The Week's Features
Kenworth reaches milestone in Canadian plant
Towman’s daughter inspires company’s colorful branding
Issue will discuss skip-tracing, LPRs, breach of peace, more
Wireless truck bar system features many directional functions
Rotators get job done on front-end loaders
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Seminar: Is Your Financial House [b]in Order?

It takes a lifetime to accumulate your assets. Take two hours to protect them.

A special two-hour seminar presented by the American Society for Asset Protection will take place at Tow Expo-Dallas on Thursday, Aug. 15. “How Tow Owners Can Protect their Business” will show towing companies the tools they can use to become invincible to lawsuits, save thousands in taxes and achieve financial peace of mind.

According to the Society, by the end of the presentation you will know how to protect 100 percent of your assets from lawsuits, save thousands of dollars each year in taxes and avoid probate and eliminate all estate taxes.

The seminar will be led by author Larry Oxenham, senior advisor with ASAP. Oxenham is one of America’s top asset protection experts, having helped thousands of professionals by teaching them how to properly structure their assets for lawsuit protection and tax reduction. He has authored and co-authored several articles and books on the subject including The Asset Protection Bible and How to Achieve Financial Peace of Mind through Asset Protection. His career has been credited with helping thousands of people save millions of dollars.

This special seminar will be given August 15 at 1 p.m. during Tow Expo-Dallas, taking place at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center and Resort. Register today at towexpodfw.com.

Source: AT staff.
Teaming Two 50/60 Ton Jerr-Dan Rotators Takes Center Stage in Las Vegas

Nailed for Speeding

Speeding ccfb4By Randall C. Resch

A group of towers complained about police speed enforcement because they were stopped and cited for driving too fast when headed to police calls asking them to “expedite.”

One tower ranted that the cops were seemingly unfair for his excessive speed. He said he was headed to a police call and was doing his very best to get to the call on time, but got caught in a speed trap traveling 20 mph over the limit. While I appreciate the tower’s willingness to serve, responding in a perceived reckless manner isn’t a reasonable, prudent or cost-effective way to bolster a company’s reputation.

While I understand the nature of the complaint, sometimes it’s easier to blame someone else rather than ’fess up to the violation. The cops weren’t the ones speeding in a large commercial vehicle. When a tower is driving at 20 mph over the speed limit in a vehicle capable of causing great bodily injury or death, immediate enforcement is justified. When towers get into that “expedite mode,” an attitude of “hurry to serve” sometimes takes over.

Towers must fully understand what responsibilities they’re under when they respond to rotation calls. While every rotation contract has on-time arrival stipulations, tow companies tend to stretch themselves thin when it comes to having enough tow trucks available to serve the contract. Especially true for small tow companies, having only a flatbed and one wrecker to service all police calls may not be sufficient to handle occasional call volume.

Another issue with small companies on rotation happens when many companies serve the same area and call volume is slow. Typically, tow owners won’t purchase another tow truck because there’s a good chance that new truck won’t pay for itself. Along with slow volume, owners with an additional truck often must hire another driver.

Change Your Plan

When tow companies serve shops, commercial accounts and auto clubs, police work and rotation sometimes gets in the way. Towmen oftentimes think they can balance the non-law enforcement workload and be, let’s say, “fashionably late.”

Towers working rotation are seeking better paying work; however, they’re not able to just drop the other work to respond to police requests in a timely manner. Accordingly, they typically speed to make up time hoping they’ll be on time and not have to face an upset cop who’s anxiously waiting their arrival.

Law enforcement has high expectations of its contract towers. Best practices suggest that tow companies not intermingle commercial and private towing work with rotation work. Law enforcement expects rotation providers to be available at all times on a 24-7 basis.

Contract tow companies must design their business plan to include the proper number of tow trucks, carriers and trained tow operators available to respond at a moment’s notice. Rotation tow companies may want to consider keeping units in strategic locations to ensure quick response within allowable ETAs. It is one of the best ways to eliminate delays and minimizes responding in a dangerous manner.

Tow vehicles don’t stop or turn on a dime, so it’s risky to drive at speeds too fast. When a tow truck is stopped for driving well over the limit, most cops initiate some form of enforcement. This may include issuing an expensive citation, possible impound of the tow truck or carrier or the possibility a motor vehicle. Contract be damned: one can only travel as fast as it’s reasonable and prudent.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.

It’s in the Blood

Last week, “Bambi” decided to go for an evening run. Unfortunately, it was Bambi’s last run … as she ran smack into my 2007 Saturn Aura that was making its way to the sandwich shop.

A call to my insurance company allowed me to cross paths with one of the nicest guys, Walter Reilly of Reilly’s Collision Center in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.

Walter and I must’ve talked for about a half hour after he hooked up my car on his brand new flatbed he took delivery on two weeks ago. He was telling me about his experience in the industry (50 years!), which included 45 years as a business owner.

I really enjoyed talking with Walter, as I find myself enjoying conversation with a lot of towmen. The things that you guys have seen, the lives that you led in towing—it’s just a great thing to see the enthusiasm for your craft after so many years in the business.

All of you say the same thing: it’s in your blood.

I can understand it. I still have the same passion for writing that I have had since I wrote my first column for my college newspaper; especially when I get to write about a subject that I’m passionate about.

May we all have the same passion for our trades as Walter.

--Charles Duke

East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales

EastCoastTruck 5239bEast Coast Truck & Trailer Sales is a family owned and operated business that sells auto transporters and is Cottrell’s largest dealer of car haulers in the United States. They also offer a full line of light, medium- and heavy-duty Jerr-Dan tow trucks, including their 50/60 rotator with Ford and Peterbilt chassis cabs. Come see all that East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales at Tow Expo-Dallas, August 15-17, at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center and Resort in Grapevine, Texas.

ectts.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge
The 2017 Tax Cuts Act has helped my business
a lot
more better than not
marginally
not at all
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
American Towman Wire • 06-24-2019
Talbert Manufacturing hosted a ribbon cutting May 14, 2019, officially opening the 58,000-square-foot expansion of their Liberty, North Carolina, facility. On hand for the ceremony were company president Andrew Tanner, co-owner Russ Stern, VP of Sales and Marketing Troy Geisler, VP of Operations Jim Hall and VP of Purchasing Jamie Myers. Talbert photo.

Talbert Cuts Ribbon on Expanded North Carolina Facility

Talbert Manufacturing officially opened a 58,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its Liberty, North Carolina, facility. The 120,000-square-foot Liberty Trailers LLC will manufacture Talbert’s Tag-A-Long Series, Traveling Axle Series and Hydraulic Tail Series trailers. With the expansion, the manufacturer looks to increase dealer and customer support throughout North America with increased production capabilities and a support staff of 60 associates. The Liberty facility was originally home to Ferree Trailers, which Talbert purchased in 2014. In 2018, Talbert began expansion of the building and staff as part of its overall growth plan. The expansion houses two state-of-the-art painting booths, overhead cranes and a large finishing area. Equipment and staging areas were designed for optimum flow throughout the manufacturing process, allowing Talbert’s production at Liberty to grow, even past their current goals, while maintaining the high degree of safety, durability and resale value that are the pillars of the Talbert brand. Source: www.talbertmfg.com.

Tow Truck Procession to Honor Slain Driver

Arizona tow truck drivers will gather Sunday for a group ride to honor the memory of towman Richard Struble. Struble, 57, was killed along with 32-year-old Ramon Murrillo III June 10 in a hit-and-run near Oracle and Simmons Roads. The ride will start at 11 a.m. Sunday the Longhorn Grill at 28851 S. Nogales Highway in Amado and end at Discount Tire, 3760 N. Oracle Road. The public is welcome to wait for the procession to end at Discount Tire, said Mary Breijak, who was engaged to Struble. Source: kgun9.com.

Tow Company Owner, Son Arrested on Drug Charges

The owner of a Cherokee County, Georgia, towing company and his son are both facing charges after investigators said they found drugs and several firearms in their home. Frank Ingram, owner of Ingram’s Towing in Woodstock, and his son Chase were arrested on charges including possession of methamphetamine, in connection with the incident, jail records show. Officials called Ingram in for an interview during an investigation June 6, Baker said. He said the investigators searched Ingram’s vehicle during the interview and found a small amount of meth. Ingram was allowed to leave and no charges were filed that day. However, about a week later, on June 14, Baker said investigators visited Ingram’s home to serve an arrest warrant for possession of methamphetamine. The responding agents saw marijuana in the home, which prompted a search. During that search, agents discovered approximately an eighth of an ounce of methamphetamine, a small amount of cocaine and several firearms, according to sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jay Baker. Frank and Chase Ingram were arrested, and Ingram’s company was revoked from the county wrecker rotation for 90 days, Baker said. Ingram and his son were both booked into the Cherokee County jail and were released on $15,625 and $10,750 bonds, respectively. Source: ajc.com.


Don't Miss It!
How your business addresses employee injuries can put all your assets at risk if your plan Is not adequate for your exposures. Are you risking everything to save a little? Explore your options in Texas as well as the pitfalls that go with those options. Join Dock Hanks of Hanks Insurance Group, Inc. as he presents his insurance seminar, “Employee Injuries – Are Your Assets at Risk?” This seminar will take place during Tow Expo-Dallas at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Friday, August 17 at 8 a.m. Register today! towexpodfw.com

towexpodfw.com
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June 19 - June 25, 2019
Miller Industries took delivery of the 200,000th Kenworth T270 truck manufactured in a ceremony at PACCAR’s Ste. Therese in Quebec, Canada, recently. Pictured (from left): Chakib Toubal-Seghir, PACCAR Ste. Therese plant manager; and Billy Drane, Will Miller and Kipp Felice of Miller Industries.

200,000th Kenworth T270 Delivered to Miller 

A Kenworth T270 was recognized as the milestone 200,000th medium-duty truck produced at the state-of-the-art PACCAR plant in Ste-Thérèse, Quebec, Canada.
 
Long-time Kenworth customer Miller Industries took delivery of the special T270 during a ceremony at the plant. The T270 is equipped with PACCAR PX-7 engine rated at 300 hp and an Allison automatic transmission, and was purchased from MHC Kenworth-Chattanooga in Tennessee.
 
During the ceremony, Chakib Toubal-Seghir, PACCAR Ste-Thérèse plant manager, presented the keys to Miller Industries executives Will Miller, president/co-CEO; Kipp Felice, VP of marketing and business development; and Billy Drane, heavy-duty product manager.
 
“The production of 200,000 medium-duty trucks at PACCAR Ste-Thérèse is the result of a long history of exceptional performance and strong commitment to quality by our employees here at the plant. We take great pride in producing The World’s Best trucks for such excellent customers like Miller Industries,” said Toubal-Seghir.
 
“We’re very grateful to receive this milestone Kenworth T270 from the employees at the PACCAR Ste-Thérèse plant,” Felice said. “Miller Industries has a long history with Kenworth and MHC Kenworth-Chattanooga, and our end-user customers have always seen the value of Kenworth medium- and heavy-duty trucks in their tow fleets. Quality is what Miller Industries is all about, and this T270 will mean another satisfied customer for us.”
 
Also at the event were Scott Trichel, MHC Kenworth regional VP, and Jeremy Ervin, MHC Kenworth-Chattanooga sales representative. Representing Kenworth were Hank Johnson, Kenworth general sales manager for vocational and medium-duty; Mike Kleespies, Kenworth medium-duty sales director; and Erik Johnson, Kenworth Southeast Region sales manager.
 
Source: kenworth.com.

APD Targets Move [b]Over Enforcement

The Highway Enforcement Command of the Austin, Texas, police conducted an operation last week to enforce the state’s Move Over law.

APD said 18 officers were conducting the operation within city limits to focus on drivers not moving over for tow trucks on the side of the highway. The law in Texas states that drivers must move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or at least slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit.

The operation from about 8:45 a.m. until about 2:30 p.m. as APD partnered with TXDOT to put a warning on electronic message boards before motorists approached the scene. Educational materials were handed out on each traffic stop.

A&A Wrecker & Recovery assisted in the efforts by donating a tow truck and an out of service vehicle for the operation. Only warnings were issued to driver’s violating this law, according to APD. Other citations were issued for other infractions, including two speeding citations for vehicles traveling in excess of 90 mph as they passed the tow truck.
 
An amendment to the Transportation Code in 2013 added tow trucks to a list of emergency vehicles. Austin police said this operation is the first in a series to educate the public on the law, specifically the inclusion of tow trucks. 

Source: kxan.com, APD.

Chicago Impound [b]Practices Under Fire

The city of Chicago, Illinois, was accused recently of “towing without telling;” towing and impounding thousands of vehicles without sending motorists the state-required notice by mail that their vehicles may be sold for scrap if not reclaimed.

“Thousands of cars are, in effect, stolen from citizens of Chicago and sold without proper notice and due process,” says a lawsuit filed on behalf of Andrea Santiago, a Chicago motorist with multiple sclerosis whose van was taken off the street and sold for scrap. “While the city allegedly sends a notice of impoundment to the owner after it has already been impounded, it fails to send the required additional notice when the city intends on disposing of the vehicle. … While in some cases the city places a warning sticker on a vehicle that it considers abandoned, no such notice is mailed or otherwise actually delivered to the owner.”

The lawsuit seeks class-action status for motorists in the same boat as Santiago. Santiago’s 1998 GMC Savana 1500 van was towed and impounded in June 2018—and subsequently sold for scrap without prior notice—while parked outside Santiago’s home with a valid city sticker and a disability placard in the windshield, the lawsuit says.

Source: chicago.suntimes.com.

Police Investigating Alleged [b]Price Gouging

Police in Mobile, Alabama, have determined there is enough evidence to launch a criminal investigation into an allegation of price gouging by some tow truck companies.

“Taking advantage of a customer really is defeating the purpose of what we do, we serve the community,” said Greg Poole with Pitts & Sons Towing. “I believe it’s very good that they’re doing some investigation on that.”

Police said this is not an isolated problem and have evidence against several companies the city works with for excessive and inappropriate charging and billing for services never rendered.

“It did alarm us, it certainly brought our attention to some possible bad actors,” said James Barber, Mobile Public Safety Director. “We’re certainly not saying that all the wrecker companies are doing anything inappropriate.”

Police said tow trucks that operate within Mobile must follow city ordinances relating to charges. Documents investigators have gotten show some companies may have charged as much as five times too much for some services.

Investigations are ongoing which is why they have not named any towing companies. City leaders are also looking at changes to city ordinances that govern how tow trucks operate to prevent this from happening again.

Source: fox10tv.com.

IAA Opens Third Branch [b]in Houston Metro Area

Insurance Auto Auctions Inc. announced the opening of its third location in the Houston, Texas, metro area and the 17th branch in the state to accommodate increased customer needs. The new location, IAA Houston South, is approximately 35 miles from Houston and will strategically enhance IAA’s ability to serve the growing metropolitan area as well as the hurricane-prone coastal Texas areas. 

“We continue to make strategic investments to meet our customers’ needs by creating a better marketplace to connect sellers and buyers,” said John Kett, CEO and president of IAA. “Texas is one of our largest markets. This new branch offers more than 125 acres of capacity and will help us serve the growing volume from our customers, as well as provide support for potential catastrophic weather events.”

IAA Houston South will offer the latest in vehicle auction technology, including a vehicle check-in area designed for IAA 360 View™ imaging and IAA Inspection Services™. The branch will also include a vehicle inspection center space for insurance clients. The new lobby and conference rooms provide customers and employees with ample meeting and training space.

Source: blog.cucollector.com.

Police ID Alleged Driver [b]in Fatal Hit-and-Run

Tucson, Arizona, police say they have identified the driver accused of killing two men in a hit-and-run pedestrian collision on the city’s north side June 10.

Officers are searching for Justin Lang, 32, who is wanted on suspicion of two counts of manslaughter in the crash that killed towman Richard Struble, and Ramon Murillo.

Lang is accused of losing control of a 2001 BMW 740iL eastbound on West Simmons Road and crashing into the two men in the parking lot of Discount Tire, a police news release said.

Struble was dropping off Murillo’s vehicle when the collision happened shortly before 10 p.m.

Source: tucson.com.
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June 19 - June 25, 2019

Loader Shifted & Lifted

0 0a550By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Michael “Mike” Myers is a second-generation tower and the president of Gene's Towing & Transportation in Washington state, the family owned and operated company started by his father, Gene Myers, in 1961. Gene passed away on Sept. 4, 2016. Mike’s son Michael Jr. represents the third generation and is the vice president of the company.

Gene’s Towing has locations in the Pierce and King County area including Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Federal Way and Auburn. Although they specialize in the greater Tacoma area, they offer long distance towing for transport of vehicles to the Canadian Border and down into Oregon.

“On Friday, July 27, 2018, at 3 p.m., one of our customers called saying they needed our help ASAP in reloading one of their front-end loaders that had come partially off their lowboy while in transit,” Mike said.

Gene’s immediately dispatched three heavies. Michael Jr. responded in their 2018 Peterbilt 367/Century 1135 35-ton rotator, operator Jay went in a 2010 Peterbilt 388/Century 1130 30-ton rotator and operator Josh was in their 2002 Peterbilt 378/Century 9055 50-ton heavy.

Upon arrival, Team Gene’s met with several police and fire personnel on scene, Central Pierce Fire & Rescue and Pierce County Sheriff’s Dept.

“Once we made contact with all those in charge of the scene,” Mike said, “we found out that a small compact sedan had cut in front of the driver hauling the 65,000-pound loader causing the lowboy driver to stomp on his brakes to avoid contact with the small car.

“What ensued after was that the four-point tie-down on the loader failed. It had correct size chain, but not correct grade (1/2” G7 chains) forcing the loader to lunge forward, taking out the oil pan and cracking the transmission, then turned because the pivot was not locked in place on the loader. It went forward and off the trailer.”

This was a 65,000-lbs. Komatsu WA500 loader that had a length with the bucket on ground of 30.2’, the width over tires 10.5’, height to the top of cab 12.7’, a wheelbase of 11.8’ and a ground clearance of 1.5’.

After assessing the casualty, Team Gene’s placed their 1130 and 1135 rotators on the down side of the loader to do the lift and the 9055 on the other side to winch the loader back onto the trailer.

The rotators lifted the loader clear of the trailer with a four-part line on the front and on the rear, then the 9055 winched it back on the lowboy and straightened it so the lock pin could be put in place to prevent the loader from turning again.

Team Gene’s repositioned the wreckers, placing the 9055 at the back and the 1130 and 1135 on each side.

“We lifted the rear of the loader and rotated as the 9055 winched the loader back to the rear of the lowboy,” Mike said. “Then the loader was re-secured for transport, while the customer’s shop crew removed and made repairs to their vehicle to drive home.”

(Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the August 8, 2018 edition of Tow Industry Week.)

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Paver Saver

1 3aeccBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

James “Jamie” H. Dougherty Jr. is the president/CEO of Janeway Towing in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In the world of towing, the name Jamie Dougherty is synonymous with heavy recovery. He was born to be a tower. In an interview some years back, Jane Dougherty, Jamie’s mother, the Jane in Janeway Towing, said he ate, slept and dreamt tow trucks since he was three years old. 

A lifetime tower, Jamie has garnered numerous accolades including be inducted into the Towman Order in 2008. Janeway Towing was established in 1980. Jamie and his crew, all certified WreckMasters, handle towing, transportation, and consulting and can recover anything and everything they are called to respond to.

So when a longtime customer called Janeway Towing, on June 2, 2019, to rescue a 40,000-lbs.-plus paver, Jamie was more than happy to respond. 

“This paver decided it wanted to ventilate it’s engine block while on the job,” Jamie said. “The owners of the equipment, Tony De Paul and Son have been one of our oldest and most loyal customers, almost 25 years, made the call to come rescue it.” 

Janeway was dispatched for a Caterpillar AP1055D that had blown an engine while working on a state contract paving streets in Delaware County. 

The information given from the company superintendent was that the machine weighed about 40,000 lbs. and that it would not be able to move under its own power. The company had initially requested a Landoll trailer to winch the unit up and haul it, but that suggestion was shot down due to the the paver’s width and high center of gravity. It actually weighed in at 45,130 lbs.

“The decision was made to utilize our Century 1075 75-ton rotator to lift the unit and place it on our Talbert 55-ton lowboy trailer being pulled by our 2010 Kenworth T800 wide hood heavy-haul tractor,” Jamie said.

Jamie responded along with operators Brian Bowe, Joe Rudnick and Rick Royles with Janeway’s 2009 Kenworth T800EC/Century 1075, the 2010 Kenworth T800WH tri-axle heavy-haul tractor pulling a 2016 Talbert 55-ton lowboy trailer and the 2019 Ford F-550/Zip’s service body (dispatched to the scene to provide support and specialized tools just in case).

Once on scene, the Swarthmore Police Department was contacted to shut down the roadway due to the fact that the rotator was going to block the travel lanes. With the road block set, the rotator was backed into position and set up for the lift.

“Due to the narrow road conditions the rotator was ‘short-jacked.’ There was a small tree in the way of the pick and several branches had to be cut from the tree,” said Jamie. “The paver was rigged via four endless loops to shackles and foundry hooks to lift the machine. The paver was lifted approximately four feet to clear the rear transom of the lowboy trailer, centered on the deck of the trailer and lowered onto the deck centered.”

Once on the trailer, it was secured via chain and binder and all DOT placards installed for transport. The Swarthmore PD escorted Janeway from the scene to I-476 NB for traffic control reasons on a busy Saturday afternoon. The unit was transported to Janeway Towing until the customer decided where the unit was going to be repaired.

Janeway received a call Monday stating that the unit was to go to DePaul’s Malvern facility for repairs. Arrangements were made to transport the unit there, including obtaining oversized load permits due to the fact the paver was more than 12’ wide.

“The unit was transported to Malvern. Once at the repair facility, a DePaul mechanic met us there and assisted in making the unit roll freely by bypassing the four propel pumps and releasing the hydraulic parking brake,” Jamie said. “The rotator was hooked up to the paver to tow it off of the trailer and around the building to be placed into the repair bay. Once the unit was in the repair bay, the trailer was hooked back up and all units returned to Janeway.

“The street was narrow and I had to short-jack the truck, but she did just fine. A special thanks goes to the Swarthmore Police Department for assisting Janeway Towing with traffic control and escorts.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Northbound & Down

0 2ec9cby Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On May 21, 2019, I was driving a box truck and was stuck in what seemed like an endless line of traffic backed up on I-287 northbound. I was heading north to the New York Thruway.

As traffic slowly moved along, I could see the silhouette of the extended boom of a rotator and an overturned tractor-trailer on its side. The boom proudly stated Big Tow Inc.—a familiar sight on the roads of northern New Jersey and Orange County, New York.

As soon as I drove the box truck back to my buddy’s yard, I reached out for two of Big Tow’s operators and owner/SVP Monika Fijor.

Husband and wife Ricardo and Monika Fijor are the dynamic duo and driving force of Big Tows Inc., founded in 1998 in Spring Valley, New York. They have an additional location in Ramsey, New Jersey.

“The original call was for road service at the Pilot Truck Stop on Route 17 South in Mahwah, New Jersey,” Monika said. “The truck had an accelerator pedal issue and the driver was limping his truck into the truck stop. The second call was that the truck just took off and the driver could not gain control overturning around 287 mile marker 67 at the flyover ramp.”

Ricardo was the recovery supervisor and operated the 2018 Peterbilt 389 twin-steer/Century 75-ton rotator. Monika handled scene documentation and oversaw needed equipment. Their son Dylan provided manual labor with rigging, cleanup and organizing all rigging back to its location.

Heavy operator Jeremy Honey handled the 2015 Peterbilt 389/50-ton rotator; Louis Quintuna worked the 2017 Peterbilt 389/Vulcan V-100 50-ton heavy and the 2016 John Deere excavator G75; Kevin Shapirro handled the 2019 Hino flatbed and roll-off containers; Santiago Paunta operated the 2010 Freightliner Sprinter support vehicle and cut guardrails, fencing and pieces off the trailer to make it road worthy and safe for transport; Nikolas Bouzeas handled the excavator and the 2015 Bobcat skid-steer; and Josue Gonzales provided manual labor.

“The tractor-trailer overturned to its right side coming to a stop on its roof. The cargo was crates of 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola,” Monika said. “The tractor sustained heavy damage to its roof and right side. There was no fuel leaked, only oil from engine. Fuel tanks were about half full.

“The trailer sidewall and roof blew out,” she said, “spilling cargo down into the embankment; most of the cargo exploded making a sweet, sticky and muddy recovery. The front corner of the trailer was the only part holding the trailer from continuing down the embankment.”

Ricardo boomed the 75-ton over the front and rigged the tractor only to separate it from trailer and upright. He also ran the drag winch to the tandems to hold the trailer from coming free and dropping down further. Honey parked the 50-ton in front of the tractor and rigged to upright.

Gonzalez worked and freed the jaws of the fifth-wheel. Quintuna and Paunta cut the guardrail and fence, used the excavator to pull posts and clear a path to recover the trailer. The tractor was lifted and uprighted with care to avoid further damage or fuel spill.

After it was uprighted, the tractor was prepared and transported back to Big Tows garage in Ramsey. With the tractor out of the way, Honey hooked the 50-ton up to the front of the trailer and Ricardo hooked the 75-ton up to the rear of the trailer. Working together, both wreckers brought the trailer back to the pavement to be uprighted.

After it was uprighted, the pieces hanging were cut off and the rest strapped and secured for transport back to their shop in Ramsey. The trailer was transported by Honey using his 50-ton rotator.

“The cargo was badly damaged, dirty with mud and more then 3/4 of the load exploded [or was] leaking,” Monika said. “We used two excavators to pick from the hill and put on roadway and the Bobcat to scoop and put into containers for disposal. Where excavators would not reach it took manual labor and muscle from our crew to pick up and put the load where excavators could transfer it to the roadway.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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City, State
RATES

Pelham, NH
$125
(Pop. 10,914)

Pell City, AL
$295
(Pop. 12,695)

Plymouth, IN
$140
(Pop. 10,033)

Centralia, WA
$178
(Pop. 16,336)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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June 19 - June 25, 2019

Nailed for Speeding

Speeding ccfb4By Randall C. Resch

A group of towers complained about police speed enforcement because they were stopped and cited for driving too fast when headed to police calls asking them to “expedite.”

One tower ranted that the cops were seemingly unfair for his excessive speed. He said he was headed to a police call and was doing his very best to get to the call on time, but got caught in a speed trap traveling 20 mph over the limit. While I appreciate the tower’s willingness to serve, responding in a perceived reckless manner isn’t a reasonable, prudent or cost-effective way to bolster a company’s reputation.

While I understand the nature of the complaint, sometimes it’s easier to blame someone else rather than ’fess up to the violation. The cops weren’t the ones speeding in a large commercial vehicle. When a tower is driving at 20 mph over the speed limit in a vehicle capable of causing great bodily injury or death, immediate enforcement is justified. When towers get into that “expedite mode,” an attitude of “hurry to serve” sometimes takes over.

Towers must fully understand what responsibilities they’re under when they respond to rotation calls. While every rotation contract has on-time arrival stipulations, tow companies tend to stretch themselves thin when it comes to having enough tow trucks available to serve the contract. Especially true for small tow companies, having only a flatbed and one wrecker to service all police calls may not be sufficient to handle occasional call volume.

Another issue with small companies on rotation happens when many companies serve the same area and call volume is slow. Typically, tow owners won’t purchase another tow truck because there’s a good chance that new truck won’t pay for itself. Along with slow volume, owners with an additional truck often must hire another driver.

Change Your Plan

When tow companies serve shops, commercial accounts and auto clubs, police work and rotation sometimes gets in the way. Towmen oftentimes think they can balance the non-law enforcement workload and be, let’s say, “fashionably late.”

Towers working rotation are seeking better paying work; however, they’re not able to just drop the other work to respond to police requests in a timely manner. Accordingly, they typically speed to make up time hoping they’ll be on time and not have to face an upset cop who’s anxiously waiting their arrival.

Law enforcement has high expectations of its contract towers. Best practices suggest that tow companies not intermingle commercial and private towing work with rotation work. Law enforcement expects rotation providers to be available at all times on a 24-7 basis.

Contract tow companies must design their business plan to include the proper number of tow trucks, carriers and trained tow operators available to respond at a moment’s notice. Rotation tow companies may want to consider keeping units in strategic locations to ensure quick response within allowable ETAs. It is one of the best ways to eliminate delays and minimizes responding in a dangerous manner.

Tow vehicles don’t stop or turn on a dime, so it’s risky to drive at speeds too fast. When a tow truck is stopped for driving well over the limit, most cops initiate some form of enforcement. This may include issuing an expensive citation, possible impound of the tow truck or carrier or the possibility a motor vehicle. Contract be damned: one can only travel as fast as it’s reasonable and prudent.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.

Employee Discipline Investigations

employeeform d6be2By Brian J. Riker

In previous articles, I have written about the need to document both discipline and good conduct in your employee files. I recently discovered that many employers don’t know how to properly investigate misconduct by their employees, causing some minor incidents to be blown out of proportion. Following are some tips to properly investigate incidents.

The time to think about accident or incident investigation is before you need to conduct one! Start with creating simple checklists or procedure guides for the typical events that reoccur often, such as workplace injury, motor vehicle accidents and damage claims. I suggest developing a fill-in-the-blanks type of form and guidelines for including photographs.

Other incidents, such as employee misconduct are not as simple to investigate; however, the processes and fundamentals are the same. It is paramount, regardless of the type of event you are investigating, to be fair and unbiased while collecting evidence and establishing conclusions.

All investigations, big or small, must be thoroughly documented in writing. Both hard copies and digital copies are recommended of all reports, photos, videos and other evidence. In many cases these documents will become part of your OSHA, DOT or other agency-required recordkeeping.

Open an investigation as soon as you become aware of possible misconduct, incident or injury. Time destroys evidence; memories fade and stories change. It is paramount that a formal collection of facts begins as soon as possible. Document everything.

Don’t allow who you are investigating, or why, color your perception. All incidents—whether a physical injury, property damage or alleged company policy violation—deserve a thorough and fair investigation.

Be thorough but kind during the investigation. No one likes being investigated. It may be discovered that the allegations are untrue, or injury is not their fault. If you come across as unkind or lacking empathy—and the investigation turns up no wrongdoing—you may have damaged the future business relationship with the accused beyond repair.

Incidents that have resulted in personal injury, or other risk exposure, may require temporary protective measures to be put into place immediately, even while the investigation is still on-going. These measures may be as simple as barricading off the affected area, removing employees from the task or suspending the alleged offender until the investigation is concluded.

While I am not suggesting you wholesale discount disgruntled customers or co-workers, these allegations must be reviewed carefully. They warrant more attention, as there may be company culture or other factors in play that can affect your long-term success. Whenever personal motives or fraud may come into play, an event needs special attention.

It is paramount when conducting interviews of witnesses to let them speak their mind without interrupting … just take notes. You will have your chance to ask questions for clarity after they have spoken, and you should be prepared to ask the same thing in several different ways to see if the story or facts change. Guilty people will often paint themselves into a corner if simply given the chance to speak freely; all you need to do is listen carefully, take notes and give them gentle encouragement to continue speaking.

Consider the context of what is being asked and answered. It is easy to ask if Joe did or said something, but often without the full picture their actions can be misconstrued.

Eyewitness accounts are often the most unreliable, especially when interviewed days or weeks after an event. Our minds have a way of shaping memories into what we want them to be, not always capturing a true record of events.

Review the physical evidence, such as damage to property, pictures or video recordings. Often our recollection of events we have witnessed is distorted by our own point of view; however a video has no such prejudice. That said, even a video recording does not always show the entire picture, so take into account the angle, clarity and source of the video or photographic evidence.

Seek outside council on high-impact incidents: those with the potential for large settlements, bad publicity or serious personal injury. It is best to have additional eyes on these investigations, especially if you may be emotionally attached to the outcome of the investigation.

Bottom line: investigate even the minor incidents thoroughly and develop procedures to prevent recurrences of all incidents. The purpose of an investigation is two-fold … assign responsibility and prevent future damages or injury. This cannot be accomplished without fair and complete reviews of all incidents.

Are You Using Chock Blocks?

Areyouusingchockblocks f9985By Randall C. Resch

Two East Coast carrier operators were injured in an industrial accident that was preventable and happened only because one simple safety item wasn’t deployed.

A tow company owner was assisting one of his operators with loading a car onto a 23-year-old carrier. As the owner was allegedly standing on the carrier’s tilted bed, the carrier unexpectedly began to roll. The other operator gave chase and attempted to jump into the carrier’s cab with intentions to stop it, but slipped, fell to the ground and was run over. The owner fell off the deck and sustained substantial injuries.

Luckily, the carrier crashed into a tree and didn’t cause additional injury or death. Both towers were transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In the November 2017 issue of American Towman Magazine, I covered the topic of chock-block safety. I wrote the article after a series of tow operator injuries and as many as 10 tow operators were killed when the vehicle’s they were preparing to load or offload rolled away unexpectedly.

Each scenario had a common factor: chock blocks weren’t used.

As in the opening scenario, it’s presumed that the truck’s emergency brake failed to hold the carrier in place. What I found interesting was there was no indication that chock blocks or wooden blocks were installed as part of this carrier’s loading process.

The Obvious Reason

Chocking tires isn’t a new process, but one that proves to provide an additional level of safety when used. In my 2017 article I suggested these 10 easy-to-remember recommendations for employing chock blocks:

Every tow truck in the fleet should have a pair of chocks.

Owners should demand that chocks are used on every load/unload.

Check the truck’s E-brake daily; ensure it holds on an incline.

Ensure the truck’s transmission is in park or appropriate gear before exiting the vehicle, especially when some transmissions don’t have parking gears.

Always engage the truck’s emergency brake before exiting.

Never trust the hold ability of an E-brake when parked on inclines.

Chocks applied on downward slopes are marginally effective.

When parked near curb-lines when loading vehicles, turn the truck’s steering hard-lock (toward the curb).

Always chock tires before working beneath vehicles.

10. Never attempt to stop a rolling, runaway vehicle.

Ours is an industry where things happen … wouldn’t you agree? To the level of extreme danger and frequency that accidents occur, it’s necessary that towers pre-anticipate the possibility of a runaway tow truck or carrier as part of a load or recovery process.

Chock blocks are only as good as their application. For around $30, tow trucks and carriers can be outfitted with a pair of rubber chocks (in triangular shape). Their shape and non-skid design add a higher level of safety for incline loading.

I personally train my operators to not to load on extremely steep inclines while parked facing downhill. If a vehicle must be loaded on an inclined street, I recommend facing the tow truck uphill. While roll-away occurs from either direction, if a carrier is parked uphill and starts to roll away, it may roll backwards into the customer’s vehicle which should still be in park and it’s E-brake on. Sure, it’s likely to be damaged; but it may prevent roll-away. If the tow truck’s tires are turned hard-lock and not straight, it won’t roll-away in a straight line, only to gain momentum as it rolls.

These recommendations are guidelines hoping you to choose a safer practice of keeping your tow trucks in place during load or recovery operations. Chock blocks are only as good when they’re employed to the towing/load scenario at hand.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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June 19 - June 25, 2019

Branding ‘Stranded’

0 a1779By George L. Nitti

Most motorists are acquainted with and have experienced the sinking feeling of being stranded on the roadway.

To capitalize on this widespread affliction, one towing company went so far as to name themselves “STRANDED,” with hopes to reach a broader audience by creating a distinct brand of services for stranded motorists.

In 1994, Charles Ellis started Stranded Towing & Roadside, now based out of his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, realizing a boyhood dream. The values from his upbringing and the U.S. Marine Corps our interwoven into every fiber of Stranded.

“At 12, my father asked me what I wanted to do,” Ellis said. “I said, ‘Dad, I want to own tow trucks.’ He challenged me to broaden my vision to solve problems for the motorist and the industry.

“I bought my first tow truck at age 13, customizing it in 1982 before I could even drive it. Today, our trucks set the standard for how clean tow trucks can be.”

Stranded’s 2019 Freightliner M2/Jerr-Dan 22’ steel bed sets a high standard, both in cleanliness and design. It stands out with its bright, colorful lettering, which Ellis credits his daughter for creating 22 years ago.

“When she was in pre-school, I asked her to color it in the way you see it,” Ellis said. “She put the letters ‘S-T-R-A-N-D-E-D’ in blocks with different colors. The unique colorful lettering stands out on all our trucks.

“It’s catchy. It’s simple. It’s what we needed to say; and it’s easy to remember.”

Yet, Ellis maintained that his larger objective is to work with a network of companies to partner with “Stranded” to bring more timely, cost-effective, right-now solutions for customers with the goal that one call does it all.

“There are fleets of tow trucks and roadside service vehicles all over the country and the world, for that matter. My goals are not to add more trucks; but to bring solutions that help us work smarter and better together. At the end of the day, it’s about the person in need of assistance counting on us to get the right help to them as fast as we can.”

Stranded is also building a service model and creating tools that offer motor clubs and auto companies enhanced abilities to respond to stranded motorists.

“Currently, we work with about 50 companies in different areas,” Ellis said. “Advanced GPS technology has enabled better coordination with the local tow companies to create a win-win-win for the motorist, the providers and the industry.”

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

A Ride on the Wild Side

0 e8eefBy George L. Nitti

Jinks Motor Carriers Towing and Recovery of Midlothian, Virginia, has set itself apart with an attention-grabbing graphic design. The company, owned by Alexander “Mr. Jinks” Jinks, recently celebrated its third anniversary and is set to purchase its fourth unit.

It was the first acquisition—a 2016 RAM 5500 Laramie with a CM Truck Beds’ ER model wrecker body/Lift and Tow Z Series wheel-lift—that set the graphics bar to a new standard.

“It was a marketing strategy,” Jinks said. “I wanted people to remember us and say that ‘we want that cool tow truck.’ ”

This unit clearly is unforgettable!

The design was executed by Illusion Wraps of Fredericksburg and came directly out of 25-year-old Jinks’ imagination.

“It was all in my head. I had a vision and saw the future,” Jinks said. “I picked something and drew it.”

The white logo on the side of the truck, highlighting the company name, screams out like a wild, dancing flame, written in a tightly scripted font that stretches from top to bottom. The logo is also found on the center of the hood.

“I have big dreams. We’re trademarking our logo,” Jinks said.

The rest of the unit is a patriotic tribute, with red, white and blue lines and stars enveloping the design, crisscrossing here and there and exploding in bright candy colors.

The vibrant, busy design takes viewers on a ride to the wild side.

Like their first wrap, their second wrap on their 2019 Freightliner M2/Jerr-Dan 22’ XLP bed was done in a similar, extraordinary vein.

In the competitive marketplace, Jinks said, “I had to do something competitive to set us apart. That’s why we spent so much money on our vinyl wraps. They are elaborate and beautiful.”

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Branding with a Bulldog

0 f3544George L. Nitti

When Mark Lopez, owner of Bulldog Towing of San Diego, California, started the company six years ago, branding was a paramount issue.

“We decided to do a bulldog for the sake of branding,” Lopez said. “A lot of tow companies use people’s names like ‘Bob’s Towing,’ and I don’t believe people identify with that. We wanted a brand.”

With the help of a family friend, a design was created. It would become the logo and brand recognition that Lopez and partner Caesar Esparza sought.

On the hood and side doors of their 2019 Kenworth W900/Custom Built 50-ton wrecker is the striking, stand-out image of a muscular bulldog, done in an Old English style.

“Obviously it is a favorite of ours,” Lopez said. “We are big fans of bulldogs. Bulldogs are hardheaded and stick with things. So do we.”

Complementing the bulldog throughout the wrecker is a military tribute theme. Two of the owners are ex-military, a couple of the tow operators are former marines and one of the office employees is an army vet.

“As part of the wrap,” Lopez said, “we incorporated the American flag along with camouflage. We are supporters of Wounded Warriors, which you will also find on the truck.”

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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June 19 - June 25, 2019

TowMate’s MO37

TowMateMO37 e577aTowMate’s lithium-powered, wireless MO37 tow light, strobe and worklight is the newest member of the next generation of TowMate wireless tow lights. The 37" wireless truck bar system provides stop, tail, and turn with side marker lights on each end and three DOT lights in the center of the bar. Direct traffic with its powerful sequential traffic control arrows or strobe modes. The company says the unit also features a powerful work light mode designed to light up any work scene.

towmate.com

Felling Updates Tilt-Deck Design

499NTU cacc0Felling Trailers recently released its updated IT-I Series model line of tilt trailers (FT-16 IT-I pictured). The revamped design incorporates additional standard features and structural strength. Specs include:

redesigned hitch area with integrated nose plate; cylinder lugs for additional structural integrity for cylinder cross-members; new lighting includes dual stop/turn/taillights located on the rear of the fenders; new tie-down placement on the side of the of the trailer bed; D-ring location is at the widest point of the deck for easier securing of equipment; operator-friendly tilt-deck latch.

felling.com
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June 19 - June 25, 2019
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June 19 - June 25, 2019
Bailey Woodward (right) is wanted for felony robbery after police say he violently stopped repo agent Jimmy Bayless (left) from repossessing his car June 14. Image - wlwt.com.

Search for Man Who [b]Tried to Prevent Repo

A Cincinnati, Ohio, man is wanted on a charge of felony robbery after police say he violently stopped a tow truck driver from repossessing his car June 14.

Police say 25-year-old Bailey Woodward is the man responsible.

City-Wide Towing and Recovery’s Jimmy Bayless was the agent involved.

"I usually have my GoPro on my head most of the time, except that day I didn't have it on me," Bayless said.

When Woodward went into a store, Bayless loaded the man's Hyundai Sonata onto his tow truck. Moments later, Bayless said it became a battle to break away.

"He jumped in and I was fighting him for the controls to make the lift go up and down," Bayless said.

Police said Woodward and a friend punched Bayless in an effort to take back the car.

Eventually, the two drove the vehicle off the lift and took off.

Two days after the incident, Bayless went to Woodward's home and successfully recovered his car.

Source: wlwt.com.

AT Magazine to Focus [b]on Repo in July

American Towman Magazine’s July issue will have a special focus on the topic of repossession. If you service the repossession industry, it will be a must-see issue.

Topics will include: advances in skip-tracing and license plate recognition tips and tools; the need for professional training of all staff, and recommended agencies such as RISC, CARS, etc.; legal advice regarding breach of peace; the latest in light-duty trucks and wheel-lift equipment specs; and tips on towing vehicles that have no keys/missing keys/locked ignitions.

Source: AT staff.

Man Stole His [b]Repossessed Vehicle

The Electra (Texas) Police Department arrested Rex Cameron Maylor for “repossessing” his already repossessed car. 
 
Maylor, 52, was arrested and charged for allegedly removing a repossessed vehicle from a bank.

According to the police affidavit, someone from Waggoner National Bank called the Electra Police Department to report a repossessed vehicle missing on Feb. 13. He added that he received a text message from the suspect saying that he had removed the vehicle from the parking lot. The reporting party then said he told the suspect that he needed to return the vehicle, to which the suspect agreed.

The next morning, the bank employee called the Electra Police Department to report the vehicle as still missing.

The bank employee provided police with a copy of multiple messages between him and the suspect that corroborated the report given by the caller. 

Maylor was arrested and charged with hindering secured creditor over $2,500, under $30,000

Source: timesrecordnews.com.

KAR, IAA Officially Split

Insurance Auto Auctions was projected officially to be an independent, publicly traded company as of June 28.

Former parent company KAR Auction Services said once the distribution was complete, IAA would begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the “IAA” ticker, and KAR will have no ownership in the salvage auction company.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce this important step toward completing the separation of IAA from KAR Auction Services and launch the future of two companies,” KAR chairman/CEO Jim Hallett said in a news release.

“Following the separation, KAR will concentrate its focus on its whole car auction marketplaces and technology solutions serving OEMs, captive financing companies, vehicle lending institutions, fleets, and franchise and independent car dealers,” he said. 

“As part of KAR, we have been a leading provider of auction solutions for total loss, damaged and low-value vehicles, and we look forward to building upon that legacy,” said IAA CEO John Kett.

The spin-off was first announced in late February 2018. Both KAR and IAA had “grown to levels that will allow them to succeed independently,” Hallett said.

Source: autoremarketing.com.
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