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The Week's Features
Towman helped man escape from a burning vehicle
Periwinkle ribbon is tribute to owner’s late brother
Operators and “Sneaky Pete” recover overturned semi
Get your truck and contact info right in the customer’s hands
Team will be led by SVP of client services Claudia Plascencia 
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing February 26 - March 03, 2020

TRAA Joins Coalition to Halt 'Burdensome' Bills

The Towing and Recovery Association of America, along with a coalition of 30 other trucking and trade groups, is urging Congress to halt four bills it claims would cost the industry billions of dollars in “burdensome” unfunded mandates. Among the four bills are: the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019, which would mandate commercial motor vehicles over 26,000 lbs. to be equipped with speed limiters set to 65 mph; and the Insurance Act, which would increase the minimum liability coverage for motor carriers from $750,000 to over $4.9 million. This increase would apply to all businesses transporting property, not just long-haul trucking operations. Other bills the coalition is looking to halt are the Stop Underrides Act and the Safe Roads Act, both of which would add additional costs to business owners. Source: TRAA.


Click here to read more

Free Towing Program to Expand

The “Tow and Go” program in Houston, Texas, is expanding, and there are new stretches of interstate where drivers will be able to receive a free tow.

The program offers a free tow to drivers with flat tires, those who run out of gas or those stalled on the highway. The goal is to keep traffic moving on major interstates.

The Houston-Galveston Area Council will expand the service in late spring along the I-610 Loop through Bellaire, along with additional portions of I-10, US 290, Highway 249, farther north on I-45 and the Eastex freeway, as well as parts of State Highway 225 and 146.

“Tow and Go” truck operators performed about 32,000 free tows in 2019.

The program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation.

Source: abc13.com.
"Tow and Go" truck operators performed about 32,000 free tows in 2019.
New Braking Technology Leads to a Safer Ride for Towing Industry
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Boom Truck Recovery in Jersey

0 6b1b5By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Panek's Service Center in Livingston, New Jersey, was established in 1931. Ted Panek is the owner/operator of the family business started by his grandfather, John.

On Dec. 18, 2019, at approximately 1:15 p.m., Panek’s Service Center received an urgent call from the Essex Fells Police Department requesting a rapid response to a call of an overturned boom truck with a worker trapped under one of the outriggers.

Panek’s responded with a 2006 Peterbilt/Jerr-Dan 35-ton wrecker and a 2001 GMC 3500 HD 4x4/Chevron twin-line wrecker. While responding, the police captain on the scene called and requested an expedited response as time was a factor for the trapped worker.

Panek called Livingston Collision—an auto body repair and towing service also based in Livingston—and requested that they respond with their 2011 Kenworth/Century 1140 RXP 40-ton rotator, service truck and scene support trailer.

Once on scene, while setting up to free the worker, the Essex Fells Fire Department, First Aid Squad and the USA1 Urban Search and Rescue Team dug under the overturned boom truck to free the worker.

With the worker safely rescued, Panek’s and Livingston Collision formulated an extensive plan to recover the casualty while waiting for the power company to cut the power to surrounding service lines. They also waited for OSHA officials to arrive and conduct their investigation along with the Essex Fells Police Department.

On scene were fire and rescue squads from the nearby towns Essex Fells, Roseland, Verona, Montclair, Newark and Millburn; Public Service Electric & Gas; West Essex First Aid; Atlantic Medics; and the Essex Fells Police Department.

On scene from Panek’s were Panek and certified heavy towing and recovery operator Thomas Daniello.

Livingston Collision came with rotator operator Clint Richards, operator J.R Crawford, scene support/photographer Bradley Crawford, service technician Dan Keenan and service technician supervisor Ryan Condit.

Once the all clear was given by the officials on the scene, Livingston Collision pumped off the hydraulic tank. Panek’s and Livingston Collision worked together to separate the boom from the turret by unpinning the boom, which was kinked in a number of places, making it impossible to draw it in.

The left outrigger had to be cut off because it was bent and unable to be collapsed.

“The truck was held in place by the rotator utilizing two doubled-up winch lines, and the 86-inch boom was held in place by the 35-ton Jerr-Dan,” said Daniello. “During this point in the recovery, severe snow squalls had come through the area, along with 10- to 15-degree temperatures, which didn’t make for the best working conditions.”

With the boom unpinned, the truck was lifted and brought down to the roadway for the upright by the 35-ton Jerr-Dan, and the rotator was used to catch the load. The truck was winched around to the back of the 35-ton and moved out of the immediate scene.

“It was now 2 a.m.,” Daniello said. “After 13 hours on the scene and due to the ice conditions, a decision was made by both tow companies to cut the boom in half and bring it down to the roadway where it would be left until dawn.”

In the daylight hours, Livingston Collision responded back to the scene with its rotator, and a Landoll trailer owned by Eagle Auto & Truck Services in Parsippany. Eagle loaded the boom, and the truck and boom were transported to Panek’s yard.

Editor’s Note: Look for the print version of this recovery in an upcoming issue of American Towman Magazine.

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!

The Roller Derby of Real Life

Sometimes, the stories I read regarding some road behavior by motorists, truckers and, yes, a few tow truck drivers remind me of something I used to watch on TV in my younger days: roller derby.

Any of you remember that?

Man, Charlie O’Connell used to be my absolute favorite, along with the rest of the San Francisco Bay Bombers: Tony Roman, Carol “Peanuts” Meyer (Roman’s wife), Joanie Weston and Margie Lazlo, just to name a few.

(I also gotta sneak in Lydia Clay, who I had a teenage crush on.)

Announcer Walt Harris used to intone at the beginning of each broadcast, “It’s Roller Derby—thrills and spills on the banked track!”

However, on today’s roadways, there’s nothing “thrilling” about the number of cars, tractor-trailers and tow trucks crashing into each other and “spilling.” The crashed-into motorist doesn’t “go over the rail” just to come back for the next “jam.”

Instead, often there are severe injuries and even fatalities. Every vehicle out there is bigger than O’Connell and does much more damage. It pains me to see a towman—or anybody—laid up in the hospital as a result of a roadside accident.

Tow truck funeral processions affect me even more.

Which all points to yet another message about being safe out there and observing the rules of the road. Hustling to get to a job is one thing; running everything and everybody over to get there is quite another. Everybody wants to get where they’re going, be it to the disabled car, back to the shop or simply back home to loved ones.

Charlie O’Connell eventually had to leave Roller Derby as he had accumulated too many broken bones and a debilitating back injury.

Don’t leave the towing game before your time. Be safe and stay in the game.

--Charles Duke

Environmental Chemical Soltuions’ TC Program

ECS 52835We teach you how to get paid for what you already do – cleaning up spills at accident scenes. This requirement is a billable action covered under liability insurance. Environmental Chemical Solution’s (ECS) TC program addresses all facets of training, cleanup, disposal and billing for the towing and wrecker industry. Come see what ECS has to offer at the American Towman Show Place taking place at the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 14-15, 2020.

ecschem.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


What is the biggest issue facing the towing industry politically?
Lack of unity amongst towmen
Need of an industry lobbyist
Governmental regulations
Ineffective elected State and Federal officials
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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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February 26 - March 03, 2020
Jeremy Price saved a young man’s life last Wednesday evening when he pulled a driver from the wreckage of a burning car. Image - Woody Anderson Ford.

Fire Company Thanks Hero Towman

A towman for a Monrovia, Alabama, Ford dealership is being hailed a hero after helping a man escape from a burning vehicle. Monrovia Volunteer Fire and Rescue thanked Jeremy Price, who works for Woody Anderson Ford. Fire officials confirm that Price rescued a man from a burning vehicle on Feb. 11. Price was reportedly towing a vehicle from a wreck when he came across another wrecked vehicle that was on its side, on fire and a man was trapped inside. Monrovia Fire officials say Price was able to help the disoriented driver out of the vehicle, who was still suspended by his seatbelt. “These actions are not something we see often, so we wanted to let you know what an impact it had on our department and bystanders,” said Captain Blake Mathis. Source: whnt.com.

Tow Ordinance Passes Despite Concerns

A new Bloomington, Indiana, ordinance seeks to limit predatory towing, but some towing companies say it targets them. The ordinance passed unanimously at Wednesday night’s city council meeting. Max Stryker of Stryker Towing and Repair said the ordinance doesn’t address recouping money after a violator pays 20 percent of fees to retrieve their car. "That doesn’t pay the driver, that definitely doesn’t pay fuel, insurance costs," Stryker said. "And it just worries me that we’re going to spend thousands to make hundreds.” Stryker said after civil court costs and no enforcement of payments, tow companies won’t get paid back. Two amendments passed. One raises maximum towing fees from $125 to $135 to match county and Indiana University rates. Another allows the city to decline a towing license if the applicant isn’t in good standing with the law. Source: indianapublicmedia.org.

Free Towing Program to Expand

The “Tow and Go” program in Houston, Texas, is expanding, and there are new stretches of interstate where drivers will be able to receive a free tow. The program offers a free tow to drivers with flat tires, those who run out of gas or those stalled on the highway. The goal is to keep traffic moving on major interstates. The Houston-Galveston Area Council will expand the service in late spring along the I-610 Loop through Bellaire, along with additional portions of I-10, US 290, Highway 249, farther north on I-45 and the Eastex freeway, as well as parts of State Highway 225 and 146. “Tow and Go” towmen performed about 32,000 free tows in 2019. The program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation. Source: abc13.com.


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February 26 - March 03, 2020
Place this first on the News Page. Caption: Jeremy Price saved a young man’s life Feb. 11 when he pulled a driver from the wreckage of a burning car. Image - Woody Anderson Ford.

Fire Company Thanks [b]Hero Towman

A towman for a Monrovia, Alabama, Ford dealership is being hailed a hero after helping a man escape from a burning vehicle.

Monrovia Volunteer Fire and Rescue thanked Jeremy Price, who works for Woody Anderson Ford. Fire officials confirm that Price rescued a man from a burning vehicle on Feb. 11.

Price was reportedly towing a vehicle from a wreck when he came across another wrecked vehicle that was on its side, on fire and a man was trapped inside. Monrovia Fire officials say Price was able to help the disoriented driver out of the vehicle, who was still suspended by his seatbelt.

“These actions are not something we see often, so we wanted to let you know what an impact it had on our department and bystanders,” said Captain Blake Mathis.

Source: whnt.com.

Shooting in Canada Brings [b]Fears of Turf Wars

The shooting of two tow truck drivers in Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 16 could be part of a tow truck turf war, police say. 

A masked assailant shot two tow truck drivers in a mall parking lot near Toronto in Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 16, in what police say could be the latest incident in a disturbing turf war. 

Mark Graves, president of the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario and towing company owner, says violence in the industry has risen to "extreme levels" and continues to escalate, with drivers being threatened and abused by competitors.  

"It's very scary out there for tow operators and the general public with everything that's going on right now," Graves said. 

"We have had drivers and company owners that have called us and said that they're not working on provincial highways doing accident calls and things because they're afraid of altercations," he said. 

"I know some people that have had people actually go to their house and threaten their families."

For the past 18 months, the tow truck industry in southern Ontario has been mired in conflict. At least two men with ties to the industry have been shot and killed; according to Graves, more than 30 tow trucks have been set on fire.

"It's throughout the Toronto and Hamilton area … The problem is escalating and it's getting further out," said Graves. 

Graves believes the combination of less business and a saturated tow truck market is contributing to the rise in recent violence. A relatively mild Ontario winter has meant fewer collisions and a loss of business. 

"The [tow truck] business model of chasing does not give you customers that you work with on a daily basis. There's a good chance you'll never see the person again once you've dealt with their vehicle."

Graves called for better regulation in what he sees as a saturated tow truck industry, with too many operators on the road. 

Source: cbc.ca.

Towman Killed by Drunk [b]Driver Remembered

Towmen gathered in Tampa, Florida, recently to remember towman Roger Perrez-Borroto, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2016.

“We did this for Roger because he’s one of our brothers,” said Ginger Darling of Nationwide Towing.

Lining up their tow trucks and standing up a large sign, drivers were reminded of the law to move over safely for workers and first responders on the side of the road.

“What we do is dangerous because we’re on the side of these roads picking up these cars. Helping with accidents with the police, firemen and paramedics,” Darling said.

Perrez-Borroto was helping two stranded motorists on the bridge when Allison Huffman hit and killed Roger, leaving him on the side of the road.

“Seen him many times on the road… All us tow truck drivers, we wave at each other,” said Harry Lev.

Lev is retired from towing but not from trying to protect his fellow towers.

“There’s too many people getting hit. This year alone we’ve had 10 drivers already killed in the United States,” he said.

The tow operators plan to continue to honor the memory of Roger every year.

Source: wfla.com.

Tow Ordinance Passed [b]Despite Concerns

A new Bloomington, Indiana, ordinance seeks to limit predatory towing, but some towing companies say it targets them.

The ordinance passed unanimously at the Feb. 19 city council meeting.

Max Stryker of Stryker Towing and Repair said the ordinance doesn’t address recouping money after a violator pays 20 percent of fees to retrieve their car.

"That doesn’t pay the driver, that definitely doesn’t pay fuel, insurance costs," Stryker said. "And it just worries me that we’re going to spend thousands to make hundreds.” Stryker said after civil court costs and no enforcement of payments, tow companies won’t get paid back.

Two amendments passed. One raises maximum towing fees from $125 to $135 to match county and Indiana University rates. Another allows the city to decline a towing license if the applicant isn’t in good standing with the law.

Source: indianapublicmedia.org.

Miller Line Art Available

Miller Industries recently made available light-, medium- and heavy-duty line art for online downloads, suitable for use in T-shirts and signage for tow businesses. The line art is available free for use from Miller’s site.

Source: millerind.com.

Peterbilt Selects TLG Peterbilt [b]as Dealer of the Year

Peterbilt Motors Company announced TLG Peterbilt as the 2019 North American Dealer of the Year at their annual dealer meeting in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. The Dealer of the Year Award is given to the dealer group that best represents Peterbilt’s commitment to excellence and the never-ending pursuit of driving uptime for our customers.

“Winning Peterbilt’s Dealer of the Year Award is an honor and I’d like to thank all our hard working employees and our customers who have made our business successful,” said Glenn Larson, principal of The Larson Group. “This marks the sixth time in 22 years we have been named Peterbilt North American Dealer of the Year, recognizing our long-term commitment and belief in building relationships with employees and customers for life.”

“Over the last 3 decades, TLG Peterbilt has made significant investments in their business. They’ve expanded their footprint, adding over 21 facilities, three of which were added in 2019 alone. Their continuous commitment to putting the customer first has paid off by making them one of the top performing dealer groups across several key metrics,” said Jason Skoog, PACCAR Vice President and Peterbilt General Manager.

In addition to the 2019 Dealer of the Year, TLG Peterbilt took home a 2019 Best-in-Class award, which honors the dealer organizations that rank the highest across the North American dealer network. TLG Peterbilt also earned the Service Dealer Group of the Year award as well as five Platinum Oval awards, which are given to the elite Peterbilt dealership locations that have demonstrated outstanding performance during the previous year.

Source: peterbilt.com.
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February 26 - March 03, 2020

A ’Tator & Taters Tale in Nebraska

0 2835aBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Owned and operated by Logan and Jordan Dowhy, Dowhy Towing & Recovery in Kearney, Nebraska, was founded by Logan in July 2010.

“I’m the owner, CEO, CFO, janitor, founder … OK just owner/founder,” joked Logan.

With most of the country still in the grip of the last weeks of winter, here is a sunny July job done by Dowhy Towing & Recovery.

At 8:10 p.m. on a Saturday evening, the Nebraska State Patrol Troop C dispatched Dowhy Towing and Recovery to a multi-semi accident in the median of Interstate 80 near Kearney.

Upon arrival at the scene, the Logan team surveyed the area and deemed in necessary to remove the Freightliner and trailer from blocking interstate traffic. Logan moved the tractor and trailer to a safe location in the median, where it would wait for another tow company to be retrieved.

He then spoke with the Nebraska State Patrolmen on scene and determined it was necessary to leave the overturned semi, a tan 2016 Volvo tractor and Hyundai reefer trailer as the daylight hours had subsided and it would not be safe to initiate the beginning of a recovery.



The following morning at 8:30 a.m. Dowhy dispatched “Sneaky Pete,” a 1989 Century 1050 60-ton mounted on a 1989 Peterbilt 377; a 2014 Dodge 5500 with a Vulcan 894 light-duty; their emergency response trailer with air cushions, saws, hand tools, clean up and spill equipment; their 2000 Sterling with 26’ Jerr-Dan 10-ton rollback with a John Deere Payloader; and a 2009 Peterbilt 386 with a Dowhy’s reefer trailer.

Operators Trenton Thomas, Daniel Reifor, Kyle Brennan and Kyle Hort returned with Logan as scene supervisor the next morning.

The operators and Logan surveyed the area, discussed and determined the best scenario to initiate the recovery was to start by offloading the potatoes, re-stacking them on pallets, wrapping them in shrink wrap and loading the pallets into Dowhy's reefer trailer.
Logan called in additional personnel: Les Smith, Peyton Brennan and Jared Cline to ensure an efficient and successful offload and re-load.

The additional personnel arrived on scene at approximately 10:30 a.m. The potatoes were in 50-lbs. boxes and bags. All potatoes had to be re-stacked, re-palleted and re-wrapped. Dowhy Towing and Recovery personnel used the John Deere Payloader to load the re-wrapped pallets into Dowhy’s reefer trailer, where an operator used the pallet jack to organize the load in the reefer.

The Pete and reefer trailer and an operator left the scene at this time and returned to Dowhy's storage facility at 1:30 p.m. The additional personnel stayed on scene to assist in a safe and successful upright of the tractor and trailer combo.

Dowhy's operators rigged “Sneaky Pete” the ’tator to the front of the tractor with two single lines: one in a strong-arm position to the front axle and one to the rear of trailer in a tail wrap position.

The Vulcan 894 light-duty was also rigged to the rear of trailer and with a two-part line to the front of the trailer in a wrap position. Dowhy’s recovery crew noticed the front steer axle had partially broken away from the leaf springs and used a chain to hold it in place.

Once the rigging was in place and lines were pulled snugged, Logan along with his operators and personnel checked the rigging to ensure a safe recovery could begin. The operators were given the go ahead to stand the combo onto its wheels. The combo was uprighted, and the three additional personnel picked up the remaining debris and cleared the scene.

During this time, Dowhy's operators prepared the tractor and trailer combo to be towed back to Dowhy's storage facility by running air to the combo, removing the drive line and repairing an air valve leaking on truck.

“Sneaky Pete” then towed the tractor and trailer combo to Dowhy's storage facility.

Editor’s Note: Look for the My Baby truck feature on Truck #14 Sneaky Pete in an upcoming issue of American Towman Magazine.

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!

Boom Truck Recovery in Jersey

0 6b1b5By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Panek's Service Center in Livingston, New Jersey, was established in 1931. Ted Panek is the owner/operator of the family business started by his grandfather, John.

On Dec. 18, 2019, at approximately 1:15 p.m., Panek’s Service Center received an urgent call from the Essex Fells Police Department requesting a rapid response to a call of an overturned boom truck with a worker trapped under one of the outriggers.

Panek’s responded with a 2006 Peterbilt/Jerr-Dan 35-ton wrecker and a 2001 GMC 3500 HD 4x4/Chevron twin-line wrecker. While responding, the police captain on the scene called and requested an expedited response as time was a factor for the trapped worker.

Panek called Livingston Collision—an auto body repair and towing service also based in Livingston—and requested that they respond with their 2011 Kenworth/Century 1140 RXP 40-ton rotator, service truck and scene support trailer.

Once on scene, while setting up to free the worker, the Essex Fells Fire Department, First Aid Squad and the USA1 Urban Search and Rescue Team dug under the overturned boom truck to free the worker.

With the worker safely rescued, Panek’s and Livingston Collision formulated an extensive plan to recover the casualty while waiting for the power company to cut the power to surrounding service lines. They also waited for OSHA officials to arrive and conduct their investigation along with the Essex Fells Police Department.

On scene were fire and rescue squads from the nearby towns Essex Fells, Roseland, Verona, Montclair, Newark and Millburn; Public Service Electric & Gas; West Essex First Aid; Atlantic Medics; and the Essex Fells Police Department.

On scene from Panek’s were Panek and certified heavy towing and recovery operator Thomas Daniello.

Livingston Collision came with rotator operator Clint Richards, operator J.R Crawford, scene support/photographer Bradley Crawford, service technician Dan Keenan and service technician supervisor Ryan Condit.

Once the all clear was given by the officials on the scene, Livingston Collision pumped off the hydraulic tank. Panek’s and Livingston Collision worked together to separate the boom from the turret by unpinning the boom, which was kinked in a number of places, making it impossible to draw it in.

The left outrigger had to be cut off because it was bent and unable to be collapsed.

“The truck was held in place by the rotator utilizing two doubled-up winch lines, and the 86-inch boom was held in place by the 35-ton Jerr-Dan,” said Daniello. “During this point in the recovery, severe snow squalls had come through the area, along with 10- to 15-degree temperatures, which didn’t make for the best working conditions.”

With the boom unpinned, the truck was lifted and brought down to the roadway for the upright by the 35-ton Jerr-Dan, and the rotator was used to catch the load. The truck was winched around to the back of the 35-ton and moved out of the immediate scene.

“It was now 2 a.m.,” Daniello said. “After 13 hours on the scene and due to the ice conditions, a decision was made by both tow companies to cut the boom in half and bring it down to the roadway where it would be left until dawn.”

In the daylight hours, Livingston Collision responded back to the scene with its rotator, and a Landoll trailer owned by Eagle Auto & Truck Services in Parsippany. Eagle loaded the boom, and the truck and boom were transported to Panek’s yard.

Editor’s Note: Look for the print version of this recovery in an upcoming issue of American Towman Magazine.

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!

Cool Cat Rescue

0 ea6d8By Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

Every now and then you get one right down the road. That might not be so unusual if you tow in a metro or suburban area; but if you’re towing in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming, down the road can be many hours away and in extreme locations.

Such was a recent call for Norberg’s Towing in Green River, Wyoming.

On Feb. 4, 2020, Norberg’s Towing received a call from the owner of a Snowcat tracked vehicle that was in a ditch only minutes away from their yard. (Snowcats are used for snow grooming of ski and snowmobile trails.)

Shawn Sheridan, who manages and operates Norberg’s Towing with his brother Dale Jr., explained:

“The Snowcat owner called us to recover the ’cat from a ditch in Horsethief Canyon not that far from our yard,” he said. “The incident had actually happened the night before. A pickup, pulling a trailer that was hauling the ’cat, lost control and went into the ditch. Another tow company pulled out the pickup and trailer. The owner called us to get the ’cat.”

Shawn and Brian Davis headed out in the Eagle, a 1998 Freightliner FL112 with a Don Hines bed and a Zacklift. It has a factory double frame and is powered by a C12 engine mated to an 8LL trans and has 46,000-lbs. rear ends with full lockers on a walking beam suspension and an 18,000-lbs. steer axle.

When Shawn and Brian arrived on scene, they found the Snowcat stuck off the road down in a ditch of snow.

“When we arrived the ’cat owner was on scene along with a telephone company worker,” said Shawn. “The ’cat was about 80-feet down in the ditch, still on its tracks, but at a 45-degree angle.”

Shawn positioned the Eagle with its business end lined up to where the Snowcat was. He and Brian then hauled the chains down the snowy slope to rig it.

“This ’cat only weighed about 6,000 pounds, but the hydro was locked up. I grabbed it by the receiver hitch and freed the planetary so it would roll free.”

Once it was up out of the ditch, Shawn hooked to the Snowcat’s back end.

“I had to tow it three miles downhill where the telephone company had their own rollback waiting to haul it away,” Shawn said.

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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NORTH - Harriman, NY
$100
(pop. 2,487)

SOUTH - Lucedale, MS
$160
(pop. 3,004)

MIDWEST - Rush City, MN
$125
(pop. 3,065)

WEST - Eastsound, WA
$164
(pop. 4,500)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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February 26 - March 03, 2020

A Lesson in Whiplash

Whiplash3A 52a7aBy Randall C. Resch

This is a quick lesson in the dangers of cables or straps that whiplash back when tower’s work to extract vehicles from snow, sand and mud. There’s plenty of video footage showing a recoiling recovery strap or wire rope snapping during a hard pull.

My simple definition of whiplash as it relates to towing and recovery is the violent release of connective devices or equipment items that become undone, freed or separated from its place of attachment from equipment/accessory failure.

Not So Funny

In February 2019, a young man in southern Minnesota was critically injured as his truck was being extracted from a roadside ditch. Sheriff's investigators believe that the victim was injured after a passerby stopped to assist the stuck motorist, whose truck had gone into a ditch two days earlier.

According to the police report, the tow receiver from the good Samaritan’s vehicle reportedly broke as the men attempted to extract the victim’s stuck truck. The victim was seated in his vehicle when the accident occurred.

As the pull was initiated, a piece of the tow hitch and its trailer ball violently launched toward the victim’s truck. This caused the whiplashing strap to recoil through two windows of the truck's topper, continuing through the rear window and struck the victim in the head. He was transported to a hospital and later to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he died of massive head trauma.

Lesson One
Preparation: Take a large, circular rubber band and cut it with a pair of scissors. Now take the straightened rubber band and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger of your strong hand. The other end goes into your teeth where you bite and hold it strong.

Action: With your strong hand holding the end of the rubber band, pull it away from your face with sufficient strength to maintain the rubber band in a full stretch. Slowly loosen the pinch. Wham! If yer’ smart, that’s your first lesson in the dangers of whiplash.

Lesson Two
When it comes to critical recovery, the safest option is to not involve vehicle owners or the motorist who got stuck. Towers tell me there might be recovery scenarios when their customer has to be tasked with being seated in a stuck vehicle.

Has to?

I’m not so sure. I don’t agree that a person has to be in the dangerous position of having recoiling recovery gear hurled at them. If that means having to turn down the call, safety is the best consideration.

Unfortunately, there are towers who actively enlist the help of someone on-scene and have them steer or drive the casualty vehicle. Doing so is a dangerous practice. I can only recommend that you don’t.

If you’re that tower who doesn’t heed this advice, here’s simple safety item that your tow company can add to your recovery repertoire.

A Prepared Safety Device
Purchase a half-sheet of ¾” plywood and cut a windshield-like shape to simulate a vehicle’s front windshield. On the left and right (horizontal) ends, cut a 1 x 3” elongated finger handle. Near the center of the board, use a 2” door handle (circle) tool and cut three “view holes” measuring 2” apart.

When the board is ready to use for vehicle extraction, take the board to the stuck vehicle. Lay it horizontally across the windshield or against the vehicle’s rear windshield in the direction of extraction.

If someone is seated in the casualty, the plywood against the windshield or glass serves as a potential safeguard. It’s not a “solve everything solution,” but should whiplash or equipment separation occur the thick plywood may add an extra level of protection.

If your recovery plan necessitates someone trying to steer as you winch, the board may or may not work as an added level of safety.

Winch-out recoveries are a dangerous practice. Employing a whiplash board doesn’t guarantee the safety of persons seated in a stuck vehicle during extreme pull.

To allow your customer to be seated in their vehicle during a hard pull is simply flirting with disaster. It’s your decision as to what works for your on-scene recovery plan.

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.

Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way

Bureau c4d7dBy Brian J. Riker

There is a popular video clip circulating on social media this week showing a woman allegedly breaking into an impound lot to take back her car without paying. The woman can be seen ramming the gate with her pickup truck, sending a towman that had just pulled up to open the gate flying backwards and into his truck.

She then backs up, rams the gate again and hits the tow truck. The tower enters the gate and bangs on her window in an attempt to stop her before she makes a third (successful) attempt to exit the impound yard with her vehicle.

While I understand the adrenaline rush that comes from being unexpectedly assaulted and the instinctual reaction to protect your business, it is never wise to place your body between a moving vehicle and a fixed object. The tower could have been seriously injured had the assailant driven forward while he was coming between the gate and the yard.

Sadly, it is becoming more common for tow operators to be assaulted on the job. It is a sobering fact that we must deal with using appropriate security measures. Your life is not worth losing to protect a truck, some pocket cash or prevent a thief from taking a vehicle out of the yard.

Towers are often alone and in dangerous places, responding to unknown persons—which are not all honest calls for assistance. Just as you would not advise your spouse or child to stop and help a random stranger alongside the roadway anymore, we must be cautious as we respond.

Below are some basic tips for personal safety adapted from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommendations for taxi drivers.

Visibility: Keep your truck well-lit with the interior light on when sitting in a parking lot or other waiting area. Avoid having dark tinted windows that will not allow others to see into your cab.

Communication: Make sure your dispatch knows where you are, not just where your truck is. If you are getting out of the truck, make a radio call or note on your electronic dispatch system so that they can check on you if you have been away from your truck for an unusual length of time. Company owners may want to think about enabling idle vehicle alerts that ping dispatch if a truck does not move within a specified period of time.

Cash: Avoid handling cash when possible. This applies not only to tow drivers on the road but also impound lot attendants when the lot is open 24/7 for vehicle retrieval. If you must handle cash, have a well-lit office with safety windows and automatic alarm systems to notify police in the event of a threat. Never go alone into the yard with an unknown person, always bring their vehicle out to them into a well-lit and secure area.

Dealing with Customers: Do not take calls that don’t have a pre-determined destination or from people that can’t provide adequate identification information when calling into dispatch. Notify your dispatcher immediately if a customer changes their destination after you have begun the tow, or if the destination seems unsafe. You have the right to refuse service if you feel unsafe.

Don’t Resist: Never chase after or resist an attempted robbery suspect; give them what they ask for and live to fight another day. Report the assault to authorities and your dispatcher immediately and cooperate with the investigating officer.

Cameras: Live-feed cameras on buildings and trucks, especially for towers in high risk areas, can provide additional safety for towers. Owners should consider installing live cameras if their trucks work in dangerous areas or in high-risk sectors of the industry such as private property impound or repossession. Not only will these cameras reduce false damage claims, allowing you to defend your operators, they will also provide extra security for those working late at night.

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

In Praise of the Side-Puller

Sidepuller 07defBy Randall C. Resch

Should you buy a side-puller device for your carrier, or should you just use a carrier and a snatch-block?

The question is reasonable based on what’s available in new and add-on equipment designed to increase the working capabilities of today’s flatbed carriers.

The side-puller device is a fantastic, frame-mounted accessory that has taken carrier operations to a higher level of capability. It has been tested to operational standards for wear and recovery stamina. Because the puller structure is mounted to a truck’s frame and not any part of the carrier’s deck movements, it’s solid and self-contained.

While the towing and recovery industry has changed, in some jurisdictions law enforcement hasn’t kept up. For a side-puller device to not be allowed by law enforcement suggests they’re unaware what side-pullers are capable of doing.

State towing associations need to educate the law enforcement community as to the increased value of the work modern tow trucks and carriers are capable of doing on-scene.

Although rollovers and winch-out scenarios can be worked with a carrier, can you, based on the law enforcement contract, charge for using a side-puller on a truck that shouldn't have been dispatched to a recovery scene?

Most law enforcement contracts were written long ago. As such, their wording has failed to keep-up with the technology of the towing and recovery industry. The same holds true of manufacturers and tow truck associations who fail to promote the improving products used by professional and progressive tow companies and responding operators.

With an increased effort in trying to convince the law enforcement community of the operational value of side-pullers, perhaps law enforcement would be more apt to take their head’s out of the proverbial sand. Today’s carrier capabilities are the best they’ve been since the first flatbed carrier happened on the scene decades ago.

In the hands of a competent operator, a carrier that’s outfitted with a side-puller can work a full range of recovery activities. Otherwise, working a difficult recovery with only a wrecker may sometimes require an additional carrier  to load and transport the casualty. The tow charges stack when two trucks and two drivers could have been handled the same scenario in one swoop.

Asking for a second truck means initial responders must remain on-scene which also becomes a safety consideration. Another tow vehicle must come on-scene with the added potential of an operator being struck on the highway.

Is that being good stewards of the customer’s money and in the best interests of operator safety?

To tow associations and manufacturers of side-puller products, I challenge you to actively put together a promotional side-puller video to send to highway patrol administrators. The video should demonstrate to them what the device is and how effective its use can be.

Remember, the rotator didn’t hit the fast lane until towers demonstrated its value.

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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February 26 - March 03, 2020

My Pride and Joy

0 a2636By George L. Nitti
Devon Landon, owner of Landon’s Towing & Recovery of Hillsborough, North Carolina, knew early in life that he wanted to do something with cars.

With NASCAR a popular sport in the state and the nearby Occoneechee Speedway—once host to legendary stock car drivers like Richard Petty—Landon’s early life was steeped in racing and cars.

“I remember when Dad and me restored a Mercury Cougar to race at the track,” Landon said. “We wanted something unique and thought how orange and black go together.”

That restoration as a 12-year-old would be a formative experience as the day came when Landon decided to get into the towing business.

“I had my first tow truck in high school and some of the kids laughed at me,” Landon said. “Then they went off to college; and when they came back they were coming to me for a job.”

The orange and black company colors are showcased on Landon’s 2018 Ford F-550/Jerr-Dan MPL-40.

“It’s a partial wrap,” Landon said. “Someone locally did it. I told him I wanted something different, something that stood out. I told him I wanted it in black and orange. When I saw the proof, I fell in love with it.”

“Landon’s” is written in a shapely curve in a large font in Harley-Davidson orange, accented with a black shadow and three-dimensional effect. It is intertwined with a tow chain.

“The only thing that I could think of naming my company was after my last name,” he said. “I figured if it was family-owned and operated, it should be my last name.”

In a contrasting font, “Towing & Recovery” stands out along with the company phone number across the boom.

Striping helps fill the space on the back side which is covered with black and orange chevron tape.

“We have seven trucks now,” Landon said. “I started out with a 1988 (Ford) 350. This is my first brand new truck. It’s my pride and joy.”

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!

Let Freedom Swing

0 a51d1By George L. Nitti

Although Rod Pimmerman, owner of Liberty Towing in Madison, Wisconsin, was never in the military, he has respect and high regard for the people that serve. He embraced the idea of bringing on a military-themed rotator to his 10-year-old company.

“The military is very strong in Madison, as there is a military base here,” Pimmerman said. “We needed a heavy-duty truck and were looking for (a) rotator.”

After a couple of years of searching, Pimmerman saw pictures of a military-themed unit: a 1997 Kenworth T880 with a 2006 Century 1060 rotator, which was purchased from Express Wrecker.

“The pictures I saw didn’t give it justice,” he said, “but when I saw it in person I was immediately struck by the design.”

The design tells stories and consists of panels of military images honoring the bravery of our servicemen.

“With a name like Liberty, having this truck was a good fit,” he said.

The wrap is a feast for the eyes: tanks, flags, fighter jets, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, huge navy ships and heroic military figures working together to project American military might—a little something for everyone. On the hood, an exquisitely rendered American Eagle with wings spread out is enveloped by an American flag.

Another panel gives tribute to its former owner’s father, who is wearing a sailor’s hat; behind him is an American soldier firing a machine gun.

Several modern military images come into focus in the background, while a general resembling Patton stands at attention.

“People are always taking pictures of it,” Pimmerman said. “We enter it in all of the shows and parades in our area.”

The Liberty name stands out in huge lettering on the boom. When fully extended, it states, “Boom Baby.”

“We picked up that catchy phrase from some kids who were saying it,” Pimmerman said.

But when the rotator is swinging round, the words “Let Freedom Swing” are found.

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!

Eye-Smashing Logo

0 7dcc6By George L. Nitti

Attention to the finer details often makes or breaks many companies. The difference between a five-star and three-star rating is a difference that could impact both a company’s bottom line and what it’s capable of charging.

The key is to be mindful of what level you are playing at.

It holds true in graphic design where the finer details, be it on a logo or paint schematic, can make a big difference in its lasting impact on the customer.

Spending the extra dime on a dynamite design can reap its rewards, especially if the company is striving to capture seekers of finer tastes or those trying to set themselves apart from the competition.

Mr. Kitt’s Towing & Recovery of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gets kudos for their fine logo design. It explodes with creativity, combining several effective elements into one eye-smashing logo.

Their design can be seen on the side doors of their 2017 Freightliner M2/Chevron 21’ flatbed.

First is the splashy black background behind the yellow “Mr. Kitt’s” that pops out.

Closer examination of the background reveals a hook jutting out on the right side: a subtle yet clever technique tying the logo to the industry it serves.

As for the “Mr. Kitt’s” lettering, the serif font is broken up in places which makes it more appealing.

Below the logo is the expression “23-½ hour service,” in a smaller contrasting modern serif font.

“The reason for that,” owner Anthony Kitt said, “is because we need a half hour to sleep. It’s catchy and people remember you for that.”

When I asked their office manager if their logo made an impression on the public, he said, “I hope it does. Our logo design is consistent; and after a while you get used to it, like any trademark.”

The background of the unit itself is red.

Red, yellow and black. A timeless paint scheme. Pay attention to the details. The rest will follow.

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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February 26 - March 03, 2020

Keytag Promos with Your Truck

keytag 99de3Keytag promos for your business put your name and info right in the customer’s ignition, nearby when it’s needed. With a custom Mr. Key Tag order, get your truck and contact info right on a tag and in the customer’s hands. No art, custom dies or set-up fees; 15-day production.

mrkeytag.com

Talbert Offers Modular 65-Ton Trailer

product.talbert 7c5bfTalbert Manufacturing offers the 65SA Modular Trailer. The 65SA trailer takes advantage of Talbert’s custom-engineering experience to incorporate multiple axle configurations based on customer requirements for optimum versatility. Its design features a flip extension to accommodate a tandem- or tri-axle jeep dolly, allowing for maximum load configurations. It can also pair with Talbert’s E2 or E3Nitro axle extension, which dampens axle movement and controls load transfer. The modular trailer maintains a 65-ton rating at half the deck length with a 16-inch loaded side deck height and 6-inch loaded road clearance.

talbertmfg.com

Jerr-Dan Unveils New Carrier

MultiCarCarrier a6d8bJerr-Dan Corp. unveiled its just-launched multi-car carrier at the American Towman Exposition in December. The new carrier allows a fourth car to be towed with the optional underlift.

The revamped multi-car carrier uses an 8.5-ton frame that Jerr-Dan said makes it first in the industry to offer a low-profile three-car carrier with a fourth car option on this level of frame capacity.

Additional benefits of the larger subframe include: reducing the carrier deck off the top of the frame height by 2”; lowering the center of gravity of the load for more stability; providing an additional 1-ton structural capacity; and reducing the main deck height to allow for transport of taller loads, making navigation under bridges and through tunnels more efficient.

jerrdan.com
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February 26 - March 03, 2020
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February 26 - March 03, 2020
Claudia Plascencia, Resolvion SVP of client services, will lead the company’s new client success team. Image - Jonathan Fredin.

Resolvion Outlines New [b]Client Success Department

Skip-trace and repossession management firm Resolvion recently announced the launch of its new client success team. 

The client success team is led by SVP of client services Claudia Plascencia and includes seasoned client success directors and quality audit representatives. Their role is to serve as a primary point of contact on overall relationship issues and coordinate action across the multiple departments that touch the client relationship.

“Customers are vital to our business, so focusing on them and their success with our products/services helps with retention. When customers are happy and succeeding, it benefits our entire organization,” Plascencia said in a news release.

The firm said the initiative would better coordinate client needs and improve transaction efficiency.

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Mayoral Candidate Wills [b]Denies “Shooting” Allegations

Beckley, West Virginia, mayoral candidate Jim Wills denied allegations that he threatened to shoot a man. Wills said the police report is fabricated.

“I don’t actually recall saying that I would shoot someone,” said Wills.

According to a police report from the Beckley Police Department, the candidate threatened to shoot a man who had repossessed a car on Aug. 22, 2019.

“I did follow the truck down Harper Road, and I did try to flag him to get him to stop,” said Wills.

Wills said the car belonged to his deceased mother, and all he wanted was the valuables in the trunk of the vehicle. Wills explained things went south after the repossession agent told him that he would return to Wills’ home in an hour to repossess another car, a truck owned by Wills.

Wills also claims the police report had a different date than the actual day of the incident. A local news reporter talked to the police chief who said everything on the police report was factual.

Source: woay.tv.

Cash-N-Go Ordered to Pay [b]Maryland Consumers

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh recently announced that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a Final Order against Cash-N-Go Inc., Brent M. Jackson and related businesses owned and operated by Jackson under the “Cash-N-Go” name for making unlicensed and usurious consumer loans. Although Cash-N-Go claimed that they were entering into pawn transactions with consumers, the Division found that Cash-N-Go was instead making illegal consumer loans with interest rates of 360 percent.

The order directs that all of Cash-N-Go’s loans to Maryland consumers are void and unenforceable. Cash-N-Go is prohibited from collecting any money related to these loans, and any security interest or any liens that it took on consumers’ vehicles are now void and unenforceable. 

Cash-N-Go is also prohibited from repossessing consumers’ motor vehicles, and the company must return any repossessed motor vehicles still in its possession to the vehicle’s owner. The order further directs Cash-N-Go to permanently cease engaging in unlicensed lending activities in Maryland, and it requires Cash-N-Go to pay over $2.2 million in restitution to Maryland consumers and a $1,200,750 penalty to the State of Maryland. 

“The Cash-N-Go companies and their owner, Brent Jackson, preyed on Maryland consumers in financial distress,” said Frosh. “Jackson victimized vulnerable people for his personal financial benefit. He made predatory loans. He illegally repossessed cars that consumers depended on for work, for doctors’ appointments and for transporting their kids.”

Although Cash-N-Go can continue to act as a check-cashing business or a pawnbroker, Cash-N-Go may not collect money from consumers on its title loans. The Division found that at least 1,601 Maryland consumers were victimized by Cash-N-Go’s predatory lending activities. 

Source: southernmarylandchronicle.com.

Agent Killed During [b]Tow Truck Repo

A repo agent was killed while he was repossessing a pickup truck in western Pennsylvania. 

Allegheny County police say the driver became pinned under his own vehicle. 

The county medical examiner's office identified the driver as Andrew Sester, 42, of Lucernemines.

Police said it appears the driver didn't put the truck in park while completing the tow, and the vehicle rolled back onto him.

Sester worked for International Recovery Systems. Another driver who was sent to check on Sester found his body.

Source: wgal.com.
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