The Week's Features
Following leading brands can positively impact bottom line
The industry lacks written laws that say so
More than 60 tow trucks take part in 66-mile memorial
Company will have three units on display at Expo
Sliding rotator and a 35-ton wrecker will be in Expo booth
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August 15-17, 2019
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Dec. 4-7, 2019


American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing December 04 - December 10, 2019

ITD X-Series Dolly Service Bulletin

In The Ditch Towing Products recently issued Service Bulletin ITD0726 regarding its X-Series Dollies due to a potential that some welds may not be within specifications.

X-Series XD Dollies are not affected.

Affected serial numbers and date ranges are: ITD1778 XL-SD (No. ITD2778), powdercoated finish, serial nos. 900052-900159, produced between March 18-April 24, 2019; ITD1778 XL-SD-P (No. ITD2778-P), plated finish, serial nos. 900154-900243, produced between April 22-June 13, 2019; ITD1878 SLX-SD (No. ITD2878), powdercoated finish, serial nos. 700218-700750, produced between March 18-April 24, 2019; and ITD1878 SLX-SD-P (No. ITD2878-P), plated finish, serial nos. 700658-701037, produced between April 22-June 13, 2019.

Inspection should be completed immediately. Contact In The Ditch for details directly at 208-587-7960. More recall and inspection information also available at intheditch.com.

Source: intheditch.com.
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World's Largest Tow Show in [b]Atlantic City This Week

Tow industry suppliers are packing the Atlantic City Convention Center for the 31st annual American Towman Exposition. The Expo opens Thursday, December 5 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Atlantic City Convention Center is the first landmark motorists pass when entering the East Coast's famous resort and gambling town. Show hours are Thursday, 2-5 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.. For complete exhibitor and event information go to ATExposition.com.

Tow business owners from all 50 states and 20 nations have advance-registered for the show. Weather forecasts show clear weather Tuesday through Sunday for Expo travelers. Atlantic City, New Jersey, is welcoming towing professionals for the first time since 1992.

Source: AT staff.
WORLD'S BIGGEST TOW SHOW & WRECKER PAGEANT STARTS THIS WEEK IN JERSEY!

Second Story Job in Jersey, Pt. 2

0 Second Story Job in Jersey TIW 12 e5ccaBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

(This week, Jim Sorrenti continues the story of a car that crashed into the second story of a building in Toms River, New Jersey. We pick up the story where everyone has been ordered out of the structure by fire and rescue supervisors except for Accurate Towing Service.—Ed.)

As he stood on the top floor of a structurally compromised building, Thomas “Tom” James Makuch Jr., owner of Accurate Towing Service, found himself staring at an overturned Porsche Boxter in front of a huge hole in the building. He was standing in a pool of blood with the possibility of the building’s roof collapsing, while being watched by video cameras, live news station feeds from all the surrounding states, multiple police, fire and rescue agencies and personnel.

“It was a defining moment in my 25-plus year career as a TRAA Level 3 Recovery and Incident Management Recovery Supervisor. … There was tremendous PRESSURE!” Makuch related.

They extended the boom of the Jerr-Dan 50-ton up and out into the building over the Porsche. As space was confined, there was very little room for error; the head of the boom was virtually touching the ceiling of the room. They connected the two heavy-duty hooks and cables to the chains to the rigging on the Porsche.

“I was in constant communication by radio with (wrecker/crane operator) Alex (Mace) down in the parking lot at the controls of our Jerr-Dan 50-ton,” Makuch said. “I moved both cables slowly and cautiously as the weight from the vehicle was being raised. I could feel the floor start to move beneath my feet as the 3,000-pound car was lifted. Because of the flexing of the building, parts of the ceiling started to fall from the roof structure.

“At that point we stopped again,” Makuch said.

While utilizing the heavy-duty wrecker’s hydraulics, Accurate decided to boom in and bring the rear of the car towards the front of the building simultaneously by using the cable from the left side winching in and bring the front of the car winching out. They used that technique several times to exit the car out the front of the building and bring it down.

“We then used the hydraulic underreach as the car came forward out of the building to apply pressure to the car,” Makuch said. “Using the winches, we manipulated the car around, letting the back hang down further (while) lifting the front up higher, causing the car to almost stand up straight vertical position; while repeatedly booming in several more times to bring the car out of the building completely while using pry bars to pry the front bumper out of the studs of the adjoining room wall.”

Makuch then directed the wrecker operator and the crew members to pull the truck forward approximately 10 feet. At that point, crew members and the heavy recovery operator were instructed to level off the car using the winches once the vehicle was level the vehicle was slowly lowered to the ground.

At the request of the Crime Scene Investigators, the vehicle was placed on its roof in order to take pictures of the car’s underbody to document damages for continued investigation. Accurate Towing was then instructed to overturn and upright the vehicle once CSI finished. Crew members rigged the car using chains around the undercarriage to perform a reverse roll.

“We performed the reverse roll putting the car back to the right-side-up position,” Makuch said. “Crew members began to work on the ground floor picking up building debris and other various debris by moving them all into piles. We carefully swept the parking lot free from debris—wood, nails, sharp objects—to prevent any flat tires on any of our or rescue team, trucks and rigs, in addition to the safety of all emergency crew members.

“Crew members also retrieved and recovered dislodged various parts of the vehicle such as tires, convertible top, bumpers, mirrors, all various etc., throughout the perimeter of the crash scene which spanned from Hooper Avenue, into adjacent woods and building.”

Accurate Towing Service noticed the car started to leak gasoline and oil from the engine and the front bay where the fuel tank sits. Acting quickly, crew members and recovery operators spread absorbent onto the areas to contain a potential hazmat situation.

They were then instructed to load the car up on one of the flatbeds. Crew members lifted the car onto the deck of a red car carrier vehicle was then chained down and taken back to their storage facility. Two other flatbeds were used to load all the vehicle parts and debris that was scattered in piles around the crash site. They were tied down using straps to prevent falling debris while in transport. All parts and debris were transported back to Accurate’s yard to be stored.

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!

Possible Solution for Abandoneds

No one likes to work abandoned vehicles, especially abandoned RVs and trailers. The often-dangerous and unsanitary conditions of those vehicles make towing and removing them a health hazard and very challenging.

They are especially a problem in Hawaii; but maybe that state has come up with a partial solution to the situation that could be adopted by other locales.

Recently, the Hawaii State Association of Counties has agreed on a package of eight measures that now must be approved by each of the four counties. Among those measures is a proposal that would allow counties to require applicants registering motor vehicles to pay all outstanding charges for towing and disposal on abandoned vehicles under that person’s name before registering another vehicle.

I can hear the towing companies say a collective, “Bravo!,” as putting the onus on the vehicle owner may make them think twice before abandoning their no-longer-wanted vehicle.

The state’s Hawaii County Council will consider the package at its meeting later this week. If approved, the proposal will be discussed during the 60-day legislative session beginning Jan. 15.

It’s a start to a very unhealthy problem.

--Charles Duke

Century 5130

Century 5130 2b596Miller Industries’ most popular heavy-duty integrated unit, the Century 5130 offers plenty of versatility with it’s 25-ton recovery boom and dual 25,000 lbs. winches. See this and other wreckers and carriers from Miller during the American Towman Exposition at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dec. 5-7 at Booth #749.

millerind.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


After a long day, what’s your favorite way to wind down?
Throw back a couple of “shots”
Watch TV, music, do social media, read
I never get to “wind down”
Video games
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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
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
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
Family and co-workers are mourning the loss of Zach Johnson, 24, who was killed on the job early Monday. Image- nbcdfw.com.

Agent Shot, Killed During Repossessing

A repo agent was shot and killed as he was repossessing a car early Monday in Lake Dallas, police said. Zach Johnson, 24, worked for Texas Auto Towing Service in Sanger. Business owner Joe Baker said Johnson was hired about three weeks ago. "This is the very first person I've ever lost," said Baker, who's been in business for 20 years. Johnson was killed repossessing a car at the Best Western Inn & Suites in Lake Dallas at about 1 a.m. Monday. Police said Johnson was about to drive off with the car when 37-year-old Barry DeGeorge walked outside, claimed it was his, then went back in. "That's when the gentleman opened up the window of the hotel and proceeded to fire on him," Baker said. DeGeorge fired 12 times, police said. Johnson was taken to Medical City of Denton, where he died. Funeral services for Johnson will take place Friday at 2 p.m. at Meador Funeral Home in Gainesville. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover funeral expenses. DeGeorge is in the Denton County Jail charged with murder. Source: nbcdfw.com.

Tow Company Donates Care Packages for Homeless

During the holiday season, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, couple is collecting junk cars and putting something good into the hands of those who are less fortunate. Linzi Gatzow and her husband, Dawayne, own Down & Out Towing & Recovery. For every junk car they receive in December, they're giving a care package to a homeless man or woman. "Every bit counts, you know?" said Dawayne. "Just to show them that there's some hope. There's somebody out there thinking about them." Back at home, Linzi and her sister-in-law put care into more packages—working to make a difference not only in the lives of those who receive them but also, in the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Isabella. "I definitely wanted her to know that not everybody is as blessed as we can be," said Linzi. "On the front of every little note, we put, or she put, I should say, 'You are loved.' " If you'd like to help with this effort, you're invited to call Down & Out Towing at 262-757-5268. Source: fox6now.com.

NYPD Towman Dies After Medical Episode

NYPD tow operator Anthony Edgehill, 61, died while he was driving on duty in Brooklyn, New York. Police say he suffered some sort of medical episode just before 6 p.m. and lost control of his vehicle. The truck jumped a curb before coming to rest against a tree. Edgehill was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Source: abc7ny.com.


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Don't Miss It!
The American Towman Academy will feature seven conferences totaling 29 seminars during the American Towman Exposition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Conferences on: Towing & Recovery; Business Operations; Building Revenue; Insurance; Repossession; Safety; and Police Towing will be featured. See the complete lineup of seminars at atexposition.com.

atexposition.com
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
More than 60 Maryland tow trucks and service vehicles honor fallen towman David Alvarez in a 66-mile memorial drive on Nov. 23. Image - Jim & Vicki Beatley, Past and Present Towing, Laurel, Maryland.

Ride for Fallen Towman Alvarez

More than 60 tow trucks and service vehicles from Maryland drove 66 miles around the Washington Capital Beltway (I-495/I-95) to honor fallen towman David Alvarez, Nov. 23. Alvarez was struck and killed while changing a flat tire on Branch Avenue in Temple Hills, Maryland, Nov. 6.

The memorial ride included the American Towman Spirit Casket carried by Howard Husband of Past & Present Towing & Recovery of Laurel, Maryland. The memorial ride was organized by Jim Beatley, also of Past and Present Towing. Though semi-retired, Beatley is still very involved in the industry and works hard in spreading the word about the Slow Down/Move Over Law. He's organized quite a few memorial rides in the Prince George’s County area over the past few years. 

Source: Past & Present Towing & Recovery.

Company Uses Robots to Keep Up with Industry

One Atlanta, Georgia, towing company is meeting high-tech with higher-tech to help its customers avoid costly mishaps. Tow Atlanta, based in Scottdale, recently purchased two robots that have been engineered to lift luxury cars from tight spaces without leaving a scratch.

General manager Syre Perkins said the company, which has been around five years, purchased the robots last year in response to changing car designs.

“With these vehicles getting high-tech, the way you tow them over the last 30 years has changed,” he said.

Perkins doesn’t have an engineering background but spent a year designing one of the robots — the 0-degree load angle truck, or flatbed truck, — with Drive Products, a Canada-based truck equipment company and Miller Industries. This robot is similar to its other flatbeds but holds more weight, and is designed to lift a car without damaging its undercarriage.

“I worked with their engineers, back-and-forth,” Perkins said. “When you think you’ve got a design down, there would be a major engineering flaw.”
The tedious and time-consuming process resulted in a $200,000 21-foot flatbed — the only one of its kind in Atlanta, Perkins said.

The company also purchased, TARVA, or Tow Atlanta’s Recovery Vehicle Autobot, a device that can enter tight spaces, like parking decks. TARVA was custom-designed in France and cost $125,000. The device has been in Europe for eight years and can carry up to 8,500 pounds — more than twice the average weight of a car.

The robot loads cars onto flatbeds by first picking up the front wheels and then going underneath the car to lift the rear wheels. A remote control is used to maneuver the car onto a flatbed truck.

“That’s the technology,” he said. “It’s autonomous. It picks [the vehicle] up by all four wheels and you don’t have the human error. The modern technology, that’s the way [the industry] is going.”

Source: ajc.com.

Two-Day ARC District Conference, Dec. 6-7

A two-day conference geared towards auto repair shop and body shop owners will take place at the American Towman Exposition, Dec. 6-7. Join Automobile Training Institute’s Senior Instructor Matt Winslow for this informative conference as he will instruct attendees on how to improve cashflow and profitability; increase and stabilize store traffic; create consistent SOPs; create effective staffing strategies; and how to plan for succession and retirement.

Over 80% of the expo's visitors in 2018 were either owners or key management personnel of their companies. Attendee surveys have shown that 60% of show visitors to the annual American Towman Exposition in Atlantic City, NJ are running body shop and/or repair facilities.

The two-day ARC District Conference will take place this Friday & Saturday, 8-11 a.m., inside the American Towman Exposition at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Source: AT staff.

Orlando Towman Killed in Florida Turnpike Crash

An Orlando, Florida, towman was killed early in a crash involving a semitrailer that closed southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike for hours, Nov. 29. The name of the 48-year-old towman has not been released at press time.

The tow-truck driver was hauling a vehicle in the left lane when his vehicle traveled into the right lane, hitting the left side of a trailer hauled by the semi, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The tow-truck driver traveled back to the left lane, then left the roadway and struck a tree, FHP said. Both vehicles were heading south before the crash at 10:30 a.m.

The other driver, German Salgado, 56, of St. Cloud, was not hurt. The crash remains under investigation.

Source: mynews13.com.

Towing Company Carries 95-Year-Old Man to Safety

Jerry’s Towing & Recovery in White Cloud, Michigan, is redefining customer service this holiday season.

After getting lost and stuck in muck on back roads in Newaygo County on Thanksgiving, a 95-year-old Diamond Lake resident had to leave his car and be carried to dry ground by two towmen.

The situation arose when the man went off-road on his way back home from a family Thanksgiving dinner. He lost his wife a few years back around this time of the year and is also a hospice patient, so he just wanted to have a little fun in the muddy mess of the trails.

About two miles into the expedition, he became stuck in feet of muck. Having no numbers on his phone, he could only call 911 for help. Dispatch relayed his cry for help to Jerry’s Towing, where they immediately sent drivers out.

Unable to walk on his own, the drivers parked their cars. With the man in their arms, they walked back and forth through several muddy holes to make sure he was safe.

On Black Friday, the crew took some of their own time to go back to the site and get the car out. Emily Paulsen of Jerry’s Towing & Recovery said there have been situations on the trails where people’s cars have been vandalized or impounded so they knew they had to get it out sooner rather than later.

With a crew of five, they brought the best equipment they had to pull the vehicle out. They knew the man didn’t have adequate insurance to pay for the tow, so the company ended up doing it for free.

Source: wqad.com.

SelecTrucks, Daimler Truck Financial Introduce New Program

SelecTrucks and Daimler Truck Financial recently announced the introduction of a pre-owned Freightliner Cascadia program offering customers the ability to purchase a late-model Cascadia truck for as little as $1,250 per month, with a 60-day deferral for the first payment.

The program applies to a limited number of late-model Freightliner Cascadia trucks that have been well-maintained by some of the nation’s largest fleets.

A Freightliner-backed Select Warranty protects each truck in the program for up to three years. The warranty includes the Select After-Treatment System Warranty for up to two years, making it the best ATS warranty in the industry.

“We are excited to offer this program for a limited time and interested buyers should visit their nearest SelecTrucks Center as soon as possible to take advantage of this great opportunity,” said Mary Aufdemberg, president and general manager of Daimler Trucks Remarketing.

Source: daimler.com.
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December 04 - December 10, 2019

Second Story Job in Jersey, Pt. 2

0 Second Story Job in Jersey TIW 12 e5ccaBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

(This week, Jim Sorrenti continues the story of a car that crashed into the second story of a building in Toms River, New Jersey. We pick up the story where everyone has been ordered out of the structure by fire and rescue supervisors except for Accurate Towing Service.—Ed.)

As he stood on the top floor of a structurally compromised building, Thomas “Tom” James Makuch Jr., owner of Accurate Towing Service, found himself staring at an overturned Porsche Boxter in front of a huge hole in the building. He was standing in a pool of blood with the possibility of the building’s roof collapsing, while being watched by video cameras, live news station feeds from all the surrounding states, multiple police, fire and rescue agencies and personnel.

“It was a defining moment in my 25-plus year career as a TRAA Level 3 Recovery and Incident Management Recovery Supervisor. … There was tremendous PRESSURE!” Makuch related.

They extended the boom of the Jerr-Dan 50-ton up and out into the building over the Porsche. As space was confined, there was very little room for error; the head of the boom was virtually touching the ceiling of the room. They connected the two heavy-duty hooks and cables to the chains to the rigging on the Porsche.

“I was in constant communication by radio with (wrecker/crane operator) Alex (Mace) down in the parking lot at the controls of our Jerr-Dan 50-ton,” Makuch said. “I moved both cables slowly and cautiously as the weight from the vehicle was being raised. I could feel the floor start to move beneath my feet as the 3,000-pound car was lifted. Because of the flexing of the building, parts of the ceiling started to fall from the roof structure.

“At that point we stopped again,” Makuch said.

While utilizing the heavy-duty wrecker’s hydraulics, Accurate decided to boom in and bring the rear of the car towards the front of the building simultaneously by using the cable from the left side winching in and bring the front of the car winching out. They used that technique several times to exit the car out the front of the building and bring it down.

“We then used the hydraulic underreach as the car came forward out of the building to apply pressure to the car,” Makuch said. “Using the winches, we manipulated the car around, letting the back hang down further (while) lifting the front up higher, causing the car to almost stand up straight vertical position; while repeatedly booming in several more times to bring the car out of the building completely while using pry bars to pry the front bumper out of the studs of the adjoining room wall.”

Makuch then directed the wrecker operator and the crew members to pull the truck forward approximately 10 feet. At that point, crew members and the heavy recovery operator were instructed to level off the car using the winches once the vehicle was level the vehicle was slowly lowered to the ground.

At the request of the Crime Scene Investigators, the vehicle was placed on its roof in order to take pictures of the car’s underbody to document damages for continued investigation. Accurate Towing was then instructed to overturn and upright the vehicle once CSI finished. Crew members rigged the car using chains around the undercarriage to perform a reverse roll.

“We performed the reverse roll putting the car back to the right-side-up position,” Makuch said. “Crew members began to work on the ground floor picking up building debris and other various debris by moving them all into piles. We carefully swept the parking lot free from debris—wood, nails, sharp objects—to prevent any flat tires on any of our or rescue team, trucks and rigs, in addition to the safety of all emergency crew members.

“Crew members also retrieved and recovered dislodged various parts of the vehicle such as tires, convertible top, bumpers, mirrors, all various etc., throughout the perimeter of the crash scene which spanned from Hooper Avenue, into adjacent woods and building.”

Accurate Towing Service noticed the car started to leak gasoline and oil from the engine and the front bay where the fuel tank sits. Acting quickly, crew members and recovery operators spread absorbent onto the areas to contain a potential hazmat situation.

They were then instructed to load the car up on one of the flatbeds. Crew members lifted the car onto the deck of a red car carrier vehicle was then chained down and taken back to their storage facility. Two other flatbeds were used to load all the vehicle parts and debris that was scattered in piles around the crash site. They were tied down using straps to prevent falling debris while in transport. All parts and debris were transported back to Accurate’s yard to be stored.

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!

Second Story Job in Jersey, Pt. 1

0 b2486By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Thomas “Tom” James Makuch Jr. owns Accurate Towing Service based in Toms River, New Jersey, along with his wife, Cynthia. He started the company in 1987.

On the morning of Nov. 10, 2019, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a 2010 red Porsche Boxster convertible was traveling at a very high rate of speed. Its driver lost control, hit a center median and struck an embankment that launched it into the second-story office of a real estate agency.

The crash was discovered at approximately 6:30 a.m.

Though no one was inside the building at the time of the crash, the driver and his passenger, both in their early twenties, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Emergency crews, including Accurate Towing Service, were dispatched to the scene. The emergency crews included the Toms River Police Department and other law enforcement, nearby fire departments and coordinators, EMS, investigators a rescue task force, the Ocean County Prosecutors office, building safety inspectors and all utility authorities.

The two occupants of the vehicle were still inside the car that was upside down, and had to be extricated.

Tom responded along with his daughter, ground safety supervisor Kaitlin Makuch Mace; her husband, wrecker/crane operator Alex Mace; and operators Robert Nelson, Mathew Kelly and Robert Walsh for rigging and recovery. They brought their 2017 Kenworth T880 with Jerr-Dan HDL1000 50-ton hydraulic crane wrecker; a 2016 Peterbilt 337/Century hydraulic wrecker; a 2019 Freightliner M2/Century Series 16 LCG; two 2017 Hino 258/Jerr-Dan 21.5’ flatbeds; and a Dodge Ram four-wheel-drive support unit.

“Upon arriving on scene,” Tom said, “we observed a red sports car upside down on the second story of the building. It was clear that the building and structure were not safe whatsoever. There was a gaping hole in the front of the building in addition to the corner source and the side of the building.

“The concern was with the sustained structural impact that there was little to no support for the remaining walls and there was the potential for the roof of the building to collapse at any moment with the weight of the vehicle resting in the second floor.”

Tom worked closely with the fire and rescue departments. The emergency crews rebuilt some makeshift support walls in the basement, main floor and the top floor. More support was needed to the structure as while at one point inside the crash scene, the front corner of the roof started to collapse. Fire department rescue workers added additional support beams from floor to ceiling to keep the ceiling and roof from collapsing.

Accurate’s crew had to work carefully around the bodies of the deceased victims until the coroner’s office came to retrieve the bodies.

“The recovery scene was very unsafe because the victims were hanging upside down in the car for a few hours, causing both victims to virtually bleed out; therefore there was excess blood spread thickly throughout the floor making it a slippery biohazard situation for all involved,” Tom said. “We tried to lay ceiling tiles over the blood-soaked area in addition to absorbent so we would minimize the danger and exposure to our crew members. The Porsche was heavily damaged and mangled in the crash, which made it difficult to try to identify safe points to chain and rig, and support the vehicle.

“We choked up on chains tightly because of the limited room we had to work with. One chain was around the rear suspension where it mounts to the engine cradle; the other chain we fed through the front cradle near the body mounts using Grade 100 1/2” chain. We located spots in the aluminum undercarriage and frame to safely support and rig the vehicle.”

The Silverton Fire Department and other rescue teams worked simultaneously on removing some of the brick facade on the front of the building to increase the entrance crash hole so there would be less impediment from the movement of the car when the extrication of the vehicle from the second story commenced.

Once rigged, the crew faced another challenge. When the Porsche had violently crashed through the building, the front end of the vehicle went through the wall of the next room and the aluminum bumper support was hung up on several wall studs in the bathroom. At this point fire and rescue teams stated that there was nothing else that could be done with the structure.

“We all knew what we were dealing with,” Tom said. “It was a VERY dangerous situation! Fire and rescue supervisors announced and yelled out to rescue teams, “EVERY ONE THAT DOES NOT WORK FOR ACCURATE TOWING SERVICE, EVACUATE THE BUILDING NOW!”

(To be continued next week.)

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

Dump Stuck

0 e5b7aBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Battelini’s Garage Inc. in Landisville, New Jersey, has been in business for more than 95 years. Alesio Battelini started Battelini's in 1921. Albert Battelini is the president of the company; he co-owns it with his brother Anthony and their father Dominick. This family owned and operated business is going on their fourth generation.

Recently, they received a call to recover a heavily laden tri-axle dump truck.

Battelini said, “At 10 in the morning on November 4, 2019, we got called by a long-time customer. The customer explained that their tri-axle dump, loaded with 73,000 pounds of sand, was stuck on Route 55 southbound in Vineland, New Jersey.”

He responded with Unit 8212, his Ole12 wrecker. Ole12 is a 1982 Western Star/1986 3500 NRC heavy. The NRC unit is a 40-ton unit with a three-stage fixed boom and a 35,000-lbs. under reach. It also has a 60,000-lbs. Braden drag winch.

Operator Lou Roberson responded in their 2015 Peterbilt/NRC 40CS 40-ton. This unit, with NRC’s sliding system, handles both towing and recovery duties for Battelini’s.

“When we arrived on scene,” Battelini said, “we found the loaded tri-axle in the median with its driver’s side tandems stuck in the sand.”

Battelini staged Ole12 with its business end back to the nose of the stuck dump and Lou positioned the NRC 40CS in front of Ole12.

“We used Ole12 to winch the dump out 100 feet onto roadway,” Battelini said. “Using Ole12 and the 60,000-pound drag winch with 2-1/2 inch grade 100 chains to the front tow pins. We just had the NRC 40CS there for standby in case Ole12 wouldn't plant, but it did.”

With Battelini at the controls, crouched down with his eyes on the stuck dump, he steadily pulled it out of the sand.

“We left the tri-axle in neutral and pulled it with Ole12. If we were to try letting the tri-axle help us, I felt it would have made it worse by spinning himself down and breaking the driveline.”

Once the dump was back on solid ground it was able to continue on its way.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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NORTHERN - Sturgeon Bay, WI
$85
(pop. 9,144)

SOUTHERN - Flowood, MS
$125
(pop. 7,823)

EASTERN - Burlington, NJ
$90
(pop. 9,920)

WESTERN - Orland, CA
$225
(pop. 7,291)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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December 04 - December 10, 2019

Are Tow Trucks First-Responders?

16 Off the Bridge Recovery TIW 20 copy 7321fBy Randall C. Resch

There’s repeated banter over whether or not tow operators are first responders.

I don’t know if this is a generational thing, but I’ve worked this industry for better than 50 years, representing that towmen weren’t even remotely considered anything other than “just a tow truck driver” until early 2004, when the Cumberland Valley (PA) Volunteer Firefighters Association, thought to formalize on-highway response.
In Traffic Incident Management training, there’s a prevailing thought that tow trucks and tow operators are indeed “first responders.”

To mention that tow operators are first responders has led to a multitude of questionable driving behaviors and mentalities where towers often respond in a manner that authorized emergency workers such as law enforcement, paramedics and firefighters do.

Do Your Homework

To be considered an “authorized emergency vehicle,” legislation must be written that allows it. Just because tow trucks respond to traffic accidents doesn’t make us authorized emergency vehicles. For example, California Vehicle Code’s Section 165 states;

“An authorized emergency vehicle is: ... (e) Any vehicle owned or operated by any department or agency of the United States government when the vehicle is used in responding to emergency fire, ambulance, or lifesaving calls or is actively engaged in law enforcement work.”

The section closely defines that special wording of “tow truck” or “wrecker” is clearly missing from the section’s narrative. California’s tow trucks aren’t emergency vehicles and don’t have the same response capabilities due to lack of specialty lighting, sirens and, most importantly, applicable training. Like most states, California has no legislation authorizing tow trucks to respond Code 3 in an emergency-like manner.

Some states, like Missouri, tow trucks are allowed to operate red and blue lights as well as sirens. However, they’re supposed to use red, blues, and sirens only when responding to requests from law enforcement. In other states, a tow truck responding with emergency amber lights is not an authorized emergency vehicle.

If a state doesn’t have specific wording to define “authorized emergency lighting,” it’s not an emergency vehicle. The use of blue-colored lights is typically limited to law enforcement and where paramedic rigs and firefighting equipment are provided special consideration in an emergency response mode. As far as I know, there are no formal, high-speed driving courses to formally train tow operators in emergency tow truck response. In most states there is no current legislation that authorizes emergency response to tow operators.

What’s That Mean?

As an instructor teaching tow operator response and safety protocol across the United States, my best advice is know what your state laws mandate in response to your tow truck being considered an authorized emergency vehicle. There’s huge liability in emergency vehicle operations. Be fully aware.

A 30-year career firefighter and fire instructor defined the topic of tow trucks as first-responders best by commenting, “A tow truck could legally be considered anything your state legislature or other lawmaking body decides it is. If you can get a bill approved that classifies the truck as an emergency vehicle, then legally it is one. If you get a bill passed that classifies it as a submarine, then legally it is one. Laws are funny that way.”

The towing and recovery industry as a whole lacks solid written defined laws that make us first responders in the title’s true sense.

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.

Stay Current: DOT Number Bi-annual Updates

table2 d0cbfBrian J. Riker

As a regulatory compliance specialist, I often field calls from towers and fleet owners that are caught off-guard by pending new regulations or other compliance obligations they may have missed.

One of the most often-forgotten compliance obligation is filing your bi-annual update with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Nearly every tower that operates within the United States is required to have a U.S. DOT number. To keep this number active and avoid the potential for fines of up to $10,000, motor carriers are required to file an updated MCS-150 form every two years.

This is a fairly simple update that anyone can do on their own; or, for convenience, they can use a third-party service provider to file for them.

Either way, this is a low- or no-cost filing requirement. Do not fall prey to the unscrupulous solicitations from service companies using scare tactics to convince you to spend hundreds of dollars to have them file on your behalf.

When this filing is due depends on your number. The last digit determines the month to file while the second to last digit determines if the filing is due in odd or even numbered years.

There are a few other times a motor carrier may need to file an updated MCS-150 form outside of the bi-annual update. These include if there is a change of ownership or address, if the motor carrier is no longer engaging in any interstate commerce or is out of business. Failure to make any of these updates, even the out of business notice, may result in civil penalties against the owner(s) of the motor carrier.

Not having or failure to display an active U.S. DOT number on commercial vehicles when required to do so may result in roadside enforcement actions including citations with fines up to $1,000 per occurrence. Some jurisdictions may even place a commercial vehicle out of service for failure to have and/or display a valid U.S. DOT number.

Your bi-annual update is also very important for filing the annual Unified Carrier Registration. The UCR system uses data on file with the FMCSA to determine how much your annual registration fee is. If the data is out of date, you may not be able to complete your UCR registration or may be charged a higher fee than appropriate based on your actual fleet size vs. reported fleet size.

On a side note, the UCR registration period for 2020 has been delayed indefinitely waiting on a final rulemaking by the FMCSA to establish the rates for 2020. The rates will be adjusted to give credit for a surplus of funds collected in previous years. Enforcement of UCR registration will be delayed for three months after the updated rates are published and the 2020 registration period opens.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC and is a contributing writer to American Towman Magazine and Tow Industry Week. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

A Cable by Any Other Name

images 587bdBy Randall C. Resch

I seldom get my old man cohonies in a twist over something presented on Facebook or online industry forums, but I encountered a Facebook post berating tow operator professionalism, competency and industry knowledge, based on someone’s perceived misuse of the common word, “cable.”

The post said in part that, “Many people within our industry, as well as outside the towing industry, are referencing the wrong terminology when referring to the ‘tow line’ ... ‘recovery line,’ adding, “In towing there is no ‘cable.’ ”

With all the horror in the world … does it really matter?

But I took offense with the poster’s last sentence that directed negativity towards towers: “The misuse of the towing terminology may seem like no big deal except for those dedicated towing professionals who take their job to the career level.”

Tomato/“To-mah-toe”

A snippet of history: Cable was invented by the German mining engineer, Wilhelm Albert, between 1831 and 1834 for its use in mining the Harz Mountains, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was rapidly accepted, as it proved superior to ropes made of hemp or metal chain that had been used before. As its use became more common, it was referred to simply as “cable.” In the next 180-plus years, the term “cable” was used as a common backbone to winching and recovery.

It seems that an improper use of the time-worn towing term “cable” has been increasingly overthought when the word’s intended meaning has worked throughout the entire time this industry’s been around. I’ve had readers call and write to tell me that my reference to cable is incorrect and improper. To that, I instantly ponder the “chicken or the egg theory”—which came first?

But answer me this: did “cable” ultimately morph into a more descriptive, legal or scientific determination?

Making it familiar and simple for tow operators to refer to and retain is preferable. Getting the job done safely, efficiently and in a timely manner is the preferred end result, regardless as to how one refers to the process at hand.

In my 50-some odd years in this industry, I've always referred it as "cable,” both in the workplace and many times in a courtroom setting—and I've not been challenged. B/A Products, ZIPS AW Direct and other supplier catalogs refer to it the same and not as “recovery line.”

If you were to seat 50 tow operators in a room and ask them, “What equipment item would you use to attach a wrecker to a crashed vehicle that’s 100 feet down an embankment and in a ditch?,” chances are a greater percentage of respondents would reply, “cable.”

Is their answer incorrect?

KISS Me

In the 1960s, the U.S. Navy initiated a training standard called the KISS principle, meaning “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It recognizes that people generally want things that are simple; easy to learn and use. I believe that the ability to speak in intrinsic terms is the sign of professionalism, industry knowledge and competency. KISS makes that reality.

In reaching training objectives it’s necessary for instructors and trainers to know their intended audience. In our industry, we’re hands-on people; not necessarily academia. I’m confident that Ernest Holmes, Bill Jackson and other founding tow manufacturers weren’t concerned that any single piece of towing or recovery equipment be referred to in its official, legal, formal, politically correct or scientific name.

Wire rope and recovery line have been called “wires” and “cable” long before tow trucks were invented. When it comes to speaking the lingo of the trade, I believe it’s acceptable for towers to use its not-so-formal meaning on a daily basis. Because tow operators and others refer to something in a different vernacular, that doesn’t make them any less professional or less qualified.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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December 04 - December 10, 2019

Branding 101

1 20191119 090818A 37793By George L. Nitti

When it comes to branding, sometimes it’s best to follow in the footsteps of companies who set good examples through their reputable names, catchy slogans and strong images/graphics.

As part of their branding strategy, T&W Garage of Newport, Maine, has recognized the critical role of branding to their bottom line by building name recognition by following leading companies.

Some time ago, T&W took on Peterbilt’s slogan, “Class Pays,” where it is displayed on their 2019 Peterbilt 389/Century 1150 rotator.

“We have it on the boom of the truck next to the Peterbilt logo,” said owner Michael Tozier. “We are a professional business and try to do everything with class and that has paid off for us.”

According to Tozier, class includes how well you treat your customers.

“We follow the golden rule. We treat others like we would like to be treated,” Tozier said.

Written across the back of the cab between red stars, another phrase resonates as a sound brand strategy: “American Made.”

“We are very patriotic,” Tozier said. “Maine is a conservative area and very patriotic. We deal with a lot of truck drivers who can relate to it.”

The company hasn’t deviated far from their original branding with T&W name prominent on the sides. With a change in sign companies, the graphics are fresher, cleaner and more modern, such as the honeycombed background found on the unit’s sides.

Tozier said, “I just told them to update the theme. They did a great job to keep it consistent with the old concept. Our fonts are still the same, but we went with a horizontal rather than sloping graphic.”

Accentuating the T&W name are the complementary colors of black, white and red.

“We added those colors five or six years ago,” Tozier said. “Our lettering is the size of a billboard and not a small investment. We wanted our trucks to be seen from the other side of the interstate, giving us advertising and name recognition.”

Equally prominent on the back of the unit are the letters and words “207 TOWBOSS.”

Tozier said, “It’s important to have our phone number on there. It’s a very rural state as we cover an area a hundred miles out.”

The company, originally named Tozier and Willett has remained the same despite the fact that Willett is no longer a partner in the business.

Tozier said, “We are a well-established brand and it would be an expensive proposition to change our name. We are a known commodity. We don’t have much to gain by changing it.”

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!

Bold, Mysterious, Powerful

0 87bdcBy George L. Nitti

The color black symbolizes many traits: boldness, mysteriousness, power among others. Over the years the color has gained increasing popularity, pushing other colors out of the picture while promoting a more unified theme of darkness.

With a fleet of 12 tow trucks, Aldrich Auto Body, located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, has been revamping its signature lettering to embrace a darker image.

Custom work on their most recent acquisition, a 2019 Peterbilt 389 with a 50-ton NRC sliding rotator, spotlights this bolder vision, moving away from the more colorful blend that included yellow and orange.

“Black is a trend in the industry,” said 25-year tow owner Angel Aldrich. “You might say it’s a more modern look.”

A purple hue added to the rich black blends perfectly, mixing across both the rotator’s chassis and body to serve as a one-two punch.

“Purple with black stands out,” Aldrich said. “The purple actually fades into it. We have also done the legs and pistons in purple.”

To bolster their dark theme the company has smoked out the sidelights and all of the lens caps. They have also blacked out the Peterbilt nameplate and blackened their tires.

The lack of bright lighting creates a more mysterious effect, as does the lettering on the unit’s side that does not contain a phone number.

Aldrich said, “I think people just look us up. The number doesn’t mean much anymore. We are mostly known in the area, where a majority of our work comes from.”

The power of this unit lies in the mere fact that it’s a 50-ton rotator rolling down the road, its name a running billboard.

“I have always run NRC,” Aldrich said. “I love the sliding feature and think they underrate their load. It’s very impressive.”

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!

Circle of Recovery

0 46e58
By George L. Nitti

Ideally, every company or business should have a logo to help distinguish itself and its brand. However, that’s not the case with various tow companies.

Many businesses simply opt for using the company name, not giving further thought to specific symbols or graphic elements that might further represent their business.

The company name is important, but so is key imagery. After all, where would Nike be without its iconic swoosh or the yellow golden arches that are unmistakably part of the McDonald’s brand?

Benski Towing and Recovery in Black Eagle, Montana, upon establishing their business in 2014, set about designing a logo they believe helps represent who they are and are proud to display it.

Owner Leah Noel was in marketing before getting involved in the towing business with her husband, Joe Benski. 

“We worked with a local graphic marketing company and looked online at a lot of different types of logos,” she said. “Joe knew he wanted to have a tow hook and wanted it to be round. He wanted it to be easy to read. He also wanted a chain.”

Toward that vision, the company designed a compelling, clean logo, found on their 2016 Freightliner M106/Century 4024 wrecker.

At the core of their logo is a simple silver tow hook, set off in black, and found dead center inside a circle. Outward from the tow hook, the color shifts from silver to red, helping it stand out while providing information about the company name and what they do. Finally, at the outer edge of the circle, a chain link seals the circle.

Their logo is found looming large on the side of the cab of their mostly white unit, which is minimally decorated except for the large company name on the unit’s side and several accentuating red lines.

Like a sheriff’s badge, a large logo lets others know you are in town, ready to serve and do your duty.

It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. Tow trucks stand out for many reasons. A simple design with a strong logo is one of them.

As Noel said, “Too much stuff on it defeats the purpose.”

(This article originally appeared in the July 25, 2018 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 bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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December 04 - December 10, 2019

Metro’s RTR-25-SL Rotator

1 Metros RTR 25 SL Rotator ec8eeMetro Tow Trucks will be showcasing its all new RTR-25-SL, 25-ton sliding rotator and a new generation INT-35 (35-ton wrecker) at the American Towman Exposition Dec. 5-7 in Atlantic City. See them in Booth #971.

metrotowtrucks.com

Purpose Wrecker to Display Miller Products

2 Purpose Wrecker 72273Purpose Wrecker Trucks will be on hand at the American Towman Exposition displaying various Miller Industries products. At press time, they were preparing to show*: a 2020 Western Star 4900 with Century 5130 White VIN#LN0087, DD15 505HP, 18-Speed; a 2020 KW T880 with Vulcan V100 Black VIN#413770, ISX 565HP, 18-Speed; and a 2020 Freightliner M2 with Century 4024 Red VIN#LC9726, ISL 350HP, Allison Auto (shown here).
(* - trucks are subject to being sold).
 
purposewrecker.com
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
Tim Russi, former Ally Financial president of auto finance, joins repossession management firm Resolvion.

Resolvion Recruits Ally’s [b]Russi Following Merger

On the heels of completing a merger, repossession firm Resolvion has beefed up its ranks with a 30-year auto finance executive, said CEO Michael Levison.

Tim Russi has been named to Resolvion’s board, the company announced recently. Prior to joining the repossession management firm, Russi led Ally Financial’s auto finance business for six years.

Russi will participate in monthly and quarterly business reviews, Levison said, noting that he and Russi will be working together on strategic initiatives relating to product line expansion. Additionally, Resolvion will leverage Russi’s industry relationships to introduce the forwarder to potential business partners.

Atlanta-based Resolvion was formed Nov. 11 through the merger of ALS Resolvion and Del Mar Recovery Solutions. The initial orders of business will be integrating operations onto one technology platform and consolidating a number of overlapping back-end functions, Levison said.

Source: autofinancenews.net.

Woman Charged with Taking Repo'd Vehicle

A woman accused of taking back a vehicle that had been repossessed and almost running down a recovery yard employee was tracked to Oklahoma and brought back to Bell County, Texas, to face charges.

Bond was set at $150,000 for 40-year-old Kaskia Jackson, who was being held on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Jackson was arrested by the Muskogee Police Department after she was found October 23.

The case goes back to April 4 after the vehicle had been picked up and taken to the yard of BAT Recovery in Temple.

Officers were called to that location and told that a woman, who police believe was Jackson, had come to pick up some personal belongings from a repossessed vehicle.

However, once she got into the car, she started it up and drove away, nearly striking an employee of the business.

Police had obtained a warrant for her arrest in April and it was believed that Jackson was spotted in Oklahoma where she was held after Muskogee officers determined that she was named in an arrest warrant from Temple.

She was transported back to Bell County and booked into the jail Nov. 7.

Source: fox44news.com.

MBSi Launches 24/7 [b]Support for Customers

MBSi Corp. recently announced the broadening of its technical customer support hours to help clients that use its repossession assignment management software and vendor compliance solutions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The company said the MBSi customer success team now will be available around the clock to help all customers.

MBSi president Cort DeHart elaborated about the strategy in a news release.

“We understand the asset recovery industry operates outside of normal business hours and we took the necessary steps to be the first to market with around the clock support ensuring all of our clients—lenders, forwarders and agents—have the back-end support needed to successfully manage their business,” DeHart said.

“We need to be available when our clients need us.”

Source: autoremarketing.com.

McCook: Repo Agents [b]Face ‘Dire Straits’

According to an article that appeared on autoremarketing.com, the repossession industry is facing its share of challenges.

In reporting on remarks made by Les McCook of the American Recovery Association, the publication stated that “the dire straits repo agents now are encountering are unprecedented and could make the prospect of getting your collateral back all the more challenging.”

The article cited that the industry itself is down to two insurance providers for liability insurance—with one of those providers seriously considering leaving the market altogether.

Another problem facing repo agents is the condition of vehicles themselves.

“Spoiled food, illegal drug paraphernalia, soiled hygiene products and containers of elements likely from the entire periodic table,” the article said, “were just some of visible material” from photos requested by McCook of ARA members. “Repo agents are mandated by federal and state regulations either to store or appropriately dispose of that property,” he said.

“And, oftentimes, agents must do it without much compensation, if any at all,” he continued. “This is a cost burden that I don’t think being considered into a marketplace. … If you want to keep the viability of the business model that we’re in today, someone has to stop and pay attention to what’s happening on the other side of the fence, that what hardship are you putting on them, what burden you are putting on them that they cannot have a sustainable relationship with your company long term.”

Source: autoremarketing.com.
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