The Week's Features
News reports note uptick in tower activity downtown
Motorist awareness of the law touted on truck
Roadside steps to increased safety awareness
New design makes down-driveway hookups easier
Puts cap on assets; forces four off board by end of year
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingFebruary 14 - February 20, 2018

Tower Cited for Pot in Truck

A tower was cited while towing a car in Palm Beach, Florida, after police found marijuana in his truck, according to a police report. The towman was towing a car when a police officer smelled marijuana coming from Handy's tow truck, according to the report. Police said they found a blue pipe in the truck along with several black and brown tin tobacco containers filled with a combined 3.4 grams of marijuana. Police cited the tower and charged him with marijuana possession.

From the American Towman News Bureau
Robert L. Snook

Probation for Tow Truck Theft

A Danville, Illinois, man who admitted he stole a tow truck that had shown up to help him has been sentenced to 30 months of probation and ordered to get a substance-abuse evaluation. Robert L. Snook, 42, pleaded guilty this week to aggravated unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. Snook admitted that on Jan. 22, 2017, he took off in a Tatman's tow truck that had been summoned to pick him and his disabled Chevrolet Equinox. When the tower got out at one point to readjust the disabled SUV to make it more secure, Snook slid over and stole the tow truck. Police pursued the truck on Interstate 74 at low speeds for several hours and ultimately arrested Snook when it ran out of gas. Source:

Man Flees Fiery Wreck

Police in Houston, Texas, are searching for a driver accused of fleeing the scene of a fiery crash this week. Police say a van slammed into a tow truck before bursting into flames. The tower, Mahmoud Yousif, said the driver of the van told him someone was still inside the burning vehicle. Yousif said he ran to the van in attempts to help, only to look back and see the man running away. Firefighters arrived and did not find anyone inside the van. "I'm glad no one was in there except the man who ran away." Yousif said, who sustained minor injuries. Source:
Tower Cited for Pot in Truck
Police smelled marijuana coming from cab
Probation for Tow Truck Theft
Low-speed chase follows crime of opportunity
Man Flees Fiery Wreck
Towman misdirected towards burning van

McKinney Joins Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald Towing & Recovery Equipment recently added Gene McKinney to its leadership team as general manager.

McKinney joins from Jerr-Dan Corp., where he led as Southeast Regional Manager.

"I saw a great opportunity here," McKinney said. "I really appreciate the aggressive growth of the [Fitzgerald] company. They believe in having enough inventories on hand to meet customer needs in all aspects of the business.

"My goal is to make Fitzgerald Towing & Recovery Equipment the No. 1 Jerr-Dan distributor in the country. Fitzgerald's expertise on glider kits goes hand-in-hand with wrecker sales. I believe this will allow us to get that No. 1 spot."

McKinney has 40-plus years of experience in the industry and 21 years of experience as regional manager at Jerr-Dan. McKinney will help Fitzgerald plan for nationwide growth by working with both the manufacturer and customers.

Manufacturers Spotlight:
Powerbilt Wreckers 50 Ton Sliding Rotator
• February 14 - February 20, 2018

Gee, Thanks Punxsutawney Phil

Ahhh, winter.

It's a tow business' utopia, right? The snow is falling by the foot, all that money is coming in, the operators are all busy—tow businesses can go on like this forever, correct?

Well, according to a recent piece written by Dan Spies, executive director of the Pennsylvania Towing Association, all is not as heavenly as it may seem.

There's a constant pressure on the business round-the-clock; equipment is continuously running, operators are going non-stop and the phone is ringing off the hook.

If the equipment breaks down, there's a problem. The business is down a truck, thus straining the other units that have to pick up the slack. Calls for dead batteries take their toll, as many companies don't stock the most common ones used (according to Spies); and those that do, run out of stock with no delivery date in sight for additional stock.

Winter is also flu season; if your company unfortunately is affected with the bug, chances are you're going to have at least one operator—maybe more—calling in sick. That puts additional pressure on your "lucky" unaffected drivers. (By the way, check out Brian J. Riker's excellent Tow Business & Operations article this week on dealing with the flu season.)

Then there's the human factor. All of this pressure and bad weather sometimes (oftentimes?) leads to tempers flaring, thus the business owner has to put up with even more.

Add in the element of balancing safety with bad weather, road conditions and trying to provide decent ETAs ... "it's like a jungle out there—sometimes you wonder how you keep from going under," (apologies to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five).

I'll have to admit: I never thought of it from that angle until reading Spies' article. It all makes sense, too.

So this week, I'll just say to be careful during the five weeks of winter we have left (thanks a lot, Punxsutawney Phil) and take copious notes of how to do it even better next year.

--Charles Duke

Tougher Regulation Being Considered

A measure to more closely regulate private tow companies has been approved by a Philadelphia, Pa., city council committee and now moves on to the entire council for consideration.

The legislation, which addresses towing vehicles from private lots and driveways, mandates specific fees and storage costs.

Councilman Bill Greenlee said he's heard plenty from people feeling scammed by towing companies.

"Unfortunately, these towing companies give out a lot of erroneous information -- and that is one of many," he said.

If approved by the full Council, the standard towing fee for a car would be $175 with a $25 per day storage fee. Those charges would double for big trucks.

Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Communications Manager: Helen Gutfreund
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, a digital roadside assistance platform, recently announced an upcoming integration with Towbook's cloud-based towing software. Roadside assistance and towing professionals will be able to accept and manage jobs on the Towbook platform. Stop by their booths during the American Towman ShowPlace taking place at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 9-12.;
By Don Lomax
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