The Week's Features
But New York State towmen vow to continue fight
The severity of the damage made this a difficult recovery
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 21 - June 27, 2017
Towmen and other first responders have a moment of silence for towers who have been killed roadside, during the Spirit Ride ceremonies in Bon Air, Pa., on June 16. Nearly 100 tow trucks formed a procession through Pittsburgh for the event. Image: Darrell Sapp - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Nearly 100 Trucks in [b]Spirit Ride Ceremony

A line of nearly 100 tow trucks from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland took over Pittsburgh's streets June 16 as part of the American Towman Spirit Ride.

"Until you stand there, it's hard to understand," Ryan McGann, a towman at McGann and Chester in Bon Air, Pa., said of his job.

McGann, 25, drove a heavy-duty tow truck in the procession. He has been working at the business since he was 16; his father, Bob McGann, co-owns it with Bill Chester. After getting a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Robert Morris University, he decided to stay in the family business.

McGann said it can be terrifying, adding that on multiple occasions he's had to dive beneath the vehicle he was hooking up for a tow to get out of the path of a car driving too close to the side of the road.

On June 15, an employee of C&D Towing & Recovery in McKeesport, Pa., was hit on the side of Greenlee Road in Brentwood.

Todd DiBeradin, VP/owner of C&D Towing, said his employee was still in the hospital with a punctured lung, fractured rib and broken vertebrae.

"When you only have seven or eight feet inside of the white line, and cars are coming at you at 70 miles per hour, you're always thinking about your family back home, your kids," DiBeradin said.

"When we're out there on a scene, it's all of us; we're a team," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert during the ceremony.


IAA Announces New Branch

Insurance Auto Auctions announced the construction of a new facility near Fort Worth, Texas. The new branch, scheduled to open in November, will be north of the Dallas-Fort Worth and complements IAA branches in Grand Prairie and Wilmer.

"This expansion will provide the flexibility to respond to the growing inventory needs of current and future customers as well as offer a wider vehicle selection for buyers," said John Kett, CEO and president of IAA. "The location will also ensure critical reserve capacity for catastrophic events."

The new 200-acre facility will include 18,000-sq.-ft. of office, run-and-drive and warehouse space. The office space will include multiple conference rooms and offices that will be available for IAA's insurance customers to use for training claims adjusters on site.


'Blue Light Bill' [b]Struck Down in N.Y.

A proposed bill that many believed could help save the lives of tow truck drivers in hazardous situations was turned down in New York State.

"We've been losing way too many tow truck drivers," Brennan said.

Tom Brennan, owner of T&T Towing in Cohoes, said he's had many close calls himself.

He was pushing New York lawmakers to pass the Blue Light Bill. It would allow tow truck drivers to place blue lights on the back of their vehicles while making roadside calls.

"The most common thing people say when they hit you or almost hit you is 'We didn't see you,' " he said.

Brennan believed the bill would save lives, but it was turned down at the N.Y. Capitol on June 20. He can't understand why. Neither does Assemblyman John McDonald, a supporter of the bill.

"No good reason at this stage, which I think is part of the frustration on our end," McDonald said.

Towmen vow they will continue to fight for change.


Towman Aids Injured Kitten

A Florida tow company went into action after a kitten was found injured along a busy road.

Aaron Forsman, manager of Volusia County Towing Co. in Holly Hill, and another driver stopped to tend to an injured kitten in the median of a busy road, according to a local TV station. Veterinarians said it probably had been thrown from a vehicle. The kitten suffered a broken femur and its lip was separated from its jaw.

Forsman has paid for the kitten's medical bills; his staff is using social media to raise additional money for the kitten's surgery.

"It's horrible," said Forsman. "I can't even imagine who would think (to do) that. There (are) some really sick people out there that would throw a cat (out a window) instead of ... having it adopted."


Montreal Tow Company [b]Employees Arrested

Police targeted a towing company in three early morning raids in Laval, Saint-Jérôme and Montreal, Canada, arresting 12 people on June 20.

In total, police had 13 arrest warrants for employees of Accès Remorquage. They were still searching for a remaining suspect.

Seven tow trucks belonging to the company, which operates primarily in Montreal's north end, were also seized.

Those arrested included the owners, managers and several employees. Six of the 12 arrested were detained. Police say they face charges including theft, fraud, extortion, conspiracy and armed assault.

Police spokesman André Durocher said the company would seize vehicles parked in violation of rules advertised on private or commercial properties and keep them until owners paid them immediately by cash or credit.

Some customers faced violence and others were charged amounts beyond the allowable fee, which Durocher said is about $100 including taxes.

"In some cases ... if someone came out and they were starting to (tow) their car, they would refuse to release the car unless the person paid immediately on the spot, and that's illegal," Durocher said.

Police said they have received 75 complaints about the company since last fall, and that there was enough evidence in 50 of those cases to proceed with arrests.


New Space for [b]Virgo Fleet

Virgo Fleet Supplies has moved to a new 12,000-sq.-ft. building in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The company, which has supplied the trucking and towing industries with parts and equipment for more than 35 years, said the new location enables them to maintain a larger inventory and offer improved service.

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