The Week's Features
Longtime Binghamton Tower Everett Hibler is given tribute after his passing on July 25, 2020
Mangled cars and plenty of debris spur Hawk’s Towing and Recovery into action
For recently passed tower Everett “Charlie” Hibler, purple and pink tow trucks fit nicely into their marketing strategy
Tires designed to take on the toughest regional and city routes and challenging wet-weather conditions
Tow Truck Driver is assaulted but fights back and knocks out motorist
Cleveland, OH.
June 17-19, 2021
San Antonio, TX.
Aug. 5-7, 2021
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept. 15-17, 2021
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 11-14, 2021
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing July 27 - August 03, 2020

Agent Attempts [b]Same Repo 17 Times

An Idaho Falls, Idaho, man was arrested after he reportedly threatened a man attempting to repossess his car with a gun on June 28.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Troy Terry, 47, and the victim were familiar with each other after the victim had made previous attempts to repossess the 2017 Kia Soul.

The car had been up for repossession for 135 days because Terry was behind on payments. The victim said he had been to the residence 17 times in attempts to repossess the car.

The victim told the Idaho Falls Police Department he was loading the car onto a tow truck when Terry threatened him with a rifle. The victim said Terry pointed the gun at his chest and said, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you.”

Terry told police he was only threatening to shoot the victim’s tires, not the victim himself. He said the gun wasn’t loaded.

The victim said Terry threatened him with the gun as he was driving off with the car.

Terry was charged with aggravated battery, punishable with up to five years in prison. He posted $4,000 in bond and was released from jail. A no-contact order was issued between him and the victim.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 10.


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World Premiere of American Towman Anthem

The American Towman Anthem, honoring dedicated towing professionals, was composed and recorded by Mike Corbin, lyrics by Steve Calitri. It premieres here and on youtube. American Towman hopes to recruit a choir among show goers to perform the Anthem live at AT's shows next year.

"Towers are now facing their biggest challenge ever for survival during this pandemic," said American Towman Editor in Chief Steve Calitri. "We hope the Anthem will uplift their spirits. The pandemic has robbed them of business, but nothing can rob them of their skills and their pride."

Corbin and Calitri have teamed up the past eight years to compose Towman Ballads like The Road Calls and Booms in the Sky. These and other songs pay tribute to heroic towers and towers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice working the white line.

Click on arrow to play
On The Hook with "Mr. Industry"- July 2020


WARWICK, NY – American Towman trade shows and conferences will resume their full schedule in 2021 with the announcement of the show dates for all four of their expositions.

The new 2021 schedule will open with the launch of The Towman Games (Mid-America’s Tow Show) on June 17 and run through Saturday, June 19 with a
combination of highly skilled training classes, management seminars and a 2-day exposition. All will be held indoors at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, OH.

August 5-7 (show dates Aug. 6 & 7) will see TowXpo San Antonio mark its return to the Alamo City and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, while American Towman ShowPlace – Las Vegas will take place at the Westgate Las Vegas Hotel & Events Center Sept. 15-17 (show dates Sept. 16 & 17) in Las Vegas, NV.

The American Towman Exposition, the towing and emergency road service industry’s international showcase, is set for the Baltimore Convention Center Nov. 11-14 (show dates Nov. 12-14)in Baltimore, MD.

“We wanted to let both our industry suppliers and professional tow business owners know about these important dates so they can begin to plan their 2021 show calendar,” said A.T. Expo Corp. president Henri “Doc” Calitri.

“Knowing the towing industry looks forward to our shows as the premier face-toface sales events, we can’t wait to begin our full-speed ahead plans for all of our shows in 2021,” he added.
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge

Have you diversified into any new revenue streams to cope with the pandemic?
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
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
July 27 - August 03, 2020
The Tow Truck and School Bus involved in the Accident

Woman Sentenced to Prison after Car Crash Kills Tow Truck Operator and Passenger

Andre-A Edwards was sentenced to 10 – 30 years in prison for 2nd degree murder, two years after being charged with 19 felonies related to a car crash that killed a tow truck operator and passenger.

Edwards, who had a record of DUI’s and suspended licenses, was driving a black Ford Explorer that crashed into the back of a school bus that was being serviced on I-94 outside of Ann Arbor, Mi. Alcohol and THC were found in her system following an autopsy.

The bus was unoccupied, but the tow truck driver attending to the bus, Nader Chehadi, 42, of Ypsilanti, was at the rear of the bus when the crash occurred and was pronounced dead at the scene. One of Edwards’ passengers, Antoinette Butler, 28, of Ypsilanti, also died days later. Her three children were also passengers endangered by her actions.

District Court Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines, who presided over the case, stated, “She did not intend to kill anyone, but she did act in blatant disregard for the safety of others which makes a charge of second-degree murder appropriate.”
July 27 - August 03, 2020
Tow Truck Procession Giving Tribute to Everett Hibler, Jr.

Tow Truck Procession Gives Tribute [b]to Everett “Charlie” Hibler, Jr.

A procession of tow trucks rolled through Binghamton, NY to pay tribute to Everett Hibler, Jr., owner of Al’s Garage and Hibler’s Towing and Recovery. He passed away at the age of 76 on July 25.

Approximately 75 trucks, including Joe’s Garage, Gary’s U-Pull It, and Beck’s Towing, drove past Hopler and Eschbach Funeral Home, where Hibler’s family was standing outside.

Hibler’s daughter, Michelle Jenkins said, “My father was an honest businessman, and a wonderful person.”

Hibler, who went by the name “Charlie,” ran his business for almost 50 years, gaining respect and adoration from his community and clearly from the towers of the Greater Binghamton Area.


Tow Truck Driver and Motorist [b]Killed in Baker, Ca

A tow truck driver assisting a motorist with a flat tire were both struck and killed along Highway 15 in Baker, Ca., early Thursday morning, July 31.

According to a California Highway Patrol news release, a trailer of a freightliner hauling two bottom-dumps traveled across the lane onto the right hand shoulder, hitting the tow truck driver’s 2004 GMC and causing a chain reaction that resulted in the fatal injuries.

The release stated, “For reasons still under investigation, the driver allowed the truck tractor-trailer combination to leave the #2 lane and travel onto the west shoulder of Interstate 15 southbound.”

In the motorist’s 2002 Chevrolet, a female and two juveniles escaped injury, but were later transported to Barstow Community Hospital for further evaluation, while the driver of the Freightliner was uninjured, nor suspected of being impaired.


California Tower JR Colson Moving [b]on to Next Chapter: Retirement

60 year-old JR Colson, who owns Colson’s Garage in Carpinteria, Ca., will close shop permanently on July 31. The shop has been in the Colson family since 1949.

Colson started out like many towers, working for his father at an early age (15) and moving his way up through the business. Cleaning, doing small tasks, working summer vacations and towing on weekends all were part of his regiment that spanned a business that included towing, tires and auto repairs.

He said, “I had a lot of training with my Dad.”

Hastening the business closure is Covid-19, which has impacted the bottom line of many tow businesses.

According to Colson, other factors include too many regulations, too much paperwork and one obstacle after another.

He said, “With everything going on in the world and how fast things are changing, I just think it’s a good time to retire.”

In retirement, he plans to spend more time with his wife Shannon and traveling to see his son in Georgia.

He said, “It will be nice to have the time. I haven’t had a decent vacation in a long time.”

Colson, who with his brother, will rent out the property to Costa’s Auto Works.


New Haven Implements Street [b]Sweeping Policy Cutting out Towing Fees

The city of New Haven announced a new street sweeping policy increasing the fine on drivers who are parked in street sweeping zones while eliminating tow companies from removing those vehicles.

Violators will be issued a ticket for $100. In the past, tickets were $50 and tow fees, $89, that may or may not have included storage fees from the tow yard. It’s estimated that residents have paid about $2 million annually to towing companies through tow fees and storage costs.

Officials believe that the higher ticketing fee will give incentive to residents to move their cars while saving them money on tows and the inconvenience of going to a tow yard to find their vehicle.

Elicker said, “I have heard countless stories of residents walking outside in the morning only to find their car is gone and then spending much of the day trying to track down their car and pay exorbitant fees to towing companies just to get their car back.”

The new policy takes effect in September, 2020. Warnings will be issued to residents in August to make them aware of the new program.


Procession Honors Fallen Tow Truck Operator

A procession and ceremony was held Thursday in honor of 29 year old PA tower and firefighter Tyler Laudenslager who was hit and killed on Tuesday on Interstate 78 after responding to a roadside assistance call. His body was transported by hearse to a funeral home in his hometown.

Laundenslager, who left behind his wife Holly and 10 month old daughter, was remembered by family, friends and coworkers for his laughter, wit, and great love for his family.

As a result of the tragedy, tow truck operators and police reminded drivers to obey the "Steer Clear" or "Move Over" law.

Casey Burkins of Cabbage Hill Garage and Towing said, "Slow down. Move over. Give us the space we need.”

He further asserted that many drivers still do not slow down or move over when approaching emergency situations and that they should treat their amber lights like the blue lights of other emergency vehicles.

Pennsylvania State Police are taking part in a "Move Over" initiative this week with departments from neighboring states to raise awareness about the law.


Tow company Finds Woman’s Body in Car Trunk in Philadelphia

An employee from Philadelphia tow company Superior Automotive found a dead woman inside the trunk of one of their towed cars after detecting a foul smell.

Joe Swan of Superior Automotive said, “I got a call from an employee saying he found a body. I thought he was joking.”

Police are investigating, including the origins from where the car was towed several days ago.

According to reports, the woman has not yet been identified nor a cause of death ascertained.

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July 27 - August 03, 2020

Debris Field Disaster

1 999d0by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Around 3 p.m. on July 25th, 2020 a car traveling southbound on Route 29 in Trenton, NJ, hopped a divider, went airborne, and then rolled and landed upright, finally crashing into a vehicle traveling northbound. Trenton’s Police, Fire Department and EMS all responded to the scene.

The Trenton Police notified Hawk's Towing & Recovery of Trenton to clean up the mess. Started by owner Brian “Hawk” Hawkins in 1989, Hawk has been servicing his community ever since he bought his first tow truck at age 17, owning one of the largest outstanding award-winning fleets in the area.

Knowing what was required at the scene, Hawk went out with two light-duty rigs. Hawk responded in his 2017 Ford F450 with a Jerr-Dan MPL40 while fellow operator Leroy Green responded in their 2016 Ford F450 also with a Jerr-Dan MPL40. The MPL40, with its 8-ton recovery boom and self-loader, is a versatile workhorse that can handle whatever job it is given.

Hawk recounted, “A Chevy Traverse and a Dodge Durango were traveling southbound in the left and hit the guardrail in the center and rolled over to the northbound side where the Traverse was traveling in the left lane and they hit pretty much head on. The Durango rolled again over top of the Traverse where it then came to a stop upright on the northbound side. There were, I think, four or five kids in the Traverse. No injuries in the Traverse, but the people in the Durango were definitely injured, I’m just not sure to what extent, but nobody died.”

Using the Self-Loaders on the MPL40s, Hawk and Green hooked up the mangled vehicles once the large amount of debris was cleared away. Then the vehicles were both transported back to Hawk’s yard in Trenton.

Hawk stated, “This one was mainly just a lot of clean up. Debris was spread well over 75 to 100 feet. The police wanted us to get the road cleared and we did.”

Editor’s Note: The photos were taken by Brian McCarthy On Scene News and are used by permission. Brian is a United Press International (UPI) independent freelance photojournalist, breaking news photographer.

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; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!


Tandem Tango

0 972f7by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Null's Towing in Cochranville, Pa., is a family owned and operated business started in 1958 by Charles "Chic" Null. In 1989 the business was passed on to his son Dain. Dain runs the business with his sons Latta (sales manager) and Jared (operations manager).

On the rainy morning of Sept. 1, 2016, they were called by the West Lampeter Township Police Department to recover an overturned dump truck.

“At the same time we were contacted by one of the chief officers who was on scene,” Jared said, “he advised that the dump truck had been involved in a collision with another vehicle and was overturned blocking the roadway. He also advised that the truck was loaded with sand and that the load had spilled onto the roadway.”

Null’s dispatched two of their NRC Sliding Rotator recovery units and their skid-steer loader to the scene. Jared was operating their 2016 Kenworth W900/NRC 50/65 Composite Sliding Rotator and Dain was in their 2013 Western Star 4900/NRC 50/65 Composite Sliding Rotator.

They also contacted Null's Recovery & Site Restoration to respond with an incident response unit and dump trailer to assist with the cleanup. Operator Kyle Stoltzfus responded with the service truck and incident response unit. Jerry Stoltzfus responded with the 2015 Peterbilt 337/22.5' NRC 20TB, and operator Gehl Skidloader with bucket and sweeper attachment, and dump trailer. 

A Peterbilt 357 quad-axle dump truck had been cut off by a Dodge pick-up causing the dump to lose control and overturn onto its passenger's side. It came to rest with its front end on top of the guardrail and its fuel and hydraulic tanks resting on the ground, but not leaking.

Null’s crew moved their equipment into position and began prepping for uprighting the overturned dump. The truck still had about half of the load in the bed and weighed approximately 50,000 lbs. They removed its driveline.

 One NRC sliding rotator was positioned on the roof side and the other NRC slider was positioned on the wheel side of the overturned dump.

“Both rotators were set up on work platforms,” said Jared. “Rigging was connected to the front of the truck's frame. The rotator on the wheel's side rotated its boom counter-clockwise and connected the main winch lines to the rigging at the front of the truck. The rotator on the top side of the overturned truck placed rigging connected to the frame and under the dump body.”

Working in tandem, the rotators began lifting the overturned truck.

“Once it was lifted approximately four inches,” Jared said, “additional rigging was able to be placed under the front of the body and connected to the frame as well. The truck was then lifted the remainder of the way clear of the guardrail. With it clear of the guardrail, the rotators worked to upright the truck.

“The rotator on the axle side maintained clearance at the fuel tank so that it was not ruptured. Once the uprighting process was started, the front of the truck was set back onto the roadway. The rotator on the axle side transitioned from lifted to ‘spiking’ the front axle and connected a control line to lower the truck back onto its wheels. "With the dump back on its wheels, the rigging was removed and air was supplied to its air system. The rotator on the driver's side of the dump hooked to the front of the partially loaded truck and set it back parallel with the roadway. One of the rotators hooked to the front of the dump truck to tow it from the scene.

“Several of our personnel along with Null's Recovery & Site Restoration worked to shift the sand that was still in the truck so that it was no longer leaning to the passenger side,” Jared said. “The remainder of our crew worked to prepare the truck to be towed from the scene. Our personal also worked to assist with cleaning up the truck parts and the load of spilled sand from the roadway. "

The truck was then towed from the accident scene to Null's of Cochranville and placed inside for a DOT Inspection. When the inspection was complete, the truck was moved from the shop to their secure storage facility.

(Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the Sept. 7, 2016 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; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Eastbound & Down in Teaneck, NJ

truck1 33d31by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On Sunday afternoon, June 21st, 2020 (Father’s Day), a tractor-trailer hauling pallets of peat moss tipped while coming off eastbound Route 80 in Teaneck, NJ. The trailer toppled at Exit 68 to southbound Route 95 at around 12:30 p.m. Responders included NJ State Police, Teaneck firefighters and others.

Jason Sorrenti, a lieutenant on the Teaneck Fire Department, said, “Teaneck Engine 3 responded. The driver self extricated. Teaneck Engine 3 and Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corp assessed the driver for injuries. Teaneck Engine 3 applied dry sorb to contain the fluid spills. Bergen Brookside Towing was called in to clear the wreckage.”

Bergen Brookside Auto Body and Towing, located in Hackensack, NJ, is privately owned and operated family business established in 1988. John Salemme is the owner and president of the company that he runs with his sons, Michael “Mike” Salemme, general manager, and Steven Salemme, the operations manager.

Mike Salemme said, “On Father’s Day, my father, my younger brother Steven and myself were about to start BBQing with our family when we received the call from our dispatch. The New Jersey State Police called us to respond.”

John, Mike, and Steven responded along with their Level III Certified Recovery Supervisor, Christian Greco.

Mike stated, “Christian is the mastermind behind our recoveries and one of the most knowledgeable operators I’ve ever encountered in our industry. He has been with Brookside for 25 plus years.”

There were also two additional CDL operators and three additional light-duty operators, all WreckMaster certified.

Brookside responded with their 2015 Peterbilt with a Jerr-Dan 60-ton rotator, a 2017 Kenworth with a Jerr-Dan 35-ton heavy wrecker with a JFB body, a 2000 Western Star tractor attached to a 2015 48-foot Landoll 440 trailer, a recovery support vehicle, a Bobcat skid-steer with bucket and forklift attachments, a 2020 Freightliner with a Chevron 21-foot flatbed and a 2015 International with a Jerr-Dan 21-foot flatbed.

Using their Bobcat skid-steer, the casualty was first partially off-loaded in order to lighten up the trailer. Pallets of peat moss were then loaded onto their Landoll trailer to clear the highway.

“We first picked up the front of the casualty by dead-lifting nose to get our rigging underneath it, followed by lifting the rear of the casualty by it’s ICC bar,” explained Mike. “The Jerr-Dan 60-ton rotator was positioned on the heavy side/front end. Utilized drag winch to arm wrestle the tractor off the front axle. Utilized main winch for a highline upright, with a secondary main winch utilized as a catch. The Jerr-Dan 35-ton heavy wrecker was positioned on a 45-degree angle to the rear, utilizing one highline to support the upright.”

The Brookside crew used soft and hard rigging, which included a 20-foot blue endless loop on the back end, 30×12 recovery strap on the front end attached to a 17.5-ton screw pin shackle. Protectors were applied to all soft rigging. A 10-foot red endless loop was on the catch line, which was attached to the drive wheel on the tractor.

The trailer was transported with their Jerr-Dan 35-ton heavy to Brookside’s storage lot in Hackensack, NJ. Standard hookup procedures, towed as a combination. Loose parts secured and another job well done by the Brookside crew.

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; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

(pop. 23,273)

SOUTHERN - Brooksville, FL
(pop. 7,711)

EASTERN - Toms River, NJ
(pop. 86,327)

WESTERN Beeville, TX
(pop. 13,101)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
July 27 - August 03, 2020

What’s Your Exit Strategy?

ExitStrategy 85d09Brian J. Riker

The recent economic turmoil may have some of you thinking about hanging up your hooks for good. If so, what is your exit plan?

There are several ways to dispose of your company depending on its health and your financial situation. No matter the condition of your business, it is imperative to plan for the sale, transfer or shut down of your company to maximize the revenue and minimize the costs associated with exiting.

One strategy is to pass it down to the next generation. But unfortunately, many family businesses fail to survive the generational change of ownership when the Founder sells or gifts the business to their children. This happens most often due to failure to plan or a vastly differing opinion on how the business should be operated from generation to generation.

If your desire is to sell or gift your company to your children, it is important to involve them in the planning process early. They need to learn the ins and outs of your company, the industry and most importantly how to set themselves up for success. Just because you have done well managing your finances doesn’t mean the next generation will be as gifted.

Another strategy may be to sell your company to an outsider. Although not very common in our industry, it is possible to sell a profitable towing company to investors.

George C. Metos, who owns GM Consultants, Inc., a business brokerage in Salt Lake City specializing in connecting buyers and sellers of towing companies, said, “A profitable towing company attracts buyers, and those deals are sometimes valued at a few years of profit.”

Usually investors look for a stable business with diversified operations, seasoned management that will be staying on throughout the transfer of ownership and detailed financial records. They are looking for a clear picture of the health of the company.

Metos further maintains a company’s reputation, its location and its type of operation are other important factors to generating a sale.

He said, “Some buyers care more about finding tow companies with a good reputation and drivers in a territory where they'd like to expand. They are also looking for a specific type of operation such as heavy duty & recovery, light duty, or even impound.”

What if your company isn’t doing so well? Even if the current economic situation has caused you to think about going out of business your company still has a value and you have a duty to protect this value as you wind down operations.

“With 2020 being so miserable for the towing industry and so many other industries, buyers are offering creative ways for the owner to achieve the value they thought they had established in 2019,” said Metos. “It may require working the company for a couple of years to prove it. Some will even reward you for growing the business after the acquisition, using the buyer's cash, and relieving you of the risk.”

It is important to make every decision with the residual value of your assets in mind so they will bring the best possible price when sold.

No matter your company’s situation there are several ways to value a company when planning a transfer of ownership. Perhaps the most common is to determine the value of the assets if they were to be sold off piecemeal and the value of any accounts receivable. Then a dollar amount can be added for “blue sky” or customer good will. This is where it gets tricky since so many owners have an overinflated sense of what their customer relationships are worth.

Keep in mind, most towers do not have actual contractual relationships with their customers. This means there is no guarantee that the customers will continue to work with the new owners. Even our treasured law enforcement rotations are usually at the will of the police agency and any change of ownership could require the towing company to requalify. Yes, name recognition is worth something but only if the name has a good public perception.

This is where good accounting practices come into play. If you use commonly accepted accounting methods, report accurate income and expenses and have a reliable method in place to track actual operating costs -including real world management costs- the value of your business can be determined much more easily which makes it more attractive to potential buyers.

Often tow bosses fail to fully account for what they take from the company, not intentionally, although these expenses can really draw down the appearance of prosperity for a company. Things like your personal vehicle, cell phone, home internet and more should be paid out of your personal funds. Even sole proprietors need to keep separate records. This allows you to have a clear picture of the true cost of operations.

I can’t stress this enough, pay yourself a real wage. As owner you should not live off what is left after paying all the other bills. You need to pay yourself a wage that truly reflects your personal lifestyle. Personal and business expenses should never be intermingled. Investors will be looking at this when they evaluate your business as they need to know what it will cost to replace you when they take ownership.

Bottom line, as with any other complex legal transaction always seek the guidance of expert council. There are business brokers that specialize in valuation of towing companies as well as matching sellers with waiting buyers. Always consult a competent tax professional and estate planning attorney to insure you do not make any costly financial mistakes -especially when transferring ownership to the next generation of family.

Against Loading Loops

340LoadingLoops 7747cBy Randall C. Resch

Towers typically use factory loading loops as the main, recommended tool when loading vehicles onto flatbed carriers. This process is typically recommended by vehicle manufacturers and passed down to motor-clubs and vehicle owners. But I believe using loading loops is a calamity waiting to happen and don’t recommend their use.

To illustrate this point, a west-coast tower experienced an on-scene catastrophe during the loading process of an expensive foreign car valued around $83,000. The operator was somewhat new and not thoroughly trained in advanced techniques necessary for loading high-end vehicles. Loading this vehicle was supposed to be nothing more than an easy winch-on, winch-off process, to be delivered to a dealership.

As the tower located the loading loop, he carefully removed the bumper’s plastic socket-cap, inserted the factory tow-loop, and tightened it into the front-bumper as required. He attached the winch’s cable to the loop and began winching it onto the carrier’s deck.

When the vehicle’s wheels rolled onto the carrier’s deck, without indication, the loading loop violently detached and ripped away from the bumper’s mount. Because the tower didn't include a catch-strap in his hook-up process, the rollaway car damaged two parked cars, a mailbox, and a residential yard full of landscaping. The subsequent insurance claim topped $19,000.

In early years, towing vehicles with a tow-rope, or, recovery-type straps, as a means of assisting disabled vehicles, was reasonably common. The process of flat-towing was nothing more than attaching a straight-line, rope, or strap, from service vehicle to the disabled vehicle and towing it at a slow-speed to remove it from the disablement’s location to a repair destination. Flat-towing is an easy process, yet, in many states, it’s still legal (on city streets) where motorists and users are subject to comply with relevant road rules and regulations.

At some point in automotive history, loading loops became standard as a means to facilitate carrier loading. I believe, however, that loading loops were only intended for flat-towing because of minimum pulling/rolling resistance on the pavement.

While the concept of loading loops is a good one (in load theory), they’re known to strip, pull-out of its mounting socket, or break the factory welds intended to hold them steadfast. And for the purpose of incline loading, a scary proposition.

When you’re loading a vehicle by rolling it onto a carrier, there’s approximately 10-percent surface resistance for the vehicle’s tires and about 25-additional percent for the 12 to 15-degrees of sloped carrier’s deck.  At this point, you would have approximately 35-percent load on a 25-percent rated attachment point.  

Peter Fuerst, a well-respected industry trainer, wrote, “In most cases the eye and the receptacle are not really a rated attachment point.  The only thing I have seen them rated for is a straight-line pull, for 25-percent of the vehicle’s weight. Then again some manufacturers say not to use them for loading onto carriers.”

Volvo’s owner’s manual, for many of its model year cars, says to not use loading loops for loading onto a flatbed carrier.

Because loading loops represent huge potential for property damage, runaway injuries, or ultimate fatality, I train away from using them. Rather, I teach alternative ways to load vehicles onto carriers such as v-bridles, back-hooking, motorcycle straps, round-sling straps and more. But because loading loops are recommended by some manufacturers, I teach the reality of past experiences and some basic lessons learned.

Owners, be smart and evaluate the risks. What works for you is your choice, but keep in-mind those accidental scenarios that were the direct result of a separating loop.  

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.

Online Education: The Show Must Go On!

GE Online Training 7f371
By Brian J Riker

In theater, the saying goes “The show must go on.” The same is true in towing.

Although we are limited and severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our businesses must continue to operate and provide the best possible service to our clients, employees and communities.

This too applies to continuing education. Just because it is difficult or impossible to gather in-person to train, we must continue to do so with alternative methods.

While there are still some hands-on classes available, most training organizations these days have turned to online education. Since March, I have been using a mix of pre-recorded and live web-based classes to meet my clients’ needs, giving only a handful of very small in person classes.

Technology allows for the instructor to bring a virtual classroom anywhere the student has an internet connection. Although not the same as in person training, it can work.

I have been successful presenting live training, even when hands-on is required, by using two-way video, one showing me in my studio and the other showing the remote classroom. Sure, this requires some technical skills, but it is fairly simple to accommodate using smart phones and tablets.

My recommended workaround for hands-on field training is to get someone technically competent from the company I am presenting. This person would have already worked in close proximity with their co-workers, thereby reducing the risk of virus exposure from an outside person. Following my lead, they do hands on demonstrations or skills evaluations of the student’s performance. I like to use this method because most tow operators are hands on learners and can pause, review and execute what they watch.

As an instructor I perform better when I have my class involved in activities rather than looking at their faces on a screen. When planning your virtual in-house training, consider how you will keep your students engaged.

Consider also bringing in an online independent training entity such as WreckMaster or CTTA to provide industry standard based education. This is where a good independent professional trainer is invaluable since they provide only proven safe and effective methods to your team.

One thing is certain: education will forever be changed. We must adapt to the available methods to continue to provide professional education.

Yes, the show must go on.
July 27 - August 03, 2020

Purple People Eater

1 87088By George L. Nitti

In the realm of marketing, it is known that colors play an important role in influencing consumers.

When Everett “Charlie” Hibler, owner of Al’s Garage (Aka Hibler’s Towing and Recovery) of Binghamton NY started his towing business in 1975, the primary reason he chose the color purple for his tow trucks was due to some research he had read.

He said, “I went with purple some years ago because I found an article that stated it was very pleasing to females and that it could increase business.”

At the time, Hibler was doing a lot of light duty towing and many of the phone calls he was getting came in from women.

About 5 years ago, the company repainted their unique 1990 Kenworth T800 with an NRC 40 ton slider, giving it two shades of colors: purple and pink.

The two colors complement each other nicely

Hibler said, “It was getting pretty rusty and needed to get repainted. Today, it has about 1.3 million miles on it.”

Also found on the side of the unit are a couple of images. At the front end, following a thick, white gray area at the bottom of the truck, which looks like chrome plating, is an image of a skull.

Hibler said, “The skull was my son’s idea. It’s something he wanted on it.”

The second image is a bulldog, which was added because one of Hibler’s employees has a bulldog and thought it would look nice on the side. Above it states, “The Decision Maker.”

The yellow lettering on the side of the truck and boom also contrasts nicely with the purple and pink colors, making all of the lettering easy to be read.

Hibler said, “What makes the truck interesting are its colors. The kids love it and it just took 2nd place in a Heavy Duty category at the Lake George Tow Show.”

Note: This story was originally published on July 1, 2019 and is dedicated to the memory of Everett “Charlie” Hibler, who passed away on July 25, 2020.

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

Bold ‘Dezign’ for Young and Old

0 aad37By George L. Nitti

One major benefit of a well-decorated unit has to do with making a customer feel more secure, said Sheila Still, co-owner/secretary of Still’s Towing in rural Macon, Mo.

“When people are in a jam, they like to see someone show up with a nice truck. It puts them at ease,” Still said.

The family business of three employees—Still, husband, Dean, and son Lukas—is proud of the spruced-up graphics. Perhaps no truck in their fleet illustrates their power more than their 1995 Peterbilt/Century 5030.

With an all-blue custom background, the colors of this wrap blend with thick yellow stripes, a black-and-white checkered flag and a white and yellow logo that makes a strong impact.

“Wraps give us versatility and quick results,” Still said. “We average 300,000 miles a year, so advertising on-the-go only makes sense.  We vary from 1/4 to 3/4 wraps, depending on the type of equipment to optimize our investment.”

On this wrap there are numerous contrasting points worth illuminating. First, there is the yellow striping that runs along the top side of the unit. Not only does it blend in gradient colors giving the striping more nuance, but it also has a stamped-texture look.

Just below that graphic sits the checkered flag.

“It was one of the older design elements that we had used on our earlier trucks,” Still said. “We give a lot of credit to Pro Dezigns in Elvin, Mo., for putting together what we think is a great design. We get the most out of the wraps by keeping our equipment clean and protected.  Our oldest current wrap is five years old and the newest is two years”

The logo on the side of the unit caps this dramatic display, adding further contrast with divergent colors of white and yellow and two different fonts juxtaposing “Still” with “Towing.”

“When we met with Pro Dezigns, I told them that I wanted something old people could read and young people would want to look at,” Still said. “Our community of customers appreciate recognizing the brand, no matter which piece of equipment is needed for their job.”

(Ed. Note: This article previously appeared in the April 11, 2017 edition of Tow Industry Week.)

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

Clean Wrap Provides Artistic Balance

0 0e9b8By George L. Nitti

Wraps have been growing ever popular due to the array of eye-catching designs, their cost effectiveness and great resale value. Each of these ingredients was a primary factor that turned Vito’s Towing’s focus on getting their trucks wrapped.

“We would have had to spend up to $15,000 to $20,000 to have our trucks custom painted, including the loss of the vehicle due to the downtime,” according to VP/Operations Manager Peter DeRobertis. “The wrap takes a couple of days, and ours cost around $4,000.”

In terms of the wraps appearance, the fast turnover from design to application and the ease in which repairs can be made DeRobertis has been genuinely happy with the result.

“There were only two or three redos and back and forth between us and the designer,” he said. “If you scratch the wrap, it is easily repairable. You print out the section of the wrap that needs to be covered. That’s it. You don’t have to redo the whole thing, whereas custom paint is a different story.”

Of particular note is Clifton, N.J.-based company’s stunning and head-turning black, white, silver and red 2012 Peterbilt 337 with a Jerr-Dan 500/280 25-ton single-axle wrecker, which they bought in 2014 and had decorated by Ultimate Alphabet from Kenville, N.J.

“It’s a great wrap,” said DeRobertis. “The design is eye-catching.”

Several features help it standout; one of which is the red and black design with a gray fade at the bottom of the unit. From the center on the unit’s side, black lines streak and fade upward and downward like brush strokes, giving it a fresh and unique look while promoting a sense of balance.

The name on the side of the unit is also clean and modern, and also balance nicely next to the higher lettering on the door.

“Although we used a font from our letterhead,” DeRobertis said, “recently we had a contest where you could win $350 for the best designed logo, which we then used on tee-shirts we sold. The way we used to do things was more old-school.”

Other features that help the unit stand out include the aluminum wheels, chrome visor and Whelan strobes.

The phone number on the side of the truck is noteworthy. The area code is written is a smaller size while the local number is prominent.

“Most people that call us are local,” DeRobertis said of the company founded by his father Vito in 1981. “They already know the area code.”

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

July 27 - August 03, 2020

BFGoodrich Route Control Tires

product 21982BFGoodrich’s new commercial truck regional tires, Route Control S and Route Control D, are designed to take on the toughest regional and city routes and challenging wet-weather conditions. Features include advanced compounding for high-scrub regional environments, an enhanced sidewall that resists curb impact and withstands shocks and retreadability. The Route Control S is a steer/all-position tire that replaces the BFGoodrich ST 230. The tire is engineered to provide long tread life and exceptional, even-wear performance. It is available in sizes 11R22.5, 11R24.5, 275/80R22.5 and 285/75R24.5 (with 255/70R22.5 coming soon). The Route Control D drive tire is a new regional offering available in sizes 11R22.5, 11R24.5 and 275/80R22.5 and 245/70R19.5 (with 225/70R19.5 coming soon).

Left tire (squared off treads):
Route Control D

Right tire (vertical treads)
Route Control S

J.W. Speaker Heated LED Headlights

LED1 aa9bbJ.W. Speaker’s Model 8800 Evolution 2 LED headlights are available with a heated lens to offer a safety solution of improved light output, glare reduction and light placement for heavy-duty trucks. The 8800 Evolution 2 is a high-performance 4x6 LED headlight and is available with a SmartHeat heated lens that automatically de-ices headlight according to ambient temperature. It is a drop-in replacement for typical buckets/panels used in heavy-duty trucks and is street legal supporting DOT, Transport Canada ECE and other standards and requirements. The heated versions of the Model 8800 Evolution 2 feature a thermally conductive grid system that will de-ice the lens faster than other lights; it reacts to temperature changes on a real-time basis with no action required by the driver.

Vehicle-Mounted Hand-Washing Station

ok da45cNational Fleet Products’ new vehicle-mounted hand-washing stations allow water and hand sanitizer to be dispensed virtually anywhere with application-specific hardware that enables the units to be mounted to a wide variety of vehicles. The water-dispensing tanks come in 6.5-gal. and 10-gal. sizes. An integrated removable soap dispenser serves as the cap to the filling port; a separate cap is also available. Spring-toggle water spigots automatically stop water flow when no longer depressed and are recessed and side-mounted to protect them from damage. They can be outfitted with additional accessories such as paper towel dispensers, graphic signage and more.
July 27 - August 03, 2020
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July 27 - August 03, 2020

Tow Truck Driver Assaulted [b]Repossessing Vehicle

Osman Mubarak of Rancho Cucamonga, Ca was arrested after allegedly assaulting a tow truck driver who was repossessing his Nissan Altima.

The police report claims that Mubarak punched the driver in the head and then subsequently got into the Nissan, trying various ways to get off the tow truck. First, he drove forward, but was blocked by a brick wall. He then put the car in reverse, hitting the tow truck driver in the leg in the process. Still unable to get the car off the tow truck, Mubarak jumped out of the car and into the truck, apparently trying to flee the scene.

The tow truck driver however took charge, pulling the keys out of the ignition, ousting Mubarak from the tow truck, and punching Mubarak in the face, rendering him unconscious.

Mubarak was arrested and booked into West Valley Detention Center on $75,000 bail.


"Operation Repo" To Air [b]on Rev’n and The Action Channel

“Operation Repo,” the popular reality series about the car repossession business, will begin airing on automotive network Rev’n on July 27, at 8 p.m. with a repeat of the show at 11 p.m. It will also air on Rev’n’s sister network, The Action Channel at 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday in a two-episode block from 6 -7 p.m.

The series, which originally aired from 2007 to 2014 on TruTV, follows the story of a Latino family that operates a car repossession business in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. 

Joel Wertman, president and CEO of Luken Communications, which acquired the rights to over hundred episodes, said, “‘Operation Repo’ adds an exciting new dynamic to Rev’n’s lineup. It perfectly complements our slate of unique shows that explore the various aspects of the diverse car culture that has impacted our overall way of life, both here and around the world.”

Man in North Dakota Arrested for Resisting Repossession

32 year old Joseph Storment was arrested on July 10 at the Rodeway Inn in Evans, ND., after police say he jumped inside a black 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 as it was being repossessed.

The truck was nearly at the front door of an occupied motel room while still attached to the tow truck.

Storment initially refused to leave the truck when asked by police, but he eventually complied. According to an affidavit for his arrest, he said he heard his car alarm go off, saw his truck being repossessed, jumped inside, put it in four-wheel drive and accelerated. He later said the truck wasn’t attached to the tow truck before he got in.

The affidavit also maintains that he knew he was a couple months behind on payments, but denied receiving notice the truck was up for repossession.

After he accelerated, Storment told police, the tow truck driver also tried accelerating but skid marks from the incident did not match Storment’s story, suggesting that Storment dragged the tow truck. Storment also told police the repo workers were fist fighting with him and that they tried to grab him.

The owner of the repossession agency told police they had the truck hooked up when it was turned on and off again using remote start. Storment then jumped inside the truck and tried driving it while it was still attached.

Storment was arrested on suspicion of four counts of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and one count of criminal mischief, a Class 6 felony.

Estimated damages from the incident were $4,160.


New Employment Site for Repo Industry

The Recovery Industry Services Co. is now getting involved in the employment part of the repossession and recovery industries.

RISC launched in an effort to helps connect collateral recovery industry employers with qualified job seekers. Free for both employers and job seekers, RISC emphasized this site is designed with the asset recovery industry in mind.

The company acknowledged the collateral recovery industry has been particularly challenged to identify and retain qualified employees.

“The old process simply wasn’t very efficient,” RISC said in a statement, while noting that without a centralized resource, industry job seekers found opportunities through word of mouth, Facebook, Indeed, Craigslist or other social media.

“None of these sites were designed with the collateral recovery industry in mind,” RISC added.

RISC explained is geared to fill that gap across the gamut of roles in the repossession and collateral recovery industry including agents, lenders, forwarders, industry service providers, skip tracers, locksmiths and more.

Employers can post unlimited free job opportunities on the site in just minutes. They can also search the database of registered job seekers with public profiles.

Job seekers can create a profile and save it to apply for future opportunities. They can upload a resume or build out an employment profile.

“Once the profile is built, applying for jobs is as easy as a single click,” RISC said.

RISC noted currently serves all U.S. states with plans to expand as demand grows.

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