Johnson is [b]'Towman of the Year'

Bill Johnson, president of the Statewide Towing Association and owner of Hampshire Towing and Amber Scene Clean in South Hadley, Mass., has been named American Towman's 2015 Towman of the Year. Bill was cited for his leadership in the industry and for his individual effort in fighting the practices of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

"Bill has pioneered accident cleanup as a profit center and in the process has stood up to insurance companies who try to waive payment," said American Towman Editor-in-Chief Steven Calitri. "His battle with the NICB was a David vs. Goliath. He is an effective leader."

After complaints were filed by the NICB in an attempt to charge Johnson with insurance fraud and overcharging based on his accident remediation work, Johnson's rotation contract with one municipality wasn't renewed and was lost for 18 months.

"My companies were following the law, and the insurance companies were penalizing us because we created a line item that they didn't' like," said Johnson. "In my opinion, that was the crux of the matter."

After Johnson proved to the new mayor and police chef of that municipality that his company had not charged in a fraudulent manner, he was put back on the rotation.

Read Johnson's full story in the January issue of American Towman magazine.

McDonald's Refutes Complaints

Coming on the heels of complaints of gouging from victims in the massive January 9 highway pileup in Kalamazoo, Mich., McDonald's Towing told a local news station that they may not even break even in the crash, and added that there is a cost of business involved.

"It upsets you because you know, my guys are doing everything they can to provide this service, and at the end of the day, people perceive it as we are doing them wrong," said Operations Supervisor Zach Clothier.

Nearly 200 cars were impacted by the crash on Michigan's I-94. The towing company, which took in more than 75 cars and semis, faced criticism for their hauling and storage fees post-crash.

A Michigan State Police sergeant called McDonald's Towing to the scene to start clearing away vehicles. Since McDonald's doesn't have a contract with the MSP, they charged what they thought was fair, company owner Craig McDonald told a local news organization.

Tow companies in Marshall and Battle Creek that took in the overflow are charging comparable, if not higher, rates.

"We aren't being held responsible for what happened, we are being held responsible for what's happened after the fact," said Clothier.

The company said that there were many cars they pulled out of the ditch on the highway that they never charged for.

The average cost of a tow is $75, plus mileage, then the cost of storage.
They say they used that rate, and added in the extra work to determine a rate for the crash.

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Don't Be [b]'The Other Guy'

I'm really getting upset over all the roadside deaths that I'm reading about, seemingly on a daily basis. Today, too many motorists are driving distracted. Texting. Phone calls. Fiddling with MP3 players. Rubbernecking. You name it.

Add to that the motorists who drive too aggressively, and you have the makings of disaster after disaster.

There are laws on the books against some of what I've spoken of above; but are these laws really being enforced on the road?

It may be time that everyone gets really serious about safe driving. There are too many vehicles on the road; and there are far too many accidents—and deaths.

There was a time when commercial TV ran public service announcements with the tag line, "Watch out for 'the other guy.' " Let's not be a nation of "other guys."
--Charles Duke
"Towman of the Year" Goes to Industry Pioneer Bill Johnson
The "Towman of the Year" goes to Industry Pioneer Bill Johnson of Hampshire Towing of South Hadley, MA and Amber Scene Clean of Holyoke, MA. See how his amazing career path led to this esteemed honor bestowed by American Towman Magazine. This video is brought to you by Miller Industries, The World's Largest Manufacturer of Towing and Recovery Equipment producing many the industries leading brands including, Century, Vulcan, Holmes, Challenger, Champion, Eagle, Jige and Boniface. For more information, visit
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Celebration is a big part of AT Expo. It starts Thursday night with AT's Welcome Cruise featuring an appearance by Mike Corbin singing the Towman Ballads. Enjoy dinner and then roam on the Spirit of Baltimore as it cruises the Inner Harbor. A great way to kick off the American Towman Experience at AT Expo XXVI.
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STA President Bill Johnson is American Towman’s “Towman of the Year.”
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