitting around the house or discarded with trash,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Automotive, vice president.

Automotive batteries have three major components: lead, acid and plastic. Lead can be recycled and reused indefinitely in the production of new batteries. Sulfuric acid can be repurposed in three different ways. In addition to being reused for new batteries, it can be neutralized, purified and tested before being released as clean water; or it can be converted to sodium sulfate, a product used in fertilizer, dyes and other products. The plastic battery cases also can be recycled for new batteries.

As a benefit to members, AAA’s Mobile Battery Service goes to a member’s location to test their batteries, replace those that are spent and recycle the old battery for them.

AAA-branded automotive batteries are produced by East Penn Manufacturing, which has a long-standing history of environmental protection and dedication to sustainability practices. East Penn not only completely recycles all three major battery components, but also was the first in the industry to develop a method for acid reclamation.

“When properly recycled, nearly every part of an automotive battery can be reused. AAA is proud to work with one of the nation’s leaders in battery recycling to repurpose these components for use in the production of AAA-branded automotive batteries,” said Doney.

Consumers can contact their local AAA club or AAA Approved Auto Repair facility for information on where they can drop off a battery for recycling in their area. To find a nearby Approved Auto Repair facility, visit AAA.com/Repair.

AAA first began its mobile battery recycling efforts in 1997, and many AAA clubs have sponsored battery collections called the AAA Great Battery Roundup® to help raise awareness about battery recycling.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Roving Tow Trucks Pilot Program Working In Calgary

Here's the story from Canada's CBC News:

Having tow trucks on hand to clear away stalled vehicles before they create traffic jams is reducing rush-hour headaches in Calgary, according to the city.

In February the city approved a one-year test project — costing $636,000 — to have five tow trucks focus on major commuting routes, keeping broken down vehicles from blocking traffic during the morning and evening rush hour.

The rigs have responded to an average of seven incidents per day, the city said Tuesday.

The truck operators have assisted at about 255 incidents involving vehicles that were stalled or inoperable, moving them to a nearby safe location.

The tow trucks are assigned to:

  • Crowchild Trail at the Bow River crossing.
  • Memorial Drive between Deerfoot Trail and downtown.
  • Macleod Trail South from Anderson Road to 162nd Avenue S.W.
  • Glenmore Trail between Crowchild Trail and 14th Street S.W.

A fifth tow truck also patrols Deerfoot Trail.

The city's Traffic Management Centre also directs truck operators to help motorists in trouble who are spotted by traffic cameras.

In one instance, a tow truck operator assisted a driver in medical distress by calling an ambulance, staying until emergency crews arrived and then moving the vehicle to a nearby safe location, the city said.

The city is monitoring the success of the trial service — free to motorists — and will report back to council by November.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 48-year-old NC tow truck driver Durward Whitehead, Sr. who died on Apr. 13. Here's the story from the Daily Press:

CHESAPEAKE — A North Carolina man died on Tuesday night after crashing his tow truck into a building in the Western Branch section of Chesapeake.

Durward Whitehead Sr., 48, of Elizabeth City, "appeared to have had a medical emergency which caused the accident," police spokeswoman Dorienne Boykin said.

Whitehead crashed his truck into East Coast Leisure, in the 3200 block of Western Branch Boulevard, around 7 p.m. Tuesday. He was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later. The business was closed at the time of the accident, and no one else was injured.

Western Michigan University Student Is Sued In Facebook Battle With Towing Company

Here's the story from the Kalamazoo Gazette:

KALAMAZOO — A 21-year-old Western Michigan University student whose gripe with a towing company has caught fire on the Internet through the social-networking site Facebook is now the target of a $750,000 lawsuit by the company.

The “Kalamazoo Residents against T & J Towing” group on Facebook has gained more than 4,200 members since Justin Kurtz launched it in February after his car was towed from the apartment complex where he lives.

T & J Towing last week sued Kurtz seeking $750,000 in damages and requesting a court order that he “immediately cease and desist any further libelous and slanderous written claims” about the company. The suit filed on behalf of T & J Towing President Joseph Bird says the company has lost numerous business accounts since Kurtz launched the Facebook group.

“I’m not losing sleep about it,” Kurtz said Tuesday.

The WMU aviation student from Yorkville, N.Y., said he decided to start the Facebook group during the first week of February, just a few days after his Saturn SL2 was towed from a parking spot at The Arboretum apartment complex west of campus.

He claims his car was legally parked and that he had his complex-issued parking sticker displayed, but that the sticker was missing and the front end of his car was damaged when he reclaimed the vehicle from T & J Towing for a $118 fee.

Kurtz says on his Facebook group that he believes his car was broken into and his parking sticker removed so that his car, locked and guarded by an alarm, could be towed, assertions he reiterated Tuesday to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Numerous messages posted on Kurtz’s Facebook group allege others’ vehicles were legally parked when they were towed by T & J, including some who also say their parking stickers had been removed from their windows.

In the two-page complaint filed April 5 in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court, the company alleges Kurtz is using the Facebook group in a “crusade to post verbal and written claims ... with allegations that are untrue and/or dishonest and without merit” and that a “continual onslaught of libelous and slanderous claims” has caused the towing company to lose business.

A woman who answered a call to T & J Towing Tuesday said that the company was directing questions to its attorney, Richard K. Burnham, of Paw Paw. The Kalamazoo Gazette was unable to reach Burnham for comment.

The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan, meanwhile, has given T & J Towing an overall rating of “F.”

A bureau report on the company shows a pattern of “complaints in which consumers allege the company towed vehicles in error when either the vehicle had the required parking pass, or the vehicle was not parked in a designated no parking area.”

“In addition,” the report says, “there is also a pattern of complaints alleging that the company only accepts cash as a payment method, but refuses to provide change if the consumer does not have the exact amount.”

T & J Towing has failed to respond to 17 of 20 complaints filed against it over the last three years, according to the bureau.

“The grade says it all,” Ken Vander Meede, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan, said of T & J Towing. “I don’t do business with ‘F’ businesses and we encourage people not to do business with ‘F’ businesses. This is a company that has had a number of inquiries and a number of complaints and their record stands on its own.”

Kurtz said he planned to speak with an attorney today, but that he isn’t worried by the lawsuit and has no plans to take down his Facebook group.

He’s watching, in the meantime, as the number of members in the group continues to grow. It jumped by 800 between Monday and Tuesday afternoon after news of the T & J lawsuit spread.

Contact Rex Hall Jr. at rhall@kalamazoogazette.com or (269) 388-7784.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame - Class of 2010 Announced!

Congratulations from all of us at Towing & Recovery Footnotes!!! Here's the press release:

Eight outstanding industry leaders have been selected for induction into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame as the Class of 2010.

Ronald F. Bauman (Riverside, CA), Steve M. Bowman (Burlington, NC), Charles J. Ceccarelli III (Mountain Home, ID), Edwin J. Kingsmill (Metairie, LA), Jimmy A. Schlier (Tannersville, PA), Gordon Simmons (Clinton, WA), James A. Stewart (Bradenton, FL) and James Williams (Gastonia, NC) were nominated by members of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum for their many contributions to the towing and recovery industry, their families and their communities.

“Each year, the inductees share common strengths which have led to their nomination into this prestigious group,” says Rolfe Johnson, President of the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.

“This year’s inductees share a dedication to their state and local towing organizations as well as the national towing and recovery community.”

Hall of Fame members will be recognized at an induction ceremony to be held at 6 p.m. on September 18th, 2010 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. A full weekend of activities will be held to celebrate this year’s inductees. For more information on the induction ceremony, or to order tickets, call Cheryl Mish at 423-267-3132.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kenney Bill Would Change Towing Practices In Philadephia

Here's the Philadephia Inquirer story:
The towing of vehicles in Philadelphia will come under strict regulation if City Councilman James F. Kenney's new bill makes it into law.

Kenney, saying he was fed up with illegally towed cars and tow operators who ignore a city requirement to accept credit cards, proposed a bill Thursday to forbid the towing of cars that have not been ticketed and to require towing companies to provide a list of all their signs on private property in the city.

Kenney said in an interview that many signs that tell people which company towed their cars still say "cash only." That leads people to believe they can't use credit cards to retrieve their cars, he said. Council passed a Kenney-sponsored bill in June 2008 requiring tow-truck operators to accept credit cards.

Kenney said listing the signs would establish exactly which areas are permanently marked as no-parking zones.

That information ideally would be posted online by the Department of Licenses and Inspections so people could verify whether they had parked in an illegal zone, Kenney said.

"This legislation will address these problems by providing a basic level of protection for those who are towed," he said in a news release Thursday.

Requiring vehicles to be ticketed by police or the Philadelphia Parking Authority before they could be towed would be a dramatic change. Currently, companies can tow any illegally parked vehicle from private property with the property owner's permission.

Kenney's bill will be scheduled for a public hearing.

Alleged CT Repo Man Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

Here's the update on the Mar. 3 shooting of 35-year-old CT repo man Christopher Davis from the Valley Independent Sentinel (click on the link within the story for the original story):

The man accused of shooting a tow truck driver who was trying to repossess his vehicle pleaded not guilty in Milford Superior Court Thursday.

Efrain Rodriguez, an Ansonia resident who is free on a $150,000 bond, made a quick court appearance. He’s due back in court May 12.

Rodriguez, 30, is charged with first-degree assault, carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a pistol and violation of a protective order.

Police said Rodriguez shot Christopher Davis, 35, point blank in the knee after arguing with him about the repossession. Davis’ injury required extensive surgery.

The shooting happened March 3 on Reichelt Terrace.

Rodriguez’s companion, Sabrina Vasquez, 30, was charged with interfering with a police officer because she tried to take credit for shooting Davis, police said at the time.

She’s due in Derby court April 21.

Rodriguez was under a court order to stay away from Vasquez at the time of the arrest, police said.

FL Tower Hurt As Train Pulling Safety Caboose Collides With Tow Truck


A little bit of irony here... Hope the driver recovers quickly. Here's the story from the Florida Times-Union:

A train engine pulling a caboose used to promote railroad crossing safety collided with a tow truck in North Jacksonville this afternoon, injuring the tow truck driver, police and fire officials said.

The accident occurred about 1:15 p.m. in the 9200 block of North Main Street across from the Preferred Materials concrete plant. A tow truck from Abe's Wrecker Service was leaving a junkyard and crossing a train track when it was struck by the northbound engine and caboose, said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Allen Eason.

There was no crossing arm at the site, but there was a sign warning motorists about the track.

Eason said the tow truck driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The man, taken to Shands Jacksonville hospital, has not been identified.

The CSX engine was pulling an Operation Lifesaver caboose. Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness of railroad crossing hazards, said Gary Sease, a CSX spokesman. A message on the caboose read: Look. Listen. Live.

The engine and caboose were headed to work switching trains. No one on the engine was injured and no one was in the caboose.

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of TX tower, Willard Simpson, who died on Apr. 3. He owned Simpson's Wrecker Service in Denton. Here's the photo and caption from the Denton Record-Chronicle:
DRC/Barron Ludlum

Dozens of tow trucks move down Bonnie Brae Street in a funeral procession for Willard Simpson, who owned Simpson’s Wrecker Service. He died Saturday and was buried in Roselawn Memorial Park on Wednesday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Tow Company Owners Dream About...

I found this episode of the History Channel's show "Pawn Stars" on TopSpeed.com. A tow company owner was paid to haul away an authentic Shelby Cobra body from a storage unit and, since the Cobra's owner didn't respond to lien letters sent, the tow owner got to keep it!

Philadephia Councilman Targets Rogue Towers

Here's the KYW Newsradio 1060 Philadelphia story:

by KYW's Mike Dunn

A Philadelphia Councilman on Thursday was to propose a bill targeting rogue tow truck operators -- specifically their practice of towing cars from driveways and lots even though the vehicles are legally parked.

Councilman-at-large Jim Kenney says most tow truck operators are on the up-and-up, but a handful regularly skirt the law:

"Its just an element of the industry that does not represent the majority of towers in the city, but an element of this industry that are basically acting in a criminal way to steal people's cars and shake them down for money."

Kenney says their latest scam is to tow cars that are parking perfectly legally on private lots or driveways:

"What we're dealing with now are rogue towers who go into a facility, take any random car they want and say it was illegally parked, with no record of who took the car, where it is, when it was taken. And people are just wandering around trying to find their car."

And the owner has to pay to get his car back:

"When they finally track down the car, then they go to this place locked down like Fort Knox, where you slip cash under a window to get your vehicle back. This is not the Wild West."

City attorneys believe it would be difficult to prosecute this as outright theft. So Kenney is introducing a bill that says no car can be towed from a lot or driveway unless it has been ticketed by police or the parking authority. He says this would amount to a neutral third party stipulating that the car truly should not be on the lot or driveway.

The parking authority, according to a top official there, has agreed to take part if the measure becomes law.

Violators, according to his bill, could be jailed for up to 90 days, though its unclear if that proposed provision could be enforced.

City controller Alan Butkovitz last fall released an audit accusing tow truck operators of routinely overcharging customers. City code currently limits tow truck fees to $150.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Runaway Dump Truck Falls Off TX Seawall








This story was sent to our attention by "Lil Tony" Socias of Tony & Bros. Wrecker Service, along with the photos of their recovery job. Here's the note Tony sent: "It only took one hour from call out to finish. It was done by a Peterbilt Century 1060 (60 ton) and a Peterbilt Century 5030 (30 ton). After the recovery, the truck was able to drive away from the accident. We've been in buisness since 1933, family-owned and operated by 3 generations."

Here's the story from The Galveston County Daily News:

GALVESTON — A runaway dump truck used to haul sand rolled backward across four lanes of traffic and off the edge of the 17-foot seawall on Monday afternoon.

Eric Lopez, who drives the dump truck for E&R Melgar Trucking, said he parked the vehicle about 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot at Gorditas Mexican restaurant, 712 Seawall Blvd., and went inside to eat lunch.

Soon after, he was interrupted when police went into the restaurant asking for the driver of the truck, he said.

While Lopez was inside Gorditas, the dump truck rolled out of the parking lot, across Seawall Boulevard and tipped off the edge of the seawall.

It fell into an empty beach area just west of Wings Beachwear, 519 Seawall Blvd., according to fire department reports. No one was injured in the incident.

Lopez, who said he thought he had put the parking brake on, said he didn’t realize the truck had rolled away until police told him.

On Monday afternoon, firefighters blocked off the eastbound lane on Seawall Boulevard as a tow truck yanked the dump truck from its perch on the edge of the seawall. The truck, which Lopez said he had been hauling sand to reconstruct the beach in front of the seawall, was removed by 2:30 p.m. and hauled off.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Farewell, Friend


Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 70-year-old Ken Fife, owner of Dick's Towing and active member of the Towing & Recovery Association of Washington. Fife died on Mar. 26 after a long battle with heart disease. Here's a story about a tribute to him:
WENATCHEE — Ken Fife’s tow-truck-driving friends from Puget Sound were headed for his funeral here Friday when they ran into an unexpected complication. Snow on mountain passes forced them to go to work.

Up to 20 tow trucks from Seattle and surrounding cities were expected to take part in a tow-truck funeral procession honoring Fife, owner of Dicks’s Towing and a leader in the state’s towing industry. But many of drivers and their rigs were needed to rescue skidded vehicles in the wet, heavy snow that blanketed the cross-mountain highways Friday morning.

“Kenny would have loved the irony of this,” said Mike Walcker, director of the Towing & Recovery Association of Washington. “He would have understood completely.”

With emergency lights flashing, about 20 trucks from Chelan County and Eastern Washington participated in leading a long procession of vehicles from Wenatchee over the Odabashian Bridge to East Wenatchee’s Evergreen Memorial Park. Dozens of friends, relatives and business associates attended Fife’s church and graveside services.

Fife, 70, died March 26 after a long battle with heart disease. Following a varied career in furniture sales and interior design, he began working for Dick’s Service in the early 1970s. By 1978, he and wife Jeannie had bought the towing operation. For the next 30 years, Fife worked to support and promote the towing industry, serving as president of the state towing association in the 1980s, all the while running his growing towing businesses in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.

“He was the kind of guy that’d keep you on your toes,” said Teri Hopkins, who’s worked for Fife for 14 years at Dick’s Towing and as manager for the last year. “He had high expectations and wanted everyone to meet them.”

But that didn’t mean he wasn’t thoughtful or caring, she added. “Almost everyone one of us — each employee — has had troubles at one time or another, and Kenny was always there to help. We were a pretty tight group, and he always made sure we were doing OK.”

She thought for a minute, eyes cast downward. “It’s as if he’s always been part of my life. I’m going to miss him, totally.”

Nathan Ogle, a tow-truck driver for two years at Dicks, said Fife remained in charge of the company even through his illness. “Sick or not, he made sure the job got done,” said Ogle. “Even in the end, he’d show up at work using a cane or crutches or a walker. He just had to make sure things were getting done right.”

Out in the parking lot, Ray Caveness, manager of Randy’s Towing, warmed up his big rig’s engine for the upcoming tow-truck procession to honor Fife. “Ken was a friendly but tough competitor,” said Caveness. “No question, though, that the industry is going to miss him — he was very supportive, very involved, a very respected member of the towing industry.”

Mike Irwin: 665-1179

irwin@wenatcheeworld.com

Tow Needs Tow in MA


CLINTON — The rain has created plenty of problems in Clinton in recent days. On Water Street, a tow truck that had been parked at Atlantic Auto Body dropped into a sink hole that had been created by the overflowing Nashua River.

The water receded, revealing a tow truck in need of a tow. Pictured, the truck's plight was pondered this morning by its owner and others. (From www.telegram.com)

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 60-year-old Ronald L. Langhofer of Cassoday, KS, who was killed Mar. 31 when a train struck his truck. Langhofer was the owner of Ron's Service and Towing for many years. Here's the Witchita Eagle story:

Butler County authorities have released the name of the man killed when a train struck his truck late Wednesday night near Cassoday.

Ronald L. Langhofer, 60, of Cassoday was killed when he drove in front of a BNSF freight train at the intersection of K-177 and Northeast 140th Street at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy said.

The train was traveling south at about 55 miles an hour as it approached the intersection, authorities have said.

Members of the train crew said they saw the pickup sitting by the side of Northeast 140th. When the lead engine was about 500 feet from the crossing, the pickup drove onto the tracks in front of the train, they told investigators.

The train was unable to stop, Murphy said, and upon impact pushed the pickup about 4,000 feet south of the crossing. The train was using its warning devices and went into braking mode when it struck the pickup.

Investigators are still reviewing information in the case, Murphy said Friday.

Langhofer owned and operated Ron's Service and Towing in Cassoday for many years. During that time, he was the towing service contacted by law enforcement officials for vehicles on the Kansas Turnpike and also in northeastern Butler County.

Miller Industries Turns 20!


Seems to be a banner year for the towing industry... Towing & Recovery Footnotes celebrates our 20th year and so does Miller Industries. Here's their press release:
Miller Industries is proud to announce that this year marks its 20th anniversary in the manufacturing of towing and recovery equipment. Since its beginnings in mid-April 1990, Miller Industries has continued to grow as a world leader in towing and recovery manufacturing under the well-known brands of Century, Vulcan, Chevron, Challenger, Champion, Eagle, Holmes, Jige and Boniface.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company is excited to share in its celebration and say thank you to all its customers who have helped lead to Miller Industries' success. As a result, Miller Industries will be hosting a number of special events and anniversary celebrations throughout the year, starting with the upcoming 2010 Florida Tow Show in Orlando on April 15-18.

“We at Miller Industries are really looking forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary,” said Vice President of Marketing Randy Olson. “We can't thank our customers enough for their support over the years, but we're sure going to try. We've planned some exciting new events that will take place throughout the year. We don't want to give anything away, but we think that all our customers will be thrilled with what we have planned for Florida, and at many other shows throughout the season leading up to November and the AT Expo in Baltimore.”

In addition to its headquarters and manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Miller Industries also has facilities in Greeneville, Tennessee, Hermitage and Mercer,Pennsylvania, Thetford, England and Revigny, France. For more information on Miller Industries and the 20th anniversary, please log on to www.millerind.com

Friday, April 2, 2010

Everyday OK Tow Hero


Round of applause to Matt McBride, a driver for Express Towing of Moore, OK, for helping stop a high-speed chase! Here's the News 9 story:
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A tow truck driver's story of a wild ride was no April Fool's Day prank.

On Thursday afternoon, Matt McBride said he was on his way to assist a motorist when he suddenly found himself in the middle of a high-speed chase along I-44 in Oklahoma City. McBride, a driver for Express Towing in Moore, said he knew he had to do something.

"I was like well, you're going to get stopped. Somehow you're going to get stopped bud," McBride said.

McBride used his tow truck to help block the truck eluding troopers and police.

"He never hit my truck, and he ended up stopping," McBride said.

The driver of the speeding truck, Joshua Graham, was first spotted by police speeding through school zones in Blanchard and refused to stop. The chase went from Blanchard to Newcastle and ended in Oklahoma City.

"I really want to thank that tow truck driver," said Blanchard Police Chief Tom Linn. "He really helped us."

Back at the office, McBride's boss wasn't buying the story.

"We didn't believe him," said Express Towing Manager Russell Anderson. "It's April Fools Day and I said there's no way."

Anderson said his drivers had been pranking him all day and refused to be the butt of another joke, but Anderson finally believed him after hearing reports of the chase on the radio.

"I'm very proud of him," Anderson said.

McBride said in his line of work he sees what happens when police pursuits end tragically. It's why he did what he did, and he said he would do it all over again.

The suspect, Joshua Graham, is facing a long list of charges including theft, speeding, eluding police and reckless driving. Police said after they took him into custody he was taken to a hospital to be checked out. Chief Linn said during the chase he likely took prescription medicines that belonged to the owner of the truck he allegedly stole.

Nice Pics, Good Story on OH Tower!




Kudos to writer Matthew Rink for a great story and to photographer Kevin Whitlock for a set of nice pics! Here's the story from The Independent:
By MATTHEW RINK
Posted Apr 01, 2010 @ 10:49 PM

Dan Reed waited with arms crossed as the city’s first responders hustled to rescue the woman trapped in the upside-down truck.

Forty feet below him, down a rocky bank of the Tuscarawas River, rested the smashed-up, red, Ford F150. With its underbelly exposed, Reed, his two brothers, Chuck and Tom, and son, Ryan, faced the routine challenge of clearing the wreckage.


As soon as the Thursday morning accident victim was transported from the scene, Dan and his family crew got to work.


Two extra, heavy-duty tow trucks, perched atop the Cherry Road bridge and the Ohio 21 intersection, spit out strands of metal rope to the truck below. Dan grabbed and hooked the chains onto the truck’s steel skeleton.


He motioned to the guys above.


The tow truck’s few tugs were enough to align the red Ford, top down in a field of grass, for an eventual lift.


What looked complicated and cumbersome for the crowd that gathered along the bridge and bike path above, appeared to be old-hat for Dan and the family business.


Harold “Hendy” Reed founded the family business in 1958. It’s grown into a five-man operation with a fleet of 14 trucks. Dan learned the business when he was a teenager and has been at it ever since.


“We’ve all grown up in the business,” he said.


The company works mostly in Stark County and Northeast Ohio, but services several states. It handles site cleanup for the city on a rotating basis and does work for both the Stark County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio Highway Patrol.


In July 2008, Reed’s was called to Jackson Township, where a 100-plus-ton rolling mill bound for the Timken Co. in Canton got stuck attempting to negotiate a turn at Lafayette and High Mill Avenue.


Reed’s Towing used two of its extra, heavy duty tow trucks to pull the 150-foot-long, 20-foot-wide tractor trailer back onto the roadway.


On Thursday morning, the Reed brothers arrived at the intersection of Ohio 21 and Cherry Road prepared for some more heavy lifting. They flawlessly maneuvered the red Ford from its top to its side, and then back onto its four tires.


But instead of pulling it up the steep river bank, the tow truck hoisted it straight up some 40 feet and then back onto the street. The whole process took about 45 minutes.


“Nice job,” Massillon police Sgt. J.J. DiLoreto told Dan and his brothers after the successful lift.


“These guys really know what they are doing,” DiLoreto said. “They are the best. I’ve been on the job for 20-some years and when we have car accidents like this it’s good to know we have them in this city.”


The accident reminded Dan of the time years back when the company had to pull a vehicle from river waters below the Walnut Road bridge.


“At least this one wasn’t in the water,” he said. “We don’t do this type of job every day, but it is kind of routine.”

New Camaro SS Crash

I don't know who to credit for these photos since I received them in an email, but all I can say is "Wow!"

Recent single car accident in Cincinnati involving a new Camaro that hit a utility pole after losing control on an icy street...

Looking at the drivers side one would think it was relatively minor




...On the other hand!!!!!!!There was no Passenger and the driver suffered only minor scratches.....