The Week's Features
Tow Expo Dallas' winning trucks are highlighted
Towman Scott Shover is being called "a guardian angel"
Redi-Letters' lighted signs easily mount on wreckers
Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Or, do government controls actually work?
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August 17-19, 2017
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 13 - September 19, 2017
Towman Alex Toll drops off cars damaged by Hurricane Harvey at a local staging area operated by Insurance Auto Auctions. Credit: Nick Carey, Reuters

IAA Tackles Houston's [b]Damaged Cars

How do you remove hundreds of thousands of damaged cars from a massive city mired in water and muck? Towman Alex Toll will tell you: one vehicle at a time.

"I'm not going to change the world," said the 43-year-old tower. "But I can help people get their cars replaced."

Toll is part of an army of more than 1,000 towmen contracted by Insurance Auto Auctions whose job is to extricate vehicles swamped by Hurricane Harvey so insurance companies can begin the claims process. IAA set in motion a massive logistical operation in Houston before Harvey southern Texas. The company did the same for Hurricane Irma, which is affected Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida by this weekend.

As soon as the hurricane's path toward Houston became clear, the firm acquired or leased hundreds of acres where it could store damaged cars, in addition to the property the company already owned in the area.


Towmen Assisting in [b]Car Removal Efforts

Towman Bryan Harvey is frequently reminded that he shares a name with the storm that dumped 50 inches of rain on metropolitan Houston and unleashed the floods that have him working 14-hour days towing water-logged cars.

Even in their despair, some victims have salvaged a smile by posing for pictures in front of the "Harvey's Towing" sign on the side of his red Dodge Ram 5500 flat-bed truck.

More than a week after Harvey slammed Houston, wreckers like Bryan Harvey are still hauling cars and trucks from flooded neighborhoods to dealerships or to vast fields where insurance adjusters can assess the damage. Harvey killed at least 70 people, destroyed or damaged 200,000 homes — and inflicted an automotive catastrophe on one of America's most car-dependent cities.

The Houston area has lost hundreds of thousands of cars, says Michael Hartmann, general manager of Don McGill Toyota of Katy, a city of 17,000 about 30 miles west of Houston. "We have a shortage of rental cars and people not sure how to go about handling claims and just what to do with their lives."

The wreckage has forced Houstonians to scramble to try to rent or borrow cars or to work from home — if they can. Some have it worse: They can't return to work until they resolve the transportation problems, depriving many of them of income and slowing the city's return to business as usual.


Towman Pulled Officer to Safety

Police are calling Cedar Rapids, Iowa, towman a guardian angel after he helped pull an officer to safety following a hit and run.

A police officer made an unrelated arrest during a traffic stop because the driver had a suspended license, Sept. 9.

While that officer drove the suspect to jail, officer Cody Mosher waited for the car to be towed. A different driver crashed into the back of the squad car.

Police say Officer Mosher went over to the striking vehicle to talk with the person behind the wheel, opening the passenger door of the car. That's when the driver was accused of backing up and dragging Officer Mosher along the road.

"The door caught Officer Mosher knocked him down and dragged him on Collins Road for a pretty significant distance before the driver put the vehicle in drive and fled the scene," says Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman.

Mosher hit his head on the road during the drag.

Scott Shover, a tow truck driver from Darrah's Towing, witnessed all of this as he was on scene because of the original traffic stop.

Police say Shover pulled Officer Mosher out of the way of traffic and used his radio to call for help.

"It's very fortunate he was there, he's Officer Mosher's guardian angel," says Cheif Jerman.

Officer Mosher was taken to the hospital but was released.

A post on Darrah's Towing's Facebook page read, "Darrah's is very proud of our driver, Scott Shover. You handled this horrible situation with professionalism and courage. Way to go, Scott!


Towman, Motorist [b]Killed in Crash

A Pennsylvania towman and a driver of a disabled vehicle were killed in a morning crash in Lancaster County, Sept. 10.

Towman Ralph H. Waltrous II, 44, and Robert M. Buckwalter Jr., 46, died at the scene on Route 222 northbound in West Earl Township. Police said Anthony Caldwell, of Stafford, Virginia, was driving north on the route when his vehicle struck the men and Waltrous' tow truck. Police said both men were outside of the tow truck, which was removing Buckwalter's broken-down car.

Caldwell was not injured.


Tow Company Returns [b]Bronze Lions

Two bronze lions reported stolen from a commercial building in Brattleboro, Vermont, Sept. 4 were on their way back to town Sept. 8.

Scott Brooks Towing of Townshend brought the lions, each weighing an estimated 300-500 pounds, back to the Vermont Building. The lions were found in a "rural local town" thanks to a tip from a Vermont resident, according to a news release from Shelly Huber, the operations and building director the Vermont Building.

Huber said the two statues were noticed missing by a building supervisor.

"The location was given to us by a person who will remain anonymous due to the ongoing investigation," Huber said. A $1,000 reward was offered for the return of the lions, and will be provided to the tipster upon closure of the investigation, according to the news release.


Navistar Reports [b]3Q 2017 Results

Navistar International announced a third quarter 2017 net income of $37 million, compared to a third quarter 2016 net loss of $34 million. Revenues were $2.2 billion, up 6 percent from the same period one year ago—primarily due to an increase in truck segment volumes.

"We returned to profitability this quarter thanks to strong operational performance across the board, highlighted by a 15-percent increase in charge-outs and solid market share gains amid flat industry conditions, and strengthening margins," said Troy A. Clarke, Navistar chairman, president/CEO.

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WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
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