The Week's Features
Jason Willis, a tower from Aiken, SC, is remembered
As E-Scootering grows, so too do their dangers to towers
Upside Down Recovery of a Mixer Truck by Pepe’s Towing
A look at the tow truck graphics of reality star Ronnie Shirley
Standard features include 120,000 lb. capacity, 102” wide, hydraulic quick couplers, Grote wiring harness and LED lighting.
Events
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
Industry stalwart, air cushions-recovery trainer, Howard "Scooby" Eagan, passes.
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing September 23 - September 29, 2020


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Tower Pays for Violating Service Members Civil Relief Act

ASAP Towing and Storage of Jacksonville, Fl., was accused by the Justice Department of illegally towing and auctioning off vehicles belonging to service members. Consequently, the company has decided to pay back those members in compensation and fines totaling over $100,000. The company maintains that it was hard to know those vehicles belonged to service members and that their actions were inadvertent. Read the story in this week’s Tow News.
http://towindustryweek.com/#news
Towing Reality TV Stars Explain Their Mission Behind Filming
Hit Series Year-After-Year

Lizard Lickin’ Good

0 39f88Some tow trucks are especially designed to match the personality of their drivers. So says Lizard Lick Towing Reality TV Star Ronnie Shirley, owner of Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery, LLC, which is located at a crossroads town in North Carolina that has ‘more chickens and dogs than folk.’

“The truck I drive has special graphics,” said Shirley. “It exemplifies my personality – aggressive, eye catching, colorful, out spoken, in your face. Like my tattoos.”

Shirley drives a two toned, green flamed black 2012 Ram 5500 with a Dynamic Fusion body.

“I’m a big fan of Dynamic because I never had a problem with getting service and parts from my dealer. In this business you can’t afford to have a truck down. It’s like losing money on a 2 dollar hook on a dollar a day.”

Shirley, who is an ordained minister and lover of poetry, is known for his verbal dexterity and swift tongue. He is often uttering creative expressions that capture situations to a tee. Such as the work he does as a repo man.

“When you take somebody’s truck they get as hot as a Billy goats butt in a pepper patch.”

Speaking in this manner also allows him to express things non-offensively, in a business that can easily get fueled by hot tempers and four letter language, as characterized in his role as a repo man on one of TruTV’s hit shows.

“I’m not the stereotypical country boy. A lot of folks here don’t have a high education. But no matter what your educational level, there are things they can understand from A to 8.”
Like Shirley’s blunt, creative take on things.

Lizard Lick started out as a 1 tow truck operation in 98’ and has become a well diversified operation that includes servicing light and medium duty towing, repos, motor clubs, salvage, wrecks and impounds.

They have also been growing their operation from a mix of celebrity power that has ignited Shirley’s entrepreneurial spirit, built around Lizard Lick’s name status, branding and logo, which is finely illustrated on the hood and side doors of the slick Ram 5500.

If you have had the misfortune of being hooked by Ronnie in his role of repo man, you may also be reminded that “You’ve just been licked,” as this good truck tells you so.

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Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
By Don Lomax
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Have you diversified into any new revenue streams to cope with the pandemic?
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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
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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September 23 - September 29, 2020
15 year-old Zach White, with his restored wrecker

Teen Restores Wrecker

In Bay County, Fla., 15-year-old Zach White completely redid an old wrecker given to him by his parents, making it his own.

The unit was originally bought and sold by the family but later bought back and given to Zach as a gift.

White, who’s family own’s White’s Gulf County Wrecker Service, LLC, has been working on the project for 7 months, redoing the interior and exterior, including the engine repairs.

He said, “It was all beat up when I got it. The truck, the whole interior was messed up. I just had to fix all of it, order new stuff, send it to shops, get it repainted and all that. It’s worth it. Yup, it’s a beautiful truck now.”

He credits his dad for teaching him, as he watched him around the shop over the years.

Since he is only 15, he is waiting until he gets his driver’s license and plans to drive his wrecker to school and help out his dad’s company.

Source: https://www.mypanhandle.com
On the Hook with John Borowski - 5
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September 23 - September 29, 2020
Memorial Procession for Tower Jason Willis of Aiken, SC.

Memorial Service Held for Towman

A memorial service was held for Jason Willis, the tow truck driver who was killed in a hit and run accident on September 17.

Willis worked at Wayne’s Automotive and Towing Center in Aiken, SC, and was killed on Interstate 20 in Georgia. According to a police report, Willis was loading a car when struck by a driver that fled the scene.

At the service, Leon Corbett, brother of Jeff Corbett, owner of Wayne’s Towing, Recovery, and Transport, said, “It’s almost like being a first responder. You do put your life on the line, especially when you’re out there on the interstate.”

Corbett also shared a message about the Move Over Law.

“I want people to realize that if you see a vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road, or you see a car parked on the side of the road, someone may be working on their vehicle, so please pay attention and at least try to move over,” Corbett says.

https://www.wfxg.com/

Teen Restores Wrecker

In Bay County, Fla., 15-year-old Zach White completely redid an old wrecker given to him by his parents, making it his own.

The unit was originally bought and sold by the family but later bought back and given to Zach as a gift.

White, who’s family own’s White’s Gulf County Wrecker Service, LLC, has been working on the project for 7 months, redoing the interior and exterior, including the engine repairs.

He said, “It was all beat up when I got it. The truck, the whole interior was messed up. I just had to fix all of it, order new stuff, send it to shops, get it repainted and all that. It’s worth it. Yup, it’s a beautiful truck now.”

He credits his dad for teaching him, as he watched him around the shop over the years.

Since he is only 15, he is waiting until he gets his driver’s license and plans to drive his wrecker to school and help out his dad’s company.

Source: https://www.mypanhandle.com

Motorhome Tow Goes Awry

A guy driving a Chevy Silverado and towing a 70 ft. motorhome late Saturday night from Kansas to Missouri ended up bottoming out the home on rural highway, which created a roadblock that lasted 3 hours.

Authorities were notified of the situation after the local fire department came across the snafu. Soon after, Metro Towing, the local fire department and the sheriff’s department worked together to get it off the road.

The situation went awry when the driver tried to make a downhill 90-degree turn onto a highway.

According to an Instagram post by Joplin News First, “It is unknown what sort of fines the driver will face for not acquiring the correct permits and permissions to move the mobile home. Depending on weight and size state roads or county roads must be used selectively. The normal process requires a pre-approved map of travel and utility companies cooperation, escorts etc. A lengthy and sometimes expensive process.”

Source: https://www.thedrive.com/

Myrtle Beach Passes New Ordinance

North Myrtle Beach city leaders passed a new ordinance on Monday, September 21, regarding private property tows that a landowner wants removed.

The ordinance will now require private property owners or an agent of record to first call the public safety department for a police officer or other official within the department at the location of the nonconsensual tow.

The officer will then be in charge of notifying the city or the towing company about the request and the removal of the vehicle.

The ordinance prohibits any wrecker company or operator from charging fees of any kind (such as administrative fees, processing fees, or fuel surcharges) other than the fees set forth in the ordinance, for the owner of the vehicle to retrieve the vehicle towed by the wrecker company or operator.

Failure to comply to the ordinance may include suspension/revocation of the business license for any towing company/operator.

https://www.wmbfnews.com/

Florida Tow Company Paying [b]Back Servicemen

ASAP Towing and Storage of Jacksonville, Fl., has agreed to pay back servicemen for vehicles they illegally towed and auctioned off from 2013 to 2020.

After prosecutors from the U.S. Justice Dept. showed that ASAP violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the company agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and pay up to $99,500 to compensate the service members whose vehicles were sold while they were away.

In one case, Lt. Zane Berry, a Navy Lieutenant, said that in 2018 his car was towed from his apartment complex for having a flat tire while he was deployed.

Berry said, the company stated, “We sold it because you never responded and we’re allowed to do that.”

Vince Serrano, who is the co-owner of ASAP towing, said the company didn’t knowingly sell a running vehicle that belonged to military members.

He said, “The process to identify an owner being in the military is not as easy as it sounds. We get a name when we run the vin #. We don’t get social security #'s, or some states don’t show drivers license #. We go through the vehicle and attempt to identify if owner is military or not. Our process has been updated and we have created a training program so that each employee will check for any possibility that owner is in the military.”

https://www.news4jax.com/

9th Season of Highway [b]Thru Hell Debuts

The hit reality TV show Highway Thru Hell is back for a 9th season, premiering Sept 14 on the Discovery channel. The show, which features tow truck drivers braving treacherous conditions, will feature 18 new episodes on Monday nights, at 7 p.m.

The first episode starts off with ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ where operators face the first snowstorm of the season dealing with a ‘torn-up semi on a dangerous corner.’

The show, rated number one on the Discovery channel gave rise to two spin-off programs – Heavy Rescue: 401 and Mud Mountain Haulers.
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September 23 - September 29, 2020

All Mixed Upside Down

2 f6f14by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Upside Down Recovery of a Mixer Truck by Pepe’s Towing


Early evening on August 31, 2020, Pepe’s Towing Service, with several locations in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties, was called to respond to an upside down mixer on the 405 freeway in Westminister, Ca.

Pepe’s owner, Jose Acosta responded in Truck #2, a 2001 Peterbilt 389 with a 2007 Century 1060 60-ton rotator. His son Joshua “Josh” Acosta was also dispatched in Truck #1, a 2020 Peterbilt 389 with a Century 1050 50-ton rotator and operator Jose Jabanero in Truck #3, a 2015 Peterbilt 388 with a Century 9055 50-ton wrecker.

Josh informed, “Our game plan was to back up the 60-ton rotator to the rear of the mixer and the 50-ton wrecker backed up to the front of the mixer. Both of these trucks would lift and catch, while I positioned my 50-ton rotator at the bottom of the hill to use as the primary lift.”

The mixer flipped on a narrow path up a hill. Because of limited room to park their trucks up top, they were not able to extend their outriggers fully.

The father and son team of Jose and Josh did the rigging.

Josh explained, “I 4-parted the lines on the 50-ton rotator and attached them to the top of my WreckMaster wrinkle (50,000-pound WLL), then attached two 5/8” chains to the bottom of the wrinkle, which went over the bowl and back under to the frame.”

They used the 50-ton rotator 100% for the heavy lifting, while the 60-ton rotator and 50-ton wrecker assisted in bringing the mixer over while also catching it. Once upright, the 60-ton rotator had to lift the rear of the mixer and swing it back onto level ground to allow it to be towed out.

The Century 50-ton wrecker was used to transport the mixer using the underlift. Operator Jose Jabanero secured it to this truck, ran an airline, and carefully maneuvered the unit out of the narrow job site to tow back to the customer’s yard about 20-miles away.

Pepe’s Towing Service was established in March of 1978, by Jose and Delfina Acosta, with one tow truck converted from a standard Ford 350 pick-up truck. In the early days, Pepe’s Towing Service served the community of Los Angeles and quickly earned the reputation of providing prompt and honest service at a reasonable price. As the business grew, Jose Jr. and brother Manuel “Manny” followed in their father’s footsteps by taking an interest in the towing business. In 1989, Lorenzo Navarro became part of the Pepe’s team and established himself as an integral part of the company. More than 40 years later, Pepe's is still family owned and operated.

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!

Impaled in Jersey

1 d66aeby Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On August 21, 2020 Nick’s Towing Service Inc. of Rutherford, NJ was called by the Rutherford, NJ Police Department to respond to an accident to recover a vehicle impaled under a semi-trailer.

Nick Testa Sr, the owner of Nick’s Towing, responded with two of his experienced operators: John Ely, one of his long-time managers, who went out with their 2013 Peterbilt with a Century 1140 40-ton rotator and operator Brian Fitter, who went out with their 2013 Hino with a Century 21-foot steel bed.

“Upon our arrival the Rutherford Police had done an excellent job in setting up a safety work zone to allow us to position our rotator where we needed it and to work the scene safely,” stated Nick. “We also found that the Rutherford Fire Department and the Rutherford EMS had just removed the two injured women from the vehicle.”

When the women were safely on their way to the hospital, the operators began the recovery of the impaled black Toyota Camry from under the trailer, setting up their rotator and rigging the trailer with two half inch chains.

John said, “When the trailer was rigged, we connected the two wire ropes from the rotator to the chains and lifted and rotated the trailer off of the vehicle. By then Brian had positioned the Hino flatbed so that the vehicle could be winched out from under the trailer.”

Skates and a snatch block were used to load the Camry and then it was strapped down and sent on its way back to Nick’s storage facility.

Nick informed, “When we were completed we broke down our rigging and moved the rotator off of the highway. The semi tractor and trailer was unbelievably able to continue on its way because it sustained no damage.”

The driver, who was with her mom, was a young lady on her drivers permit. She drifted off to the shoulder, making a hard left turn under the right rear tandem of the semi. Nick informed, “A few days later the mom and dad came to our facility and said that the daughter was in generally good health with a mild concussion.”

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Company owner and president Nicholas “Nick” F. Testa Sr. founded Nick’s Towing Service in Rutherford, NJ, in 1972. Under his leadership NTS has become nationally recognized as one of the most respected road service companies in the country. NTS provides towing, recovery and transportation services with an extensive fleet of more than 30 pieces of equipment serving 48 states.

Nick, TRAA certified, was given the 2014 Towman of the Year award by the Garden State Towmans’ Association and was inducted into the Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 2016. As an industry leader, he also speaks at towing conferences around the country to educate other towers in successful business practices.

General Manager John Ely, who is TRAA certified, began with the company in 1985. He is responsible for the dispatch operations and also manages the national towing accounts. Operator Brian Fitter, WreckMaster and TRAA certified, has been with NTS since 2009. As the Assistant to the President he is Nick’s go to person.

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!

Chickens Across the Road

1 886ceby Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Q: Why were the dead chickens across the road?

A: So Mike Woolard of Woolard's Automotive Towing and Transport could recover the load.

On Aug 14th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m., Woolard's Automotive & Transport of Washington, NC received a call from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol informing them of a commercial motor vehicle accident that was loaded with dead chickens.

Owner Mike Woolard said, “They were casualties of the heat from the previous week. The trailer didn't make the curve, breaking off and going into the ditch. Just in time for supper.”

Mike was dispatched in a 2015 Kenworth with a Century 1150 50-ton rotator. Also dispatched were Mason Vick in a 2019 Kenworth with a Century 4024 single axle 20-ton unit, Steven Vanstaalduinen in a 2015 Kenworth road tractor pulling a 2016 Landoll and Tracey Shaw, in an Emergency Response Trailer (ERT).

Upon arriving to the scene, the tow operators found the unit stretched completely across the roadway. The tractor was nose down in a large canal ditch, the trailer twisted and the tub flipped all the way around backwards.

“This was a trailer that looked like a dump trailer, but with no dumping cylinders. The trailer was still ¾ full of dead chickens and the remaining dead chickens were spread out on the ground,” Mike explained. “The trailer tub was still connected on the left side rear corner of the trailer, which had the trailer suspension twisted and in a bind. This needed to cut apart so the units could separate.”

Mike staged the Century 1150 rotator and the crew rigged two 2-part lines to the rear of the trailer tub to lift and hold while the Century 4024 was single lined to the trailers chassis to hold back from springing forward.

Using a chop saw and a gas cutting torch from their ERT unit, the tub was cut loose from the chassis. The Century 1150 rotator then was rigged to lift the tub and swing over to the opposite side of the road and set clear to remove the truck and trailer from the canal.

Once done, they re-positioned rotator to winch the truck and trailer unit back out of the canal. When the cab unit was clear of the canal, the Century 4024 winched the front of the unit around and straight into roadway. There the truck and trailer were prepped for tow back to Woolard’s shop.

“The rotator was then reset to lift the trailer tub, still loaded to about three quarters with dead chickens, onto our Kenworth/ Landoll combination. All was secured down and hauled back to our Washington, NC storage lot,” explained Mike. “The company where the chickens came from said they would clean up the remaining chickens on the side of the road. They had a front-end loader and truck to transport them.”

Mike jested, “Disclaimer: NO live chickens were hurt in the making of this recovery.”

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About: Donnie Woolard started Woolard's Automotive Towing and Transport, located in Washington, NC, in 1976. Today, it is family owned and operated by Donnie’s son Mike and Mike’s wife Janet. Mike has worked in the business his entire life, taking it over in 2003.

Woolard’s provides 24-hour accident recovery and cleanup, 24-hour towing, and a diesel truck repair center with an 8-bay service garage. They have an assortment of trailers capable of hauling any equipment (forklifts, dozers, cranes, etc) and can obtain any necessary permits. They have a well-trained staff of operators and mechanics with a fleet of heavy- and medium-duty wreckers that can tow and/or recover any size vehicle. They also offer towing and hauling services for both local and long-distance projects and provide escorts for over-sized loads.

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!


MIDWESTERN – Nacogdoches, TX
$500
(pop. 34,047)

SOUTHERN – Lake City, FL
$250
(pop. 12,099)

EASTERN - King George, VA
$145
(pop. 4,457)

WESTERN - Brentwood, CA
$276.25
(pop. 53,673)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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September 23 - September 29, 2020

Beware the Scooter!

scooteraccident 0992c
By Randall C. Resch

Memorial Procession for Tower Jason Willis of Aiken, SC.

The headlines read, “Scooter Rider Killed by Tow Truck.” Such was the case last year in Elizabeth, NJ when a 17 year old was killed on his lime green scooter by a tow truck.

Scattered throughout sidewalks, parks and public places, E-scooters are quickly becoming the bane of the inner-cities. This inexpensive, fun and readily available means of transportation has exploded throughout urban cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas. Cities are seeking alternative modes of transportation, offering easy means of travel while the benefits for riders include not having to pay insurance, fuel and registration costs.

Urbanites and tourists find them the perfect zip-around answer to urban congestion, but not minus extreme dangers for their riders. A quick journey on an E-scooter could result in riders being seriously injured or killed. By size alone, they’re small and mostly without lighting. And, when stepping aboard as a rider, the rider’s legs block most if not all reflective value making them hardly visible.

In May 2019, the City of Nashville banned scooters after experiencing their first scooter-related fatality. Last year, Atlanta, Ga., led the nation in scooter-related fatalities where four E-scooter users died within several months. One collision involved a nurse and mother of two who were riding in the street (alongside her husband) coming back to their hotel from dinner. News accounts alleged they were riding in the street because people complained (to them) about riding the sidewalks earlier that evening.

These incidents are occurring across the nation. A 16-year-old Houston teen was killed in November 2019, after riding into the path of a turning heavy wrecker. Nine-months later, another male was struck by two vehicles, one possibly being a wrecker as the rider came off the sidewalk, into the crosswalk and into the intersection.

People riding scooters typically have no experience or training. Because they don’t require a driver’s license, anyone can step aboard for a simple venture across town. Depending on what criteria scooters are allowed, a city may issue permits for their use across the city.

While E-scooters are permitted as valid small businesses, they are typically not considered motor vehicles. Accordingly, where state motor vehicle laws indicate, they may be permitted (by law) to be ridden in city streets “if” an official bike lane is available.

Tow trucks are large vehicles with huge blind spots where intersection crashes occur when making turns. Like any vehicle versus pedestrian incident, a tow truck’s driver has responsibility to stop and render aide. If you’re in an incident involving a scooter, you have a legal obligation to first stop and render aide, and then provide required information to responding authorities. Don’t assume that you’re immediately at-fault. When involved in any collision, here are several tips to keep in mind:

• Remain on-scene at the stopped location

• Notify your company dispatch / supervisor

• Determine immediately if there are injuries and dial 911 to initiate EMS

• Protect the injured party

• Make no statements to persons other than law enforcement

• Provide information to law enforcement

• Exchange info when police aren’t responding

• Take digital photographs

• Prepare company incident report per your company’s employee handbook

When driving the streets of your inner-cities, be aware and watchful of a zippy E-scooter’s whose riders are oblivious to traffic. When approaching bike lanes and intersections, be aware that some E-scooter rider, while watching their cellphone, may be riding the street and not paying attention to you.

Not that driving a huge tow truck is enough to worry about; now, you constantly have to be aware of the scooter.

Back to School Road Safety

RoadSafety2 c2853By Brian J. Riker

Across the country, students return to school in what is anything but a typical back to school season. With the effects of COVID-19 turning our educational system upside down, drivers must be extra cautious this fall.

I expect many school bus routes to be reworked, times changed and more buses added throughout the day as districts across the country attempt to social distance their students with mixed approaches of online and in-person classes. As with everything 2020, expect the unexpected this year and do not think the road ahead will be clear because of the previous year’s bus schedule!

School bus stopping laws vary across the nation. Be aware of the potential for a stopped bus around every corner, especially early morning and late afternoon.

If in doubt, stop!

It is unsafe and usually illegal to overtake (pass) a stopped school bus from the rear, and never advisable to pass a stopped school bus on the right. In many states you are also required to stop for a school bus displaying flashing red lights when approaching from the opposite direction unless there is a non-mountable curb separating the traffic lanes.

Be particularly aware near school zones, parks, fields and other places children gather. For the first few weeks after returning to school they are still adjusting to the new schedule, maybe a new building or classmates and are more absentminded than usual. This leads to unpredictable behaviors and the tendency to dart into traffic increases in the afternoons when they are fooling around to release the pent-up energy from spending the day in a classroom.

If you do not already do so, now is the time to implement a mandatory “circle check” each time you prepare to move a vehicle - even in your own yard. Children are fascinated by trucks and machinery of all shapes and sizes and can get into some incredible places.

You may wonder why every time a utility truck parks somewhere the driver places a traffic cone at the corner of their truck, some even place cones to the front and rear. This is to remind them to complete a 360⁰ circle check of their rig before moving it. This simple yet effective behavior has allowed them to find children hiding in or on the equipment, some even under the truck.

Imagine if you moved your truck with a child under it.

Lastly, with fall comes a change in daylight hours and weather. Adjust your trip planning to account for driving slower during non-daylight hours and the delays caused by school traffic.

Classifying a Late-Night Enemy: 10 Tips for Staying Safe at Night

chicago d2f5bBy Randall C. Resch

A west coast tow operator was recently a victim of violent street attack in one of those wrong-place, wrong-time scenarios. It seems that some inner-city thugs were looking for a free cell phone and awaited the arrival of someone not expecting to be attacked. It didn’t take long for a lone wrecker operator to pull into a convenient store’s parking lot.

As the tower exited the safety of the wrecker’s interior with phone in-hand, he was struck in the face with some kind of stick. Hours later, he awoke in an emergency room bed, face split open, wallet missing and liberated from his phone. Add insult to injury, the wrecker was found days later missing most of its towing equipment.

Violent interactions against tow operators and tow personnel are becoming increasingly more frequent. In another like-type situation, an east coast tow operator just off-loaded his carrier in the company’s tow yard when he was blindsided (inside the yard) by three unidentified males. Two males attacked the tower while the other liberated the car from the tow yard. His injuries were minimal as they only were after the vehicle.

The fact is that bad guys are far more likely to commit cowardly, criminal acts at night. Because they use darkness to their advantage, there are fewer persons out to intervene or act as witnesses. Because it’s thought that towers carry lots of cash, they fall into that “victim pool” like taxi drivers and convenience store clerks.

There are plenty of violent interactions that necessitate this quick reminder in how-to stay safe especially when working night-shift hours.

1) Be aware of surroundings. Always know where you are or if you’re headed into a bad area of town. Victims get attacked anywhere, not necessarily, “on the wrong-side of the tracks.” Knowing your surroundings means having an escape route.

2) Be alert: Criminals are opportunists looking for moments when attack seems easiest for them. Be aware of the actions of others and avoid being distracted, surrounded or cornered.

3) Carry a flashlight. Because it’s dark, you’ll need a flashlight, right? In the event someone attacks you, a well-directed, three-cell Kel-light, aimed at a bad-guy’s kneecaps creates a justifiable response to their attack.

4) Keep dispatch informed. Let dispatch know what you’re doing. If you’re the small company with no dispatcher, at least jot down the time and license plate when dealing with customers.

5) Move quickly with purpose. Complete tasks without haste; don’t dally. Stay in-lighted areas if possible.

6) Close and lock the gate behind you. Once arrived at the yard, before all other tasks take place, close and lock the gate securely to avoid someone liberating their vehicle or committing robbery or assault on you as their intended victim.

7) Lock the truck. Even for a moment, lock the truck and take the keys with you. Don’t leave the truck at-idle and unoccupied while you’re inside the store.

8) Don’t flash cash. Bad guys think towers carry lots of cash. When paying for items or fuel, don’t flash wallet contents for fear others are watching.

9) Follow gut feelings. Every person has an innate “early warning” sensation telling them something’s not right. If your early warnings tell you something’s amiss, step back, re-evaluate, or, remove yourself from the perceived danger.

9) Keep your phone with you. Take your cellphone with you because it’s your ultimate lifeline if something happens to you. When carrying a cellphone openly, bad guys see you have the phone ready for taking. Carry it in a holster or put it in your pocket.

Although working at night has its concerns, these techniques are easily practiced and should be part of your routine.

The bottom-line: “you shouldn’t be a victim if ya’ don’t look like a victim.”
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September 23 - September 29, 2020

Lizard Lickin’ Good

0 39f88Some tow trucks are especially designed to match the personality of their drivers. So says Lizard Lick Towing Reality TV Star Ronnie Shirley, owner of Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery, LLC, which is located at a crossroads town in North Carolina that has ‘more chickens and dogs than folk.’

“The truck I drive has special graphics,” said Shirley. “It exemplifies my personality – aggressive, eye catching, colorful, out spoken, in your face. Like my tattoos.”

Shirley drives a two toned, green flamed black 2012 Ram 5500 with a Dynamic Fusion body.

“I’m a big fan of Dynamic because I never had a problem with getting service and parts from my dealer. In this business you can’t afford to have a truck down. It’s like losing money on a 2 dollar hook on a dollar a day.”

Shirley, who is an ordained minister and lover of poetry, is known for his verbal dexterity and swift tongue. He is often uttering creative expressions that capture situations to a tee. Such as the work he does as a repo man.

“When you take somebody’s truck they get as hot as a Billy goats butt in a pepper patch.”

Speaking in this manner also allows him to express things non-offensively, in a business that can easily get fueled by hot tempers and four letter language, as characterized in his role as a repo man on one of TruTV’s hit shows.

“I’m not the stereotypical country boy. A lot of folks here don’t have a high education. But no matter what your educational level, there are things they can understand from A to 8.”
Like Shirley’s blunt, creative take on things.

Lizard Lick started out as a 1 tow truck operation in 98’ and has become a well diversified operation that includes servicing light and medium duty towing, repos, motor clubs, salvage, wrecks and impounds.

They have also been growing their operation from a mix of celebrity power that has ignited Shirley’s entrepreneurial spirit, built around Lizard Lick’s name status, branding and logo, which is finely illustrated on the hood and side doors of the slick Ram 5500.

If you have had the misfortune of being hooked by Ronnie in his role of repo man, you may also be reminded that “You’ve just been licked,” as this good truck tells you so.

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

Checkered Fleet Shines with Professionalism

fleet1 ec0ceBy George L. Nitti

When it comes to operating a beautiful fleet of trucks, LW’s Towing, based out of Frisco, TX, a suburb north of Dallas, offers a stellar line-up of checkered patterned, vibrantly colored, diversified trucks. Owner Larry Haynie states, “I started in this business when I was 17 years old and wanted to put professionalism in the towing industry.”

Haynie compares his company’s professionalism to a Niemann Marcus rather than a Walmart. “We’re not the cheapest but we are the most professional, providing top shelf service.” Haynie’s impeccably clean trucks are part of the basic ingredient.

Breathtaking to behold, the meticulous fleet is mostly a mix of Kenworth’s and Peterbilt’s, purchased through Ted and Conway Kerico of Texas Wrecker Sales with their unique graphic design by David Moon. These trucks, many of which have won awards at various tow shows, are distinguished by their signature brand consisting of a large wave and a two checkered colored pattern, each with their own unique colors.

Haynie’s personal truck is a checkered yellow and silver Heavy Duty 05’ Peterbilt with a Century 35 ton rotator. He said, “Have you ever seen Trick My Truck? In the TV show they steal the rigs of lucky truck drivers and customize them. Well that’s what it was like when I received this truck from Texas Wrecker Services. It was a total surprise. They did everything.”

Their pink checkered tribute truck was also a surprise. An 07’ Kenworth T3 with a Vulcan right approach – for cars like Corvettes - won Best of Show in the Texas Tow Show, in part for an idea that came to fruition when Haynie was asked to put one name of a breast cancer victim on their truck. “We ended up with a list of names of over 200 friends of family members that we ghost faded over the checkered patterns. The money we raise goes to the Susan B. Koman Foundation.”

Recently, Haynie purchased their first light duty vehicle, an award winning blue and pale yellow checkered 2014 Dodge 4500 Cummings with a Vulcan 810. “Since all of my trucks are medium to heavy duty, we couldn’t get into parking garages. Now we use this one every day. We should have bought it 5 years ago.”

Other vibrant colors in their checkered fleet include a green and yellow heavy duty flat bed, an orange and yellow medium duty wrecker, a red and yellow medium duty flatbed and their military tribute truck, a checkered camouflaged wrapped O7’ Kenworth T300 with a Vulcan 1500 series.

“The 07’ model was the first truck I ever wrapped,” said Haynie. “The rest are custom painted.”

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!

Hodgepodge Modern Design

n a4ccaBy George L. Nitti

In their 20th year of operation, Imperial Towing of Melbourne, Florida, just south of the space shuttle, has seen their graphics evolve over the years. Starting off with a basic design, the company has supplanted simplicity with a more elaborate scheme, incorporating a variety of designs into one dynamic graphic, found across several of their units.

On the company’s fully loaded 2017 black Dodge 5500 with a Century Wheel Lift, the evolution of their graphics comes into focus.

Owner Sam Roig, who grew up on the rough and tumble streets of Chicago, said, “You will find a hodge podge on this partial wrap - checkerboard patterns, flames, and expanded metal with round circles under the name of our company.”

What is particularly interesting about the graphic is its diversity of colors, including shades of purple, along with coral, yellow, silver, black and white, perfectly complementing and enhancing its black background.

As a whole, it projects a semi-abstract quality that falls into the realm of modern design.

The “Imperial” name stands out on each side of the unit, written large.

“It’s all reflective,” Roig said. “It really pops at nighttime.”

According to Roig, the company name originated from his early days growing up in Chicago.

He said, “I was a gang banger during the late 80’s and 90’s. We used to hang out with imperial gangsters. They don’t call it “Chirac” for nothing. When I moved to Florida in the late 90’s, I took the “Imperial” name with me.”

Adding to the unit’s mystique are the heavily tinted windows.

“It’s Florida, man,” Roig said. “It’s hot. It keeps the AC working well.”

The company has grown its business to 14 units, while forming a sister company called Rachel’s Towing.

Modest, Roig added, “We’re doing pretty good.”

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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September 23 - September 29, 2020

Non-Ground Bearing Detachable Trailer

860F 5809dLandoll Corporation introduces an all-new non-ground bearing detachable trailer designed for heavy hauls. The 860-CE Construction Detachable trailers’ standard features include 120,000 lb. capacity within 14 feet, 102” wide, hydraulic quick couplers, Grote wiring harness and LED lighting. The trailer has full air with spring brakes on three axles and ABS 4S/2M sensors. The gooseneck features a patented design with seven ride heights to choose from.

The operator can lower the deck to within a few inches of the ground and fully operate the trailer with 6.5” of loaded ground clearance. The Model 860-CE comes standard with three axles and provisions for an optional fourth axle flip or add a single axle nitrogen stinger. The Model 860 CE has a heavy-duty neck that comes with dual king pin setting at 90” & 108” and provisions for an optional 36” flip extension.

For more information, go to www.landoll.com

Sliding Axle

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Trail King's 2020 update to the Sliding Axle includes features and options customers want and need. Trail King says the TKSA is now the fastest (61 seconds) sliding axle available, with added more corrosion resistance, simplified maintenance, and 100% remote control of the unit. Engineered for speed, the Trail King Hydraulic Sliding Axle is not only fast, but easy to use. Time is money, and this trailer will save customers both! www.trailking.com

All-New G2 Winches

warnG2 80b40Warn Industries all-new G2 planetary line offers hydraulic, electric, and Severe-Duty options, and 9,000, 12,000, 15,000, and 18,000 lb. capacities for a variety of applications. The Series G2 winches include redesigned drum supports that are thicker and resist breakage. The all-new architecture also makes the clutch mount (with 90° clutch handle option) exceedingly stout and less prone to damage. Electric models have a new two-coil contactor with excellent sealing for exceptional reliability. All models wear protective finishes that guard against corrosion for years. 

Series G2 winches are IP68 and IP69K waterproof ensuring a long service life. The revised three-stage planetary gear train delivers fast, quiet, and dependable pulling power with up to a 65% reduction in noise and vibration for a better user experience. The ball-bearing design and extreme low-temperature lubricants let the drum turn easily, even in the coldest weather. 


More configurable than ever, the Series G2 winches, whether hydraulic, electric, or severe duty, can be built the way businesses need for maximum performance.
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September 23 - September 29, 2020
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September 23 - September 29, 2020

Man Arrested for Assaulting [b]Repo Company

On Tuesday, 67 year old Christopher Denio was arrested by Bennington, Vt. Police after he allegedly threatened an employee of an auto repossession company with a rifle and shot out two tires of a company tow truck.

According to police dispatch, the repo men from Location Services, of Burnt Hills, N.Y. claimed that Denio tried to drive an SUV off the lift. Soon after, he obtained a rifle from a residence. When he returned, they stated that the barrel of the rifle was making contact with the driver side window while they were sitting inside the wrecker.

Denio then shot the driver side tire and passenger side tire, deflating each, telling the victims to "drop the SUV or I'll shoot you."

Denio was released on court-ordered conditions to appear in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division to answer to charges of aggravated assault with deadly weapon, criminal threatening, unlawful mischief; reckless endangerment; persons prohibited from possessing firearms, and aiming a gun at another person.

https://www.benningtonbanner.com/

Repo Company gets [b]Slapped with Pandemic Lawsuit

When a repossession company tried to take a car from a woman in Los Banos, Ca., not only did they leave empty handed but were later smacked with a lawsuit.

According to the suit, Jennifer Mata says two men from Four Star Recovery entered her property through a locked gate on May 22 to repossess her car, demanding she turn over her car keys.

Under state law, repossession agents cannot “breach the peace” to retrieve a vehicle, such as entering fenced-in areas or closed garages.

After she contacted the police, the police told the men they had to leave the property without the car.

In addition to unlawful entry and the emotional distress from the incident, Mata is suing for the cost of sanitizing her car, as one of the men was not wearing a protective mask or gloves upon entry to her car.

https://gvwire.com/

NH man Arrested for [b]Wielding Gun at Repo Driver

Steven Allison of Manchester, New Hampshire was arrested for wielding a gun at a tow driver after the driver tried to repossess his truck on Sunday evening, 8/23.

The tow driver reported that when he pulled up to the vehicle to tow it, Allison came outside and started yelling at him.

According to a police report, Allison allegedly pointed a gun directly at the driver and verbally threatened his partner.

The police showed up, arresting Allison and charging him with two counts of criminal threatening.

https://whdh.com/

Repo Man on Top 10 List of Best Comedies

The Criterion Collection, an American home video distribution company which focuses on licensing "important classic and contemporary films," puts Repo Man on its top 10 list of best comedies.

The film, directed by Alex Cox, follows a vehicle repossession man played by Harry Dean Stanton who recruits a renegade punk rocker (Emilio Estevez) as the two cross paths with a strange car that might have ties to alien life and outer space.

Situations involving repossessions will elicit laughs in addition to the sharp, clever dialogue.

With the off-beat characters, punk rock songs, and the subtle message of consumerism, “Repo Man still stands the test of time as one of the all-time great comedies.”

Other comedies on the list include the classic The Great Dictator and cult film The Breakfast Club.

https://screenrant.com/
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