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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Everyday Tow Hero In VA!

Round of applause to 17-year-old Alan Coleman of Kenny's Towing in Grundy, VA, for come to this little girl's rescue! Here's the story from www.tricities.com:

GRUNDY, Va. — Alan Coleman was working under a truck at Kenny’s Towing when he saw her: a toddler standing near the Coke machine, and apparently alone.
Worried about her safety, Coleman, who is 17, approached the little girl to ask where her family was. It was 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and there didn’t seem to be any adults with her. But as Coleman approached, 2-year-old Brenda Leeann Thacker darted across U.S. 460, apparently for the second time.
She was headed toward home on the other side of the highway, but the oncoming traffic was closing fast. And Coleman, seeing the danger, dashed after her.
Before he could reach the toddler she was hit twice by two different trucks – one passed over her completely after knocking her to the pavement. A second rolled over her left leg. When Coleman finally was able to pull the child into his arms, both were hit by another vehicle.
“I was just trying to get to her before a vehicle got to her,” Coleman said later.
Neither suffered life-threatening injuries, but Brenda suffered several broken bones and was hospitalized for a while. She’s now in a cast from the chest down and must return to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville every 10 days until the cast comes off in July, said her parents, Curtis “Bo” Thacker and Jessica Lowe.
Thacker said the UT physicians were astonished that Brenda survived being hit by two vehicles, but they predict she will heal without any lasting damage.
Thacker and Lowe were at their daughter’s side immediately after Coleman pulled her to safety. Thacker said people who saw the incident told him his daughter would have been crushed if Coleman had not pulled her out of the way at the very instant he did.
Brenda had been in her backyard with her mother and two siblings when the phone rang that afternoon. Mom was inside for only a minute, but when she returned Brenda was gone. Thacker was working less than a mile away at the Grundy radio station office of WMJD.
The toddler picked that moment to try to cross the busy roadway alone, a feat her family says she had never before attempted. She rounded the house to cross the few feet of road between her home and the service station.
Not long after, Coleman spotted her at the Coke machine.
“I was worried that she might take off,” he said.
When she did, he said, he followed without thought.
She was just a few feet from Coleman’s outreached hands when the first truck, traveling westbound, hit her. Coleman said he watched helplessly as the big truck hit the tiny child then continue on, straddling the toddler. As he continued to move toward her, another car hit him.
“I didn’t see what hit me,” he said, explaining that he was knocked backwards perhaps a dozen feet toward the building by the impact. It didn’t slow him down.
Coleman bounded back after the child, was lying in roadway nearest Kenny’s Towing. As the determined young man reached the injured girl, he was hit again.
“I think it was the same truck that ran over her,” Coleman said of the second impact for them both.
This time, Brenda’s left leg was run over by both the front and back tires of the truck, he said.
Coleman then was able to grab the child by her sides and pull her to safety. That’s when he was hit for the third time, with Brenda still in his arms, he said.
“The next thing I remember, I was laying on the ground holding her,” Coleman said. The dazed young man called 911 from his cell phone and waited on help to arrive.
“She took her little fingers and grabbed my hand,” Coleman said. “She rolled her head against me and held on till the ambulance got there.”
By then Thacker and Lowe had arrived and they asked their daughter why she had crossed the busy road. She gave her parents a one-word explanation: “pop.”
Thacker said they had taken her across the road to get a drink at Kenny’s service station recently and he believes she just wanted to get a Coke from the newly installed vending machine.
Brenda was transported by Mercy Ambulance Service to Riverview Elementary Middle School, where she was air-lifted to Holston Valley Medical Center. Both the upper and lower portions of the child’s leg were broken by the truck and she suffered a cracked pelvis and a torn muscle in her upper leg.
While on their way to the medical center, Thacker said, they were notified by cell phone that she needed to be transported to the UT Medical Center because Holston did not have the proper equipment to treat her.
Coleman suffered bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries and was not hospitalized.
But, Thacker said, Coleman took the brunt of the impact of that last collision, and that likely saved his child’s life. He and Lowe said they’re both very grateful for what Coleman did, adding that he possesses the bravery and ability to act that makes a man a hero.
An assistance fund has been set up for the family to help pay for the child’s medical expenses. Donations can be made at the Grundy National Bank in the name of Curtis Thacker, at P.O. Box 471, Grundy, Va.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ITRHFM News


        The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce its newest exhibit to the museum – your business! Just provide a DVD about your business or organization and it will be played during the museum's operating hours. This program is reserved for museum members only.
Viewing times may vary according to the level of participation and the museum is not able to guarantee days that features will play. However, the ITRHFM will provide at least 30 days of exposure throughout the year. The fee is $150.
This new program has a dual benefit: participating organizations are featured to museum visitors and the support allows the museum to continue to grow and expand. With 2011 being the "kick-off' year, the ITRHFM is also offering a limited viewing time during the 2011 Induction weekend at no additional cost. This is only a one time offer and will not be repeated in 2012. The set "annual" calendar for these DVDs will be from September to September every year hereafter.
If organizations are not able to produce their own DVD, the museum will be happy to help. Pictures can be emailed to the museum and the staff will create the DVD. The fee is based on the number of pictures submitted and all submissions will be reviewed and edited by the museum for inclusion on the DVD. The cost is $50 for up to 50 images; $75 for 51 to 75 images; $100 for 79 to 100 images.
The cost includes at least two advertising slides, as long as complete company information is provided along with a company logo. All pictures should be submitted via e-mail. If the organization is not able to provide scanned photos, the museum is able to help at no charge.
         Collector’s Edition DVD. The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce a new “exhibit” to the museum – a  DVD that will be a "collection" of the best of the best tow trucks throughout the world. The DVD will be played during the museum's operating hours and a limited number of copies will be available in the museum gift shop for sale. The retail price will be $20 per DVD.
Though participation is not limited to just museum members, purchasing a membership is requested. For inclusion on the DVD, the cost for non-museum members is $10 per photo; the cost for museum members is $5 per photo.
All submissions must be made no later than Aug. 15, 2011. All photos that are submitted will be reviewed and accepted by ITRHFM before being published.
All submissions must be made directly via e-mail to internationaltowingmuseum@comcast.net and accompanied by a signed release form by the organization submitting the picture authorizing ITRHFM to use the picture at their discretion.



For more information on either the Collector's Edition DVD or the “Spotlight” program, contact the Intemational Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum by phone 423-267-3132, fax 423-267-0867, email to internationaltowingmuseum@comcast.net or by mail to 3315 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408. The website is http://www.internationaltowingmuseum.org.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sad News From KY

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of R.L. Owens, 81, founder of Owens Auto Parts and Garage of Corbin, KY. He passed away on May 14. Here's the link to his obituary and and the note that we received from TRAA:

Sadly, we have lost another staunch TRAA supporter and great friend of the towing industry and its associations, R.L. Owens.  R.L. was founder of Owens Auto Parts and Garage in Corbin, Kentucky. He was a member of several local and state boards and a dedicated deacon in the Central Baptist Church.
In a tribute by Scott Burrows, he wrote: "Sometime last year, my last visit with RL was somewhat painful, for many reasons.  Both he and my father had begun suffering memory loss problems with their advancing age.  Dad and I stopped by the business and were quickly directed to visit RL and Hettie at their house...we were met with open arms and broad smiles from them both.  As we visited together, I realized how fortunate I was to be in the presence of two men who had accomplished recoveries with only rudimentary equipment, had rescued motorists and truckers with only limited mechanical wreckers, and had enjoyed the success that only a "hard-day's night" can provide.  As they shared "war stories" and matched humorous asides with each other, I could only imagine how hard they must have worked with the limited resources that operators had access to in the early years of towing."
RL's funeral was held on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, at the Central Baptist Church in Corbin, KY.  In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted at Central Baptist Church and Kentucky Tech Corbin Area Center, 1909 S. Snyder St. , Corbin, KY 40701

News From SWTOP: Towing & VSF Clean Up Bill Signed by Governor Perry


Here's the release:
June 17th, 2011Austin, TX.......
Governor Rick Perry signed HB 3510, the Towing and Vehicle Storage Facility industries Clean Up Bill, that would correct many problems facing the industries and offering a welcome relief to many owners who have been awaiting some changes to current law and rules.
Here are the changes as a result of the passage of HB 3510:
The Storage Lien requirement for 72 days has been shortened to 45 days. This will allow VSF's to rid of abandoned vehicles faster and make more room in their facilities for more vehicles.
The law used to only require the payment of "charges associated with the delivery or storage of the vehicle" by the owner/operator. It now reads "charges for services regulated under this chapter or Chapter 2308, including charges for an incident management tow, as defined by Section 2308.002."
The definition for "Incident Management" has changed to read: "Incident management tow" means any tow of a vehicle in which the tow truck is summoned to the scene of a traffic accident or to an incident, including the removal of a vehicle, commercial cargo, and commercial debris from an accident or incident scene."
The language was changed in the section requiring certain identification for release of vehicles to read as follows:  "present valid photo identification issued by this state, another state, a federal agency, or a foreign government." So the question of whether or not to accept a Mexican Driver's License is now resolved. You may accept these licenses without worry now.
Homes that do not charge for parking on their property are no longer required to post a sign on their property to have an unauthorized vehicle removed. But if the home charges anything for parking on their property, they must post signs.
TDLR was given a little discrepancy on the separation of rules for each type of tow license, allowing for certain rules not to have to be unnecessarily placed on those that do require or need certain equipment, etc.
A section was added that would allow TDLR to require refunding of fees that are over the fees of a political subdivision or over the PPI fee cap.
Booting companies were given the same contractual rights to patrol commercial and private property accounts as tow companies have.
The language on a tow sign was corrected to relate to the type of towing or booting that is performed on the property. The signs may now read:
a)    "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed or Booted at Owner's or Operator's Expense"; or
b)    "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed at Owner's or Operator's Expense"; or
c)    "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Booted at Owner's or Operator's Expense"

The times of enforcement section has changed to allow for the different types of towing and/or booting as well:
a)    "Towing and Booting Enforced"; or
b)    "Towing Enforced"; or
c)    "Booting Enforced".
The tow signs now are not considered a “thing of value” under the Monetary Gain provisions of Section 2308.401 for tow signs under Section 2308.301. Signs may now be supplied and installed by towing companies to commercial and multi-family residential properties.
Notice, by the Justice of Peace Courts, or other courts conducting Tow Hearings, to the law enforcement agency that authorized the removal of the vehicle is sufficient as notice to the political subdivision in which the law enforcement agency is located.
Justice of Peace Courts, or other courts conducting Tow Hearings, may award court costs and attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
The language in the law now reinforces the right of law enforcement to enforce the towing and VSF laws and rules.
Section 2308.206, Required Filing, that outlines the requirement to report Non-Consent Tow Fee Schedules by January 31st of each year has been repealed.
These new laws take effect September 1, 2011.
TDLR shall adopt rules to implement the changes in law made by this Act to Chapters 2303 and 2308, Occupations Code, not later than January 1, 2012.

The Towing, Storage, and Booting Advisory board will be meeting soon to start working on rules to go with the new laws.  Please watch your email for updates on the rule making process. You may read the full bill HERE!

Thank You!
Jess Horton
Executive Director
Southwest Tow Operator

Heroes of the Highways - A New Social Networking Site for the Towing Industry

I just joined today! Here's some information from the site:

About Heroes
THE MISSION OF
HEROES OF THE HIGHWAYS
OUR PURPOSE:
To provide a platform for the towing professional where they can share their stories, concerns, their good days and bad, their successes and heartaches with people who truly understand what it means to be a towing professional and to be a force for positive action within our industry. To enhance the team spirit amongst all towers and foster the knowledge that we are a family and that we take care of our own.
OUR COLLEAGUES:
To have a symbiotic relationship with all towing associations and organizations that contribute to the betterment of our Industry.
TRAINING & EDUCATION:
To work with and support educational programs that enhance the level of knowledge, skill and safety of the towing professional.
OUR COMMUNITY:
To offer a channel of communication between towers, towing associations and others for times of crisis and special needs, as well as a network of communications for services to local communities.



WHAT IS HEROES OF THE HIGHWAYS?
Heroes of the Highways is dedicated to the professional men and women of the towing industry. Our goal is to see Heroes of the Highways become a catalyst to encourage the building of relationships and the sharing of ideas for the betterment of the towing industry.
In order to do this, we have split our website into three distinct sections. The section you are visiting now is the Heroes Headquarters. Inside the Headquarters you can find: the latest towing news, information about associations and training opportunities, our mission as Heroes of the Highways, and more.
Our second section is the Heroes Hangout. The Heroes Hangout is a fully developed online community specific to our industry. Create your profile, join groups and sign up for events, share ideas in our forums, and form connections with other members of the industry around the world.
The final section of the website is the Heroes Store. This whole venture began because we didn't feel there was enough to choose from to show pride in our profession. We're attempting to rectify this problem. Come into our store and see the towing related T-shirts and other items we've started with. So if you like this website and want to support us, or if you just want an awesome shirt or hat, check out the store.


WHAT KIND OF MERCHANDISE CAN I FIND IN THE STORE?
Heroes of the Highways is all about showing everyone how important the towing industry is. We've started out with a few T-shirts and other items, but with all of the ideas we have, our inventory will always be increasing. Keep coming back to see what,s new. Got ideas? Submit them here.


FOUNDER & CEO
Heroes of the Highways was founded by a fellow tower just like you. With over twenty years in the industry, Perry Shusta knows about Towing. He is currently President of the California Tow Truck Association, the Founder and CEO of Arrowhead Towing out of the California Bay Area, and is an instructor for the Heavy Duty Certification program within the California Tow Truck Association. Perry has been retained as an expert witness for towing related lawsuits and has consulted for military manufacturers regarding combat zone recovery vehicles. He was instrumental in the re-write of California Vehicle Code 22658 and continues to work on improving towing legislation. However, Perry’s main passion is and always will be behind the wheel of a tow truck.

AAA Recognizes Miller Industires With Their Preferred Supplier Hall of Fame Award

Add caption
Here's the press release from Miller:

At the recent AAA/CAA Automotive Conference held in Phoenix, AZ, Miller Industries, the world leader in towing and recovery equipment, was presented AAA’s Hall of Fame award among peer AAA Automotive Preferred Suppliers.
 “I’m pleased to present this award to Miller Industries for their strong brand and dedication to providing value and quality equipment to AAA/CAA fleets and service providers,” stated Vice President of AAA Automotive & Financial Services Marshall L. Doney, who was on hand with Senior Vice President Mark Brown, to present the award to Miller Industries Vice President of Marketing Randy Olson. “Miller Industries has been a valued partner for AAA for the past six years and we look forward our continued relationship.”
AAA’s relationship with Miller Industries also extends into motorsports, with AAA’s well-known and respected logo appearing on International Speedway Corporation (ISC) trackside safety and recovery vehicles provided by Miller Industries. The AAA brand also appears on track signs and in racing programs.
For more information about Miller Industries, visit millerind.com.

Sad News From LA

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Guy E. Benitez, 70, owner of Guy's Towing in Lafayette, Louisiana, past President of the Towing & Recovery Association of America and Towing & Recovery Professionals of Louisiana, TT Publications Inc. stockholder, and Hall of Fame Class of 1987.

Here is his obituary:

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 25, 2011 in the Delhomme Chapel of the Flowers for Guy E. Benitez, 70, who passed away on June 18, 2011 at 11:50PM in Texas.
Reverend Mike Walker, Pastor of East Bayou Baptist Church, will conduct the funeral services.
Burial will take place in Lafayette Memorial Park Cemetery.
Mr. Benitez, a resident of Duson, LA, was the son of the late Raphael Benitez and the former Francis(Fannie) Flautt . Guy was educated in the Parochial schools of Rolla, Missouri and St. John's Military Academy in Salinas, Kansas. Locally he attended Lafayette High School, Class of 1958 and the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He has been a founder, charter member, officer and director in nearly every organization in his industry, including Towing and Recovery Professionals of Louisiana, Towing and Recovery Association of America, Louisiana Motor Transport, Louisiana Auto-Truck Recyclers and T.T. Publications, Inc. of Orlando, Florida which publishes TOW TIMES magazine and industry brochures and newsletters worldwide. His business, Guy's Towing Service, Inc. received the 1985 award of "The Most Attractive Place of Business" (Large Fleet) in the United States. He has received the "Top Performer" and "Dealer of the Year" awards from Shell Oil Company. The Sixth District Association Presidents which includes Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, presented him a "Special Service" award in 1981 for his personal dedication and founding of towing associations in these states. He received the "National Citizenship" and "Distinguished Service" awards, the highest awards presented annually by the Towing and Recovery Association of America. In 1987, Mr. Benitez was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame. Inductees are chosen by Trustees of the HALL OF FAME, from among people who have made unusual contributions to his industry, separate and apart from the efforts made in their own business. Elevation to this HALL OF FAME is the most prestigious recognition and honor in the industry. Mr. Benitez loved a good game of cards or dominoes. He was an avid outdoorsman who hunted and fished as often as possible. He enjoyed traveling in his RV with his family and friends. Saltwater fishing, however was his passion. A Sailfish or a Marlin breaking the water was probably his favorite sight on the planet.
He is survived by his wife, Dana Foreman Benitez; two daughters Yvonne Bell and Jeanne Benitez Manuel and two step sons Bert King and Ken King; seven grandchildren, Addison King, Elliot Bell, Heather King, Brittany King, Clayton Rayon, Katie King and Noah King and one Great Grandchild, Wyatt King; two sisters, Margo Benitez LeCompte and Lita Benitez Erny.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
The family requests that visiting hours be observed at Delhomme Chapel of the Flowers on Friday, June 24, 2011 from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm in Lafayette.
Memorial contributions can be made in the name of Benitez to American Diabetes Association, U. L. Athletics, International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.
International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum
Attn:  Shelly or Cheryl, 3315 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408-3052, Phone # 423-267-3132
Donations can be specified to either the museum or the Survivor Fund.
Pallbearers will be Stan Ware, John J. Erny III, Guy Ware, Kevin Landry, Ronney Spell, Rick Baker, Mark Erny and Marshall Roberts.
Personal condolences may be sent to the Benitez family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com.
Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, is in charge of funeral arrangements.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

OH Judge's ruling erases most of $1 million award in towing lawsuit

Here's the story from The Athens News:

A judge who last year heard a lawsuit by a towing company against three Glouster village officials, which resulted in a whopping $1.04 million jury award against the defendants, has issued a ruling that leaves only $130,000 of that judgment standing – one-eighth of the original amount.

Judge Michael Ward found that a jury in Athens County Common Pleas Court acted properly when it hit the three defendants – Glouster Mayor Robert Funk, Police Chief Roger Taylor and former mayor David Angle – with $130,000 worth of combined damages for lost profits and "consequential damages," based on their having deliberately interfered with the ability of JD's Towing to get village towing jobs.
Ward, however, granted the defendants new trials on various other damage awards including all punitive damages that a jury imposed after a nine-day trial last year. In doing so, he also vacated the damage amounts associated with those categories.
Taken together, the damages that the judge essentially set aside add up to more than $910,000. (In most cases Ward did not, however, agree to replace the jury's judgment with one of his own, or to lower the damages to any specific amount, as the defendants had also asked him to do. Instead, he basically said that the damage issues in question will have to be the subject of another trial.)
After last year's trial, the jury assessed Angle and Funk $40,000 each in lost-profit and consequential damages, while Taylor was assessed $50,000 in these categories, adding up to a total of $130,000. Ward ruled that this much of the jury's damages judgment is valid and should stand.
Based on the judge's June 8 decision on some defense motions, however, both Angle and Funk's individual damage amounts now drop by $225,000 made up of $150,000 in punitive damages and $75,000 in compensatory damages for causing the defendants emotional distress.
Taylor's judgment drops by $460,600 $300,000 in punitive damages and $160,600 in various compensatory damages for emotional distress and other categories.
The owners of JD's Towing, David Dolan, Jr., and his wife, Jennifer Dolan, originally sued Glouster and Athens County officials in early 2005. They claimed that the company had been bumped from a list of tow companies used by Glouster, possibly in retaliation for their having refused to give a reduced rate for a towing job to a friend of Angle's.
The county was dropped as a defendant in the suit in 2006, but the village remained. After a trial that began in late September 2010, the eight-member jury came back with the award of more than $1 million, after finding that the three defendants deliberately and maliciously interfered with the business relationship between JD's and the village.
The attorney representing the village officials, Randall L. Lambert, quickly filed motions seeking to have the verdict thrown out, or at least to have the award amount reduced. He argued that the jurors were improperly influenced by the "passion and prejudice" of the Dolans, who he said portrayed themselves misleadingly as victims of the "big bad government."
In his recent ruling, Ward actually denied many of the types of relief asked for by Lambert. For example, he rejected a defense motion for "remittur," which had asked him to knock down the size of the damage awards, and he also refused most of Lambert's requests that the judge issue his own judgment to replace that of the jury. (Ward did, however, grant a "judgment notwithstanding the verdict" in one instance, involving the jury's finding that Taylor interfered with the business relationship between JD's and the county.)
The business end of Ward's decision is in the section where he granted the defendants' motions for new trial on the issues of compensatory damages for emotional distress, and for all punitive damages. Punitive damages alone accounted for $600,000 of the judgment against the village officials; with the emotional-distress damages and a few other categories of damages applying only to Taylor thrown in, the judge effectively wiped out seven-eighths of the jury's award, by granting the new trials.
In refusing to grant a "judgment notwithstanding the verdict" regarding the jury's finding that the defendants interfered with JD's business relationship with Glouster, Ward found that there was enough evidence presented at trial for the jury to conclude that this did take place.
Regarding punitive damages, Ward likewise refused to grant a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, finding that "there was sufficient evidence for the jury to conclude that the defendants' conduct was outrageous because of their reckless indifference to the plaintiffs' rights or intentionally and wantonly violated the plaintiff's rights," thereby justifying an award of punitive damages.
After making clear, however, that he believes he's not legally justified in either rejecting the jury's verdict or reducing its award amounts, Ward went on to grant the defendants a new trial on the punitive, emotional-distress and other damages mentioned above.
He concluded that the jury's finding that the Dolans had suffered $65,000 in lost profits was "not excessive" and is "sustained by the weight of the evidence." An additional $230,000 awarded for emotional distress, however ($75,000 each from Angle and Funk, plus $80,000 from Taylor), "is excessive and appears to have been awarded under the influence of passion and prejudice." He noted that the emotional-distress award is 3.5 times the size of the lost-profits amount, and concluded that "the jury may have punished the defendants because (a village) officer did not give logical reasons for not calling (JD's) for tows."
The punitive damages, likewise, the judge found, "are excessive and appear to have been awarded under the influence of passion and prejudice."
The Dolans' attorney, Robert C. Paxton, meanwhile, has filed his own motions, seeking to make the defendants pay at least the interest on the damages while the dispute is being worked out, and also to pay his attorney fees. A hearing on these issues is scheduled for Aug. 15.

TX Governor Approves "Move Over for Tow Trucks" Law, Goes Into Effect Sept. 1

Here's the press release from Southwest Tow Operators:

Austin, TX.... Governor Rick Perry Signed HB 378, the Texas Move Over for Tow Trucks Bill, making it law that passing motorists must now Move Over into the next lane, or Slow Down to 20 MPH if in the lane closest to the Tow Truck. This law was pushed by the towing industry since the last legislative session in 2009, and has taken 2 very strong years of educating Texas Legislators of the dangers that Tow Operators experience on the public roadways, some having paying the ultimate sacrifice of death. Texas has ranked among the highest in the country of "Struck-Bys" and has lead the death rate in recent years.
Many families, friends, co-workers, and employers attended hearings on the Bill introduced by Representative Ryan Guillen of South Texas. He led a very strong line of supporting Legislators that helped strengthen even more support from the House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. At times, the testimony was very emotional and drew many tears from the attending audience.
HB 378 passed the House unanimously and the Senate with only 1 No vote.
The bill takes Effect September 1, 2011!
There are two issues that will be addressed in the next few months, and into the rules making process. The first deals with the Lighting Requirements for Licensed Tow Trucks. We may get a specific and new lighting requirements on tow trucks that will expectantly bring much debate and opinions. We will be looking for alot of industry input to assist with this.
The second issue is one of great importance and that is Awareness! In order for this law to be effective, all tow operators, their friends and families, and any media outlets we can get must put the word out there that this is the Law and ask for the general public and motorists to be aware of this law and respect it. Awareness starts with our industry and lives will undoubtedly count on everyone spreading the message!

Here is a copy of HB 378:
AN ACT

relating to stationary tow trucks on a highway; providing a penalty.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1.Section 545.157, Transportation Code, is amended
by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (d) to read as
follows:
(a)On approaching a stationary authorized emergency
vehicle using visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections
547.305 and 547.702, or a stationary tow truck using equipment
authorized by Section 547.305(d), an operator, unless otherwise
directed by a police officer, shall:
(1)vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle
or tow truck when driving on a highway with two or more lanes
traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle or tow truck; or
(2)slow to a speed not to exceed:
(A)20 miles per hour less than the posted speed
limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or
(B)five miles per hour when the posted speed
limit is less than 25 miles per hour.
(d)In this section, "tow truck" means a vehicle that:
(1)has been issued a permit under Subchapter C,
Chapter 2308, Occupations Code; and
(2)is operated by a person licensed under Subchapter D,
Chapter 2308, Occupations Code.

SECTION 2.Section 545.301(b), Transportation Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(b)This section does not apply to an operator of:
(1)a vehicle that is disabled while on the paved or
main traveled part of a highway if it is impossible to avoid
stopping and temporarily leaving the vehicle on the highway; [or]
(2)a vehicle used exclusively to transport solid,
semisolid, or liquid waste operated at the time in connection with
the removal or transportation of solid, semisolid, or liquid waste
from a location adjacent to the highway; or
(3)a tow truck, as defined by Section 545.157(d),
that is performing towing duties under Chapter 2308, Occupations
Code.
SECTIONA3.Section 547.305(a), Transportation Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(a)A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than
a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or
emergency vehicle, tow truck, or school bus warning lamp, that
projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower
shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of
the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from
the vehicle.
SECTION 4.This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

Father, Son Charged In Killing Of Tow Truck Driver

Here's the story from the Washington Times:

A father and son arrested in the killing of a tow truck driver in Prince George’s County are thought to have targeted the man after the father discovered that the woman he was living with was having an affair with the man, according to police charging documents.
Anton DeMichael Agurs, 43, of Capitol Heights, was found fatally shot and his body set on fire June 7 in a secluded entrance to Oxon Hill Farm.
Mr. Agurs had called his lover to tell her that he was responding to an odd location for a call for tow service. Later, when she was unable to reach him, she drove to the area he had described and found his body, charging documents recently filed by Prince George's County police in District Court say. At the scene, she told officers that she recently had fought with the man she was living with, Andre Sanders, 40, after he found out about her relationship with Mr. Agurs and that she thought he might have something to do with the slaying.
Less than a half hour after the woman found Mr. Agurs‘ body, two suspects were arrested in the District.
Police stopped Andre Sanders, of the 600 block of Audrey Lane in Oxon Hill, and his son Christopher Damon Sanders, 24, of the 1100 block of Allison Street in Northwest, for a traffic violation. An officer noted that Andre Sanders appeared extremely nervous, smelled like gasoline and had a tear in his shirt like he had been in a fight, charging documents say. The officer searched the car and found a .9mm Taurus handgun. Both father and son were arrested on gun possession charges.
Ballistics tests confirmed the gun found in the car was the same gun used to shoot Mr. Agurs, charging documents say.
No working number could be located for family of Christopher or Andre Sanders and no attorney is listed in court documents as representing them. Both are being held without bond on first- and second-degree murder charges and have a hearing scheduled for July 14.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sad, Sad News From MD

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Anton Agurs, owner of Sanctified Towing, who was found shot to death on June 7. Here's the story from www.myfoxdc.com:
OXON HILL, Md. - Alethea Agurs can remember everything from Tuesday night. It wasn't unusual for Anton Agurs to get a call for a tow late at night. He owned his own tow truck, naming the business, Sanctified Towing. He came up with the name five years ago in bible study and ran the business from their District Heights home.

"I don't know exactly what the job was. He received a call to do a tow and he left maybe a little before ten [p.m.] to go and do a tow job," said his wife.

An hour and a half after he left, Anton Agurs was found dead alongside his tow truck. His wife says he had been shot.

"I'm truly going to miss him. He would do anything for anybody. A family man. All he wanted to do was work for his family. Take care of his family," his wife said.

Prince George's County Police found Anton's body around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, just outside Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm, a national park by the Potomac River in Oxon Hill. The family says the truck's lights were still flashing. Police say they got a call about a man unconscious in the road. No one seems to know why he was there or if he ever made it to his tow call.

The park closes at 4:30 p.m. The gates are locked and employees leave. There is nothing else around except for the cars speeding by on the beltway nearby.

"This is truly a senseless act. There's nothing I know that he did to deserve this," said Alethea.

She says Anton was always careful about who he towed. He worked with auto repair shops, through contracts, did emergency roadside assistance, referrals and repeat business. Anton avoided repossessing cars or other types of towing that might lead to angry confrontations.

Police are still investigating a motive and are not saying if anything was stolen.

"Was it a set up? It very well could have been. Why? I couldn't tell you," his wife said, only guessing what might have happened.

Hardest of all has been explaining the murder to their two children.

"I have a 13-year-old daughter and I have a one-year-old son. So of course he doesn't understand this. My daughter is heartbroken," she said.

Anton Agurs’ son is named Anton too. What he understands is daddy is gone. Now his family finds strength in what he would tell them.

"Be strong. Live life. Take care of my children. I got your back. It will be alright," Alethea Agurs can hear her husband saying.

He was a husband, a father, the life of this family now gone.

Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/maryland/tow-truck-driver-found-shot-to-death-in-oxon-hill-060811#.TfDQNVvH_cs#ixzz1Omr9p3rF

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Chock From In The Ditch


Here's the press release:
In The Ditch Towing Products, a leader in quality towing equipment in the towing industry is announcing the release of its new Traveling Speed® Chock. The Traveling Speed® Chock helps to prevent vehicles from rolling off the deck of a car carrier during loading and unloading. The Chock travels up the deck with the vehicle and will help prevent the vehicle from rolling off the deck should you have a catastrophic failure of the winch or wire rope.
Here are some additional key points to consider:
You can set the Chock up to work from Passenger or Driver Side of the truck.
Light weight design is proven with over 2 years of field testing by towers.
Easily adjust to fit most passenger vehicles.
The Rubber Chock is siped for better holding ability.

More information is available at www.InTheDitch.com 

Footnotes' Digital Edition for June Now Available!


Your June 2011 digital edition of Towing and Recovery Footnotes is now available. Simply click here to instantly begin reading the issue, or click on the features below to read specific articles.
  • Ethics Issues. Honesty, openness, quality work, a problem-solving attitude, and customer care and service are key to success in every business, and especially in towing and recovery, an industry still plagued by poor image issues mostly due to bad apples who steal towers' business and cheat customers. Here's a reminder that earning a reputation for ethical behavior can make all the difference in a tough business.Page 1
  • Ms. Fix-It. After earning her chops working for others in auto maintenance and repair, Pam Oakes started her own Florida auto repair business and made it a success and an award-winner. Now she's written a helpful guidebook for consumers called Car Care For The Clueless.Page 11
  • What's Your Sign? Having an attention-getting logo and eye-catching truck art is part of good marketing, but it is also important to know your state and community rules for sign size and wording, particularly if you are in private property towing. Here are tips for towers on smart signage.Page 5
  • The Advisor. The towPartners Advisor appears monthly in Footnotes. Advisor features advice in all areas of towing, from technical details to business operations. towPartners also offers towers the opportunity for great discounts from many equipment and service vendors. Page 13
Also in this issue: A look at some progress for Move Over lawsaround the nation; the latest in new equipment from Miller Industries; the schedule of upcoming tow shows and education, such as Wes Wilburn's training schedule; and much more. Also, we offer greatcombo print/online advertising deals that will increase product visibility at a savings over the usual ad rates.
If you cannot click on any of the links above, please copy and paste this URL into your web browser:
June 2011 Issue: http://www.flashedition.com/publication?i=70618
We hope you enjoy the June issue of Towing & Recovery Footnotes..
Sincerely,Bill Candler 
Editor

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Friends, family mourn drivers in ironic accident - WTKR

Friends, family mourn drivers in ironic accident - WTKR

Sad, Sad News From VA - Two Towers Killed

Here's the story from WAVY.com:

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - The two tow truck drivers who died in an accident Wednesday morning in Newport News have been identified.
Warren Bills, a driver for Superior Towing Service, and John Douglas Patrick, who worked for Big Boy's Towing & Recovery, got into a collision on Interstate 64 eastbound at Oyster Point Road.
Emergency crews arrived to find a mangled tow truck, another tow truck with a car on the back, and the two two truck drivers dead.
The owner of the car being towed by Superior was standing on the side of the road and was not hurt.
Traffic came to a complete standstill at around 7 a.m. All lanes were not cleared until after 1 p.m.
The two tow truck drivers who died in the collision actually knew each other.
Warren Bills loved to ride Harleys. Patrick loved to build, fix, and race cars at Langley.
For reasons unknown, but possibly medical, Patrick slammed into Bills while Bills was loading a car.
Darrell Snyder knew both Patrick and Bills. “I've known that family a long time...Pat was like Warren, they'd both give you the shirt off his back," said Synder.
The two men loved their families and adored the grandchildren.
Patrick's son John said, "“He was a great man, a great father, a great grandfather” as he paused to wipe his eyes from the sadness of the day.
Robert Christner hired Patrick back in 1976. They were best friends ever since.
“This is the saddest day of my life, and if you ever had a best friend it was Pat," said Christner.
The sound of Harleys resonated through Bills neighborhood. His friends had come home to let his family know they were near.
Bills' family was too devastated to talk so Snyder, the faithful friend, spoke for them.
“Warren was tough. Not much stuck to him. He took things with a grain of salt. He loved his motorcycles, his kids, and grandkids," said Snyder.
No one knows why Patrick lost control of his tow truck. His family thinks a medical condition may be the reason.
Patrick had a heart transplant eight years ago. His son Doug said, "I am really sorry...my whole family is sorry. We both lost good men. It was a tragic accident."