Digital Edition
The Week's Features
Passing at 100 years of age, Glenn A. Trent is remembered and honored by towers in Central Virginia.
Removal of a massive engine in a tight space requires solid planning and preparation.
Don’t derail your job as a tow operator due to non-payment of child support.
Luxurious rotator with eye-catching graphics and colors.
Convenient kit from ZIP’s that includes a mask, gloves and sanitizer.
Click image below to View Sellers Picks
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing January 12 - January 18, 2022

Joyride Autos Brings on Chief Product and Technology Officer

Joyride Autos, the nation’s fastest growing online auction platform and marketplace for undervalued vehicles, today announced that it has brought on John D. Krupnik as the company’s first chief product and technology officer. Krupnik joins Joyride from Insurance Auto Auctions, where he served as chief information officer for 14 years.

“We’re the first mover in a market that historically has been overlooked, and technology innovation is going to be key to our continued success,” said John Wicker, co-founder and CEO of Joyride. “Krupnik is a brilliant technologist with a deep understanding of the problems we’re solving for both sellers and buyers of the growing supply of undervalued vehicles—a category that has never before had a dedicated marketplace.”

Krupnik will be responsible for scaling Joyride’s technology platform, which brings the cumbersome and expensive process of running auto auctions fully online, unlocking new value for both buyers and sellers of unclaimed or aged vehicles. He will build and lead the company’s product, engineering and analytics teams.

“I’ve spent my career in the world of auto auctions, and I’ve never seen a moment that’s more ripe for innovation,” said Krupnik. “The accelerated shift to e-commerce, global supply chain shortage for cars and their parts, and increased average age of vehicles on our roads have all contributed to Joyride’s remarkable early momentum. The opportunity to help lead the Joyride team and innovate in this underserved yet rapidly growing category was an obvious decision for me.”

Since first launching in April 2020, Joyride has already sold 30,000 vehicles on its platform. The company has successfully expanded to California, Texas, Indiana, and Nevada, and recently raised a $2 million seed round to accelerate its entry into new markets.



Click here to read more

Towing's Most Prolific Chronicler

Since Jim Sorrenti’s passing at the end of December, TIW has felt his loss. Jim was a prolific writer, producing over 1500 recovery articles and 250 My Baby articles over his 20+ years with American Towman. Certainly, it’s going to be hard to fill Jim’s shoes.

Jim was both dedicated and passionate about recovery stories. Many that he covered were complicated recoveries. A recent story published included a Mammoth Mixer. Upon completing the story and submitting it, Jim wrote, “It be the wee hours of the mornin (4:07am) and after weeks of work I have finally finished this VERY technical, INCREDIBLE recovery. This is what I live for. A labor of love, but exhausting INDEED. Have had to sort through close to 300 high-res images, sort and size them, organize and label them. In all of my many years of doing this, this is one of the most involved, intense pieces I have ever worked on.”

During his many years with American Towman, Jim became intimately acquainted with so many of the towers about whom he wrote, building countless relationships across the country. He made it a point in his stories to recognize the individuals who were behind the recoveries, mentioning them by their first names and always treating them with the utmost respect. He liked saying with pride that a company was “Family Owned and Operated,” and got to know families of many of the towers, including them in his stories.

You might say, Jim was part of the towing brotherhood and would have it no other way. Like towers who have your back on the road, Jim had our back at American Towman. He was “On it.” His parting words, always heartfelt and sincere: “Be Well, Stay Safe, & God Bless.”



Jim Sorrenti was a prolific writer for American Towman Magazine and Tow Industry Week.

Are Your Child Support Payments Behind? 

back child support b192b
By Randall C. Resch                          

Imagine driving your wrecker around town when you see red and blues in your truck’s mirrors. You don’t know why, but the local Sheriff is pulling you over. Once you’re pulled over, you hand the deputy your license, insurance and the recent copy of the tow truck’s inspection. While the deputy inspects your documents, he walks to his police unit to run your information in NCIC. 

The officer returns to tell you that your driver’s license was suspended for non-payment of child support. What? How’s that possible? In his best, cop-like manner, you’re cited for a traffic violation that includes driving on the suspended license. Never mind that you weren’t aware of the suspension. The deputy is at least amicable enough to let you call your dispatch telling them someone has to come get the tow truck. 

While you’re lucky to not have a warrant, you’ve been administratively removed from your tow truck and your driving job is now precariously at-risk. This same situation occurred last year in Salem, Mass., in which the tower was cited, set to walking and the tow truck was released back to the tow company. 

It Happened to Me 

I experienced a similar situation having dealt with my ex regarding child support payments. Years back, San Diego's Family Court Services misfiled my support payments and suspended my license. It was their error and the court services investigator made the correction immediately. However, paperwork at the local DMV stalled and my license wasn’t reinstated for nearly two months. No matter how hard I tried to convince them the support was paid, the DMV moved at their own speed … painfully slow. 

How's that for ironic? I was the tow company's manager who found out (via daily mail) that I was suspended through California's “Pull-Notice Program.” I made numerous trips to the District Attorney’s office and couldn’t drive tow trucks for two months working only in the office and admin work. I was lucky to have a boss who accommodated my issues. I ultimately learned that she dealt with the same problem with another driver, so I was lucky not to be kicked to the streets. 

Pay the Piper 

In California (as in most states), both the Family Court and the DMV must be satisfied that support is fully paid where no arrears are present. In California, the State can (and will) hold professional licenses and driver's licenses until all child support payments are paid. 

In that, it's my advice that towers keep child support payments current so to prevent your license from being suspended. If your child support gets painfully behind and depending on the amount owed, you could be arrested and jailed for not paying support. 

I guess this narrative is my friendly reminder that if you get behind for any reason, simply put ... "yer' screwed." While the company has responsibility to monitor your license status, once an action is placed against you, it’s a difficult process to be reinstated. 

If you have issues, try to work a payment plan out with the Child Support Unit. Hopefully, your company will keep your position on ice by reassigning you somewhere within the company’s fold. The bottom-line: try not to get behind in support payments. 

TOWING IS TAKING ON SHORTAGES & SUPPLY CHAIN SNARLES IN STRIDE
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Do you participate in goodwill towing programs for the holiday season?
Yes
No
homediv
Managing Editor: Steve Calitri
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
January 12 - January 18, 2022
American Towman Exposition 2021 Recap
Ed Orcutt (pictured left) and Jeff Wilson proposing legislation on blue light use on tow trucks.

Proposed Legislation on Blue Lights in Washington State 

Two Washington State Representatives, Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) and Rep. Jeff Wilson (R) introduced a bill allowing tow truck drivers to use rear-facing blue lights along with the traditional red lights while at the scene of an accident. Last year, two tow truck drivers from their districts were killed while responding to crashes.  

Should the bill pass the House vote, another version of the bill will move on to the Senate for approval.  

Orcutt said, “I am trying to give drivers more warning and I think a blue light will do a good job. People know to slow down and pull over when they see those lights from law enforcement.” 

The bill passed through a public hearing on January 14 and was amended after taking into consideration the concern police officers have about causing confusion if tow trucks used the lights while driving to a scene of an accident instead of just at the response. 

https://www.kpvi.com/

homediv
January 12 - January 18, 2022
Carlo Guerrier

Unlicensed Tow Owner Arrested 

A tow owner from Miami is facing charges for illegally operating a tow business without a license since August 2020, according to a police report. 

Carlo Guerrier, owner of A & G Towing, was arrested on January 12 on one count of grand theft and 246 counts each of towing without a license and towing manifest violation. 

The charges were touched off when a man complained to police that his car was towed for no reason. Upon further investigation of company records, necessary information was missing from towing records. 

The report said it wasn't until a man had his car towed in Miami Beach for no reason that investigators discovered the business was unlicensed, including the driver's name, the type of vehicle, and whether the driver had consented to the tow or not, the report said. 

The report said that out of "242 tows carried out by A&G Towing, 222 of them were found to be after the date of August 29, 2020, when Mr. Guerrier had no Miami-Dade County license and was not authorized to carry out the tows." 

Guerrier was arrested and booked into jail, where he was being held on $15,500 bond. 

https://www.nbcmiami.com

Beloved Detroit Tower Honored with Procession 

On Detroit’s westside, a long line of tow trucks came out in procession to honor Bobby Hardison, a beloved Detroit tow company owner who died suddenly at the age of 65 from health complications. He passed on December 28. 

Owner of Bobby’s Towing since 1990, Hardison was a lifelong resident of Detroit and a long-time member of the Detroit’s Towing Association. He spoke out about towing and police corruption in the city. 

Hardison was a husband, father, and grandfather. His wife, Denise Boyce Hardison, and son, Bobby Hardison, said building a business was Hardison’s passion. 

His wife said, “This is what he loved. He worked day and night. 14 –16 hour days, up til the day he died. He always had visions for this company to continue to grow.” 

https://www.clickondetroit.com/

Virginia Honors “Titan of Towing,” Glenn A. Trent 

On Thursday, January 6, tow trucks from across Central Virginia gathered to remember and pay their respects to Glenn A. Trent, considered an icon in the tow industry.  

Referred to as the “Titan of Towing,” Trent started his business in 1943. 75 years later, his company merged with Colony Tire and Mitchell’s Towing. 

"There's nobody in the towing business that doesn't know Glenn A. Trent," said Roger Wright, a longtime friend and employee of Trent's. 

Jimmy Williamson, of Williamson Towing, knew Trent for six decades. He said,"If he needed help, he called me, I showed up. If I needed help, I called him, he showed up.” 

"Towing's really a brotherhood. We may be competing companies, but you'll notice one company is towing a vehicle, another is parked behind them keeping that guy safe - we all have to look after each other" said Mark Wright, of Mitchells Towing.  

Mark Hudson, also with Mitchells Towing said,"When I was 18 years old, first time I needed a tow, it was done by Trent," said Hudson. 

As a fitting tribute that led up to his funeral, two booms were raised to form an arch like a “Gateway to Heaven,” said Chuck Mays of Piedmont Fleet. 

https://wset.com/

Tampa Towers Rally to Spread Word 

Towers from Tampa, Florida gathered on Sunday, Jan. 2, to send the message to Slow Down/Move Over. They said a prayer before turning on their lights, honking their horns and then driving over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. 

“You know we’re out here trying to help people. We’re supposed to be your angels,” said Denny Raulerson. “Our lights are there for a reason. I just need you to slow down and move over for them.” 

The initiative comes about as a painful reminder of a road ranger who was recently hit and paralyzed, in addition to the memory of a trucker who was killed five years ago by a drunk driver. 

Over the next week, the Skyway Bridge will be lit in yellow lights for the cause. 

Jim “Buck” Sorrenti Passes

Long-time American Towman editor and writer Jim Sorrenti passed away on December 29. Sorrenti had been admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY with pneumonia four weeks ago after catching the Covid-19 virus. Sorrenti had been fighting a life threatening lung condition for many years and suffered a heart attack six months ago. He is survived by his five grown children, Jason, Jessica, Derrick, Damon, and Chance and his wife, Justine Karadontes.

Sorrenti was American Towman’s editor from 1999 to 2008, and the recovery editor since with articles appearing monthly in the magazine and weekly on TowIndustryWeek.com. “Jim’s enthusiasm for the diverse work towman perform was a gift to the magazine and its readers,” said AT’s Steve Calitri. “When he started with AT he went and got trained and certified by WreckMaster.”

“Jim had a real eye for this industry,” said John Borowski, veteran tower. “He was real keen on craftsmanship and workmanship of wreckers and thousands of readers zeroed into his My Baby column each month, featuring a stand-out wrecker.

“For over two decades, Jim helped make AT the magazine that it is today. We will miss him,” said Calitri.

TRAA Touts 2021 Achievements and the Year Ahead 

As the final days of 2021 unfold, TRAA, through their vigilance and advocacy, reports several major achievements. One achievement is the inclusion of the apprenticeship pilot program for under-21 CDL holders that was part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed in November of 2021. Included in that Act is Protecting Roadside First Responders while minimum liability insurance for towers has not been increased.  

TRAA has also stood firm against legislation for a government mandate on financial institutions to report inflows and outflows of more than 10,000 into a personal and business accounts. Currently, such a provision has not been included in the Build Back Better Act passed by the House, which is still pending a Senate vote. The organization remains steadfastly against it. 

In 2022, TRAA remains committed to its number 1 priority: promoting public policy to protect the lives of towers, including federal Slow Down, Move Over Law provisions. The organization will also stay focused on implementation of the CDL pilot program, weights and measures amendments, and more.  

In March, TRAA is looking forward to their annual Legislative Action Workshop & Hill Day and will be seeking tow industry participation.  

American Towman Exposition Gallery
homediv tow411 homediv
homediv
Rate how they handled this recovery
Great job on a challenging recovery.
Hit all the basics on this one. Thumbs up.
Creative approach on this recovery. Good job.
I would approach this recovery differently.
Vehicle(s) could be rigged more efficiently.
More trucks were needed.
January 12 - January 18, 2022

Technical Lift in a Tight Place

2 fda43
by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Lifting a 75,000-pound natural gas engine inside a building is no easy feat. Beard’s Towing had this as a scheduled job at the request of an energy company in Glen Rose, Texas, performing the removal of the massive engine on March 25, 2021.

Beard’s Towing owner James Bennett Jr. made specially designed spreader bars out of 1-inch thick I-beam, 8-inches wide and 8-inches tall.

He said, “In preparation for this lift, we left nothing to chance. Our crew practiced on site in our yard with a 40,500-pound concrete cement drum welded to a homemade skid, similar to the one that Miller Industries has. Also, with a die cast engine and wreckers. This preparation was key due to the distance from the rotators to the engine and the weight factor.”

James Jr. responded along with heavy operator brothers Allen and Richard Knadle with two rotators - "Boss" a 2018 Kenworth T880 Century 1075S 75-ton rotator and "The Beast" a 2020 Kenworth W990 Century 1075S 75-ton rotator.

The massive natural gas 3616 engine that the crew went to pick up was 15-feet long, 7-feet wide and 10-feet tall and weighed 75,000-pounds.

James Jr. did all of the rigging, using the spreader bars he made. Rigging was done using both 60-ton cables to two snatch blocks, to a Miller single point lift triangle, to a center point lift on spreader bars, to a double point pick off each end of the spreader bars.

The job was performed with two lifts. The first initial pick up was to take it out of its home based cradle that was 17-feet 9-inches away from the wrecker, to be lifted and brought 8-feet from the wreckers and placed in a mobile cradle. Picking it up in a building that was only 54-feet long and 40-feet tall.

Then the cradle was fastened to the engine so that the cradle and the engine would be lifted on the second pick. The wreckers were then re-positioned and a heavy haul trailer was backed in next to the engine. Detaching the power unit, one rotator was placed alongside the trailer, and the second rotator was backed to the front of the trailer where the power unit was detached. After repositioning the rotators, the second pick up was 10-feet away. On the second pick up, the engine and cradle was lifted and set on the heavy haul trailer.

From Glen Rose, Texas, the engine was transported by a third-party company to Washington, Pennsylvania.

Thanks to solid planning and preparation, this job was a success, taking 9.5 hours to complete.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on April 14, 2021
………………………………………………..

Beard's Towing, owned by James Bennett Jr., is family-owned and operated. The company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, provides 24/7 emergency light, medium and heavy-duty towing and recovery and roadside assistance to Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Established in 1954, the company boasts a combined 100 years of experience. A strong believer in training, James Jr. has regular training sessions to keep his operators on top of their game and also holds cross-training sessions with fire and police authorities.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to George Nitti at georgenitti@gmail.com. Your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Off-Ramp Recovery  

offramp4 d8058
By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

On July 14, 2021, at approximately 11 a.m., Certified Auto Mall Inc. was called by the NJ State Police for an overturned tractor-trailer. The incident happened on the I-195 Eastbound off-ramp onto County Route 547 in Howell, NJ. 

Certified Auto Mall dispatched their VP Michael “Mike” Stahnten in their 2019 Kenworth 880 with a Century 1150 50-ton rotator and heavy-duty operator Richard “Rich” Archer in their Peterbilt 2019 with a Century 1135 35-ton rotator. 

When the Certified recovery team arrived, the tractor-trailer was on its side. Rich informed, “The trailer was loaded with a non-hazardous chemical compound, a dry powder. It was packed in boxes stacked two pallets tall in two rows.” 

The team decided to deal with the tractor first. The Century 1150 was staged at the nose of the casualty and the Century 1135 was staged at the rear. Rich explained, “We first separated the tractor from the trailer because it was on the off-ramp and we needed more room.” 

Once back on its wheels, the tractor was loaded onto Certified’s 40TB NRC carrier which was operated by Kevin Lang. It was secured and removed from the scene. With the tractor out of the way, the team had room to upright the loaded trailer. Rich informed, “We went to work on the trailer, which was approximately 45,000-pounds, with the 1150 and 1135 both rigged with two parted lines.” 

With the Century 1150 still in position upfront of the trailer and the Century 1135 at the rear, the team rigged the lines with snatch blocks to blue shackles and master links attached to the trailers roof corner eyelets. 

Steel shipping containers like this one are designed to carry their weight in the corner posts, which makes stacking them easier. These shipping containers are designed to bear loads on their corner posts, which also have corner casting eyelets on the front and rear headers for lifting. 

Working in tanden, Mike at the helm of the 1150 and Rich the controls of the 1135, they uprighted the container. Once the unit was uprighted, the 1135 lifted it so it could be mounted to the fifth wheel of Certified’s Kenworth tractor. It was delivered to the customers warehouse to be unloaded. 

….......................... 

Certified Auto Mall Inc., based in Howell, NJ, is a family owned and operated business which has been providing service across the Tri-State area, including the Central New Jersey area for over 20 years. They have wide experience in local/long distance towing, as well as light-/heavy-duty towing services, including police recovery and a highly trained HAZMAT team. They are an official police tower for Howell Township Police Department and the NJ State Police.  
 

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! 

Camper Recovery

camper1 72b7f
by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On July 27, 2021, Big Wheel Towing & Recovery received a call from the Mass. State Police to respond immediately to a large rolled-over camper on Rte. 195E in the vicinity of exit #17 in Westport, Mass.

Big Wheel owner Eric Fouquette informed, “They stated that the camper trailer in question was being towed behind an SUV when the unit began to sway uncontrollably as it was being towed down the highway. As a result, the SUV lost control, impacted the steel guardrail system, and rolled over several times before coming to rest in the center median strip. During the overturning process, the large camper trailer became detached from the SUV and flipped over in the middle of the highway before sliding and coming to rest blocking all three travel lanes on the eastbound side. They are very lucky nobody got killed. The SUV flipped a few times, not the camper.”

Eric, along with operators Nathaniel Wing and Kevin Whittle responded with their 2017 Peterbilt 589 with a Century 1150R 50-ton rotator, a Landoll tractor-trailer unit and their Rapid Response HAZMAT / Isuzu Traffic Control Unit to assist with the cleanup operations and roadway closure. Big Wheel big boss Bob Fouquette was on scene as well.

Eric explained. “Once our equipment and personnel were able to navigate through the gridlock traffic and access the scene, our traffic control unit was positioned at the rear of the crash scene and the LED arrowboard/advanced warning indicator was illuminated and raised in order to warn oncoming motorists of the incident ahead.”

Once they established a perimeter around the overturned camper trailer, they positioned and setup the Century 1150R rotator in front of the camper to begin the recovery. A heavy-duty recovery strap was installed around the camper trailer and ran back through the underside of the unit while an additional heavy-duty recovery strap was installed separately onto the underside of the camper trailer which would be used as a catch line. Once all of the necessary rigging was properly installed onto the overturned camper trailer, the operator rotated and extended the rotator's boom out towards the camper until it was directly overhead. Both of the upper winch lines were lowered down and attached to the rigging.

Eric explained, “The operator slowly began to apply upward tension onto one of the recovery straps, which began to upright the entire camper trailer. Once the camper trailer reached its natural tipping point, the operator utilized the other winch line to catch the weight of the camper trailer and slowly release the tension on that line which allowed for a gradual descent back down onto the pavement.”

With the camper trailer now upright, the next task was to load it onto the Landoll trailer. During the crash, the axles had twisted and the tongue had sustained damage, which prevented the camper trailer from being towed. The Landoll trailer was backed alongside the rotator and in front of the camper trailer. The Landoll trailer was then lowered down to the ground and the 1150R rotated the front of the camper trailer until it was facing completely forward. The rotator then elevated the front of the camper trailer so that it was on top of the Landoll trailer.

The winch located at the front of the Landoll was then attached to the front of the trailer and the Landoll and rotator worked in tandem to get the entire camper trailer up onto the Landoll. As the Landoll was winching the camper trailer up onto its deck, the rotator was simultaneously assisting with lifting the front of the camper trailer as well as rotating it up the remainder of the way. Once the camper trailer was completely onto the Landoll, it was secured for transport.

All of the rigging used was un-installed and placed back within the Century rotator. The large amount of debris which littered the roadway that had spilled from inside the camper was collected and placed into a DOT Approved HAZMAT drum. The entire roadway was blown off to ensure that no debris was left behind. At that time, the entire affected area was returned to its pre-accident condition and the roadway was re-opened to its full traffic capacity.

“The camper trailer was then transported back to our Freetown storage facility. Once there, our heavy-duty front end loader was used to assist with offloading the camper trailer from our Landoll. After the camper trailer was offloaded, our loader was used to place it into storage,” stated Eric. “Just a little recovery at the end of the day with Nathaniel Wing and Kevin Whittle. Even had my dad out there helping. Great jobs guys. Thank you for the help as always.”
_____________________________________________

Big Wheel Towing & Recovery, located in East Freetown, Mass., is one of the largest and most respected towing and recovery companies in New England. Bob Fouquette started his family business in 1980 and now has three generations actively working including his sons Eric and David. Their extensive fleet of over 30 pieces of equipment and numerous other units, painted in their signature yellow, are familiar sites on the highways of the Northeast./22

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on 9/22/21


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!
homediv


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

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

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

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

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
January 12 - January 18, 2022

Are Your Child Support Payments Behind? 

back child support b192b
By Randall C. Resch                          

Imagine driving your wrecker around town when you see red and blues in your truck’s mirrors. You don’t know why, but the local Sheriff is pulling you over. Once you’re pulled over, you hand the deputy your license, insurance and the recent copy of the tow truck’s inspection. While the deputy inspects your documents, he walks to his police unit to run your information in NCIC. 

The officer returns to tell you that your driver’s license was suspended for non-payment of child support. What? How’s that possible? In his best, cop-like manner, you’re cited for a traffic violation that includes driving on the suspended license. Never mind that you weren’t aware of the suspension. The deputy is at least amicable enough to let you call your dispatch telling them someone has to come get the tow truck. 

While you’re lucky to not have a warrant, you’ve been administratively removed from your tow truck and your driving job is now precariously at-risk. This same situation occurred last year in Salem, Mass., in which the tower was cited, set to walking and the tow truck was released back to the tow company. 

It Happened to Me 

I experienced a similar situation having dealt with my ex regarding child support payments. Years back, San Diego's Family Court Services misfiled my support payments and suspended my license. It was their error and the court services investigator made the correction immediately. However, paperwork at the local DMV stalled and my license wasn’t reinstated for nearly two months. No matter how hard I tried to convince them the support was paid, the DMV moved at their own speed … painfully slow. 

How's that for ironic? I was the tow company's manager who found out (via daily mail) that I was suspended through California's “Pull-Notice Program.” I made numerous trips to the District Attorney’s office and couldn’t drive tow trucks for two months working only in the office and admin work. I was lucky to have a boss who accommodated my issues. I ultimately learned that she dealt with the same problem with another driver, so I was lucky not to be kicked to the streets. 

Pay the Piper 

In California (as in most states), both the Family Court and the DMV must be satisfied that support is fully paid where no arrears are present. In California, the State can (and will) hold professional licenses and driver's licenses until all child support payments are paid. 

In that, it's my advice that towers keep child support payments current so to prevent your license from being suspended. If your child support gets painfully behind and depending on the amount owed, you could be arrested and jailed for not paying support. 

I guess this narrative is my friendly reminder that if you get behind for any reason, simply put ... "yer' screwed." While the company has responsibility to monitor your license status, once an action is placed against you, it’s a difficult process to be reinstated. 

If you have issues, try to work a payment plan out with the Child Support Unit. Hopefully, your company will keep your position on ice by reassigning you somewhere within the company’s fold. The bottom-line: try not to get behind in support payments. 

Lessons from Lakewood – For Professional Drivers 

truckwreck ef923
Brian J Riker 

By now, most of North America has at least heard of the 110-year prison sentence handed down last month to Rogel Aguilera-Mederos for his role in a deadly crash that claimed the lives of four people and injured six more, with two permanently disabled. I am not going to debate if 110 years was appropriate nor how the now reduced sentence of 10 years, as commuted by Governor Polis, may be too lenient but rather I would like to highlight some lessons the towing industry can learn from this horrific tragedy. 

The crash happened when the truck driver lost his brakes descending a steep mountain grade just west of Lakewood, Colorado. What happened was fully preventable had a little professional judgment been exercised. What scares me the most about this case, besides how it highlights a severely broken commercial driver licensing and training system in the United States, is that I see “professional” tow operators make some of these same poor decisions daily. 

The first of many mistakes made by Mr. Aguilera-Mederos was operating in an environment he was not properly trained to operate in. Not understanding extreme mountain driving, he should never have accepted a dispatch into Colorado. While towers typically operate in a smaller, more localized geographic region, the comparison can be made that the towers with the get ‘er done attitude do the same thing, attempting to lift things or tow vehicles that they have no training for or are much too large for their tow truck to safely handle. 

The next critical mistake the driver made, and this one does transfer directly to operating our trucks too, is operating a truck with known defects. Mr. Aguilera-Mederos deliberately continued on his trip knowing full well his brakes were defective and had been for an extended period of time. Towers do this daily, often because they don’t want to use the spare truck or don’t want to take the time to put a truck down for proper repairs. I know it can be tough to be down a truck (I was once a single truck owner operator company myself) but the risk is just not worth it to run a truck that you know is unsafe for the roads. You are a tower not Superman, and your truck is subject to the same laws of physics, and Murphy’s Law, just as your customers are! 

Now this risk is just not with defects on your own equipment but often, even with perfectly maintained tow trucks, I witness towers with inoperable brakes on the vehicles they tow because they don’t know how to, or worse yet can’t be bothered to hook up functioning brakes on the vehicles in tow. Yes, there are some exceptions to having working brakes on disabled vehicles but often this is not the case, and even if the law doesn’t require it, common sense and best practices may. 

In closing I want every tow operator that reads this to stop and reflect for a moment. How often have you had a close call, or have you responded to a crash that didn’t need to occur if only the vehicle involved had been properly maintained or driven by a competent driver? 

Is it worth risking criminal prosecution for simply doing your job, getting it done at all costs so you can later brag on social media about how much you and your truck can handle, or is it time to start passing on the jobs that can’t be safely handled? 

You won’t do anyone any good if you are in prison and can’t earn a living or respond to that next call, or worse still if you are dead. The choice is yours. Stay Safe! 

“What’s a Wrecker?”

download f6714
By Randall C. Resch             

A forum participant posed a simple question asking, “What’s a wrecker?” At face value, the question sounded simple, yet sarcastic, noting a new generation of towers who may not really know what a “Wrecker” is? OK … I’ll play.

For generations beyond us Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials, Gen Z’s and Gen Alphas, “wrecker” wasn’t a word typically learned in school. For generations not raised in the industry, referring to a “tow truck” and re-fixing the word “wrecker” made its way into mainstream conversation.

“Wrecker” has many meanings, most commonly, as an interchangeable (slang) term for “tow truck” widely used in the industry. “Wrecker” has been around a long time; however, based on one’s generation does the word suggest other meanings. “Wrecker” isn’t just about tow trucks, but has much broader scope and meanings. In a nutshell, consider these definitions: 

Rail-Salvage Wrecker

Dating back through history of war in far-away places like Normandy, Anzio, and Guadalcanal, back on US soils did saboteur’s, robbers and military dissidents destroy railroad right-of-ways to control and seize supply trains, to kill soldiers, and most commonly, to rob US Mail trains.

On one-hand, workers tasked with tear-down and rebuilding right-of-ways were called “Wreckers.”  But a “Wrecker” was also that scallywag who blew-up trains, caused derailments and destroyed railroad bridges. Their acts of destruction were the center of great train-robbery plots.

Destroyers of Buildings

When buildings became dilapidated and no longer useful, concrete and brick structures were brought-down using explosives or “The Wrecker’s Ball.” Heavy crane operators would swing massive, hanging weights at derelict structures breaking them into pieces. Workers using wrecking balls were called “Wreckers.”

Sunken Ships

When boats or ship’s ran-aground or sank, a “Ship Wrecker” was one who raised them for salvage, insurance, rescue, even historical value.

Early Tow Trucks Were “Wreckers”

Earnest Holmes built the first “wrecker” in 1916 out of need to recover a crashed Model-T. The first “wrecker” employed a boom and hand-crank device, instrumental in recovering vehicles.

In the traditional sense, “wreckers” are for recovery or salvage work when boom for lift and extension was required to get the job done. A “wrecker” allows better access into precise areas while a flatbed carrier isn’t a “wrecker” but considered a “tow truck” by DMV definition.

“Wrecker” from Marvel Comics

For superhero fanatics, “The Wrecker” is a comic book figure known for his dark green and purple costume. Dirk Garthwaite has extraordinary talent and reportedly possessed superhuman strength, capable of lifting fifty-tons … much like a rotator wrecker. He and his gang were said to mix-it-up with Masters of Evil and Thunderbolts. 

“Wrecker”, the Movie: “Wrecker” premiered November 2015 as a Canadian horror movie. Two lady-friends travelled through fictional “Devil’s Pass” only to be menaced by a psychopathic tow truck driver. The movie shared a paranormal plot and a tow truck driver made-out to be a homicidal maniac. Critics gave brutal reviews citing “Wrecker” as “undistinguished,” “ultimately boring” and “repetitious.”

Infidelity and “Home-Wreckers”

Perhaps the worst ov’ em’ all “wreckers” are spouses who stray from the sanctity of marriage. Known as “Home Wreckers,” those involved in extracurricular activities were said to have steered away from the marriage only to “wreck" the marital home. Call em’ liars, cheaters, fabricators, or fornicators, one is guilty of “home wrecking” when focusing elsewhere to betray a partner's trust.

Ask any five-towers what their definition of “wrecker” is and you’ll likely come away with other versions based on what’s known about the industry.   

homediv
homediv
homediv
January 12 - January 18, 2022

Above and Beyond

paddack1 cff30

By George L. Nitti 

Paddack’s Wrecker and Heavy Transport, located in Indianapolis, Ind., has a tow truck that will take you to the moon, in luxury, with their 2020 Kenworth W900 with a Century 1075 Rotator. 

It’s interior includes plush red leather seats with red and orange painted aluminum floors, a ceiling that is lined with patterned leather black buttons, a dash camera with GPS, a custom radio with 13 speakers, and a host of other bells and whistles that would “wow” any star voyager.  

For Paddack’s it signifies a journey long in the making. 

Fleet manager Jacob Ripley, son of owner Jeff Ripley, said, “As a kid I always wanted a custom truck and so I finally built a show truck. It’s my home away from home.” 

Of all their red trucks in a fleet of 50, this one really stands out, due to several marked differences, including a unique blue heartbeat found in two places on the unit’s side. 

Jacob explained, “Back in the 90’s, my father bought the company from Norm Paddack. They built a truck together with the same scheme: A heartbeat. Norm passed away 4 years ago and as a memorial type thing I went with the old-style lettering for my Dad and Norm.” 

Striped decals along the rotator’s side give the unit distinction as the colors of yellow, orange, royal blue and burgundy contrast against its bold, red background. White pin-striping on the royal navy adds just the right touch, giving it a subtle, decorative note. 

With all reflective lettering, pertinent information about the company is made clear, during night and day. On the side, it’s stated “Wrecks and Recover Specialists.” On the boom, and its backside, the Paddack name pops out in a unique, white lettering while on the grill, the company name stands out with class. 

Of course, at night, it shines too, like the moon, enveloped in 3 inch maxxima lights. 

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on 6/16/21 and appeared in American Towman Magazine. 

Brag @ TIW!  

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

Siggi’s Shining and Striped 2020’s

1 28f46
By George L. Nitti

Like much of Mark Long’s work of Razor Wraps and Graphics of Fredericksburg, Va., the use of colors, shapes and stripes is one of the predominant motifs found across the multitude of tow trucks he has wrapped.

His latest provocative creations for Siggi’s Towing and Recovery of Hampton, Va. are found on their 2020 Kenworth T880 with a Century 9055 XL and 2020 Dodge Ram 550 with a Century 312.

Characteristic of his style, colors, shapes and stripes work together to form a modernistic, explosive backdrop.

The colors include various degrees of purple, green and black, blending in with both units’ white backgrounds.

According to Siggi’s operations manager Joe Rondeau, “Pictures don’t do his designs justice.”

Besides the colors, the array of shapes stands out, such as the lines, swooshes and particularly the purple triangle that underlies the largely written Siggi name, which is written large and appears as gold leaf lettering.

Long said, “The gold leaf is not really gold leaf. I took a photo of 24 carat gold that you would find on a fire truck and super imposed it on the lettering, added shades and gave it depth, building on the existing lettering that was brought to me.”

Adding to its modern flair is a layer of industrial metal or plated steel with rivets that gives it further texture and dimension.

Clearly, Long’s unique style continues to captivate not just the public, but those in the towing community who continue to use his designs on their latest acquisitions.

Editor's note: Story was originally published on 3/3/21.

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

Hooked on “Pink Hookers”

IMG 6478001 f867f
The reality tv show “Hustle and Tow” spotlights eight tow companies across the nation, including Pink Hookers Towing of New Castle, DE., an all-woman tow enterprise. As a result, their tow business has gained prominence with their new found recognition on A&E television.

On the show, company owners, Myesha and Areesah, along with their finely clad lady drivers, are shown making rounds to private parking lots, towing illegally parked cars with their Dodge 4500 with a Jerr Dan bed.

According to Myesha, company branding was a big part of being discovered by Hollywood producers looking to make a reality show about the lives of towers. She said, “We just put ourselves out there with our brand and stayed relevant on social media and they reached out to us.”

Ladies who wear pink who are in the towing business are a rare breed and command attention, as does a company name that offers other suggestive and salacious possibilities. “We get phone calls all the time because of our name,” said Myesha. “Somebody recently called and said, ‘Is that all you are doing is hooking up cars.’”

Indeed the company name is an attention grabber, easily hooking you in. The graphics, designed by Routh Signs of Greensboro NC, state “Pink Hookers Towing” and is creatively rendered, containing unusual font flair. If things are not clear, the tow chain, just under their name, helps spell things out.

Also on both sides of the truck is the slogan girlpower#, which encourages and celebrates women's empowerment, independence, confidence and strength. Myesha said, “My take on it is that this a male dominated field. Girls can do it too.”

No doubt the ladies at Pink Hookers have got it, particularly when they are up against hostile and irate people who don’t like to see their cars towed under the circumstances. Beware, these tough girls are brave road warriors, not afraid to carry licensed guns in an open carry state in the thick of mayhem that sometimes ensues doing a tower’s duty. Myesha said, “I know. A lot of danger comes with the territory.”

Finally, pink connotes breast cancer awareness, which these two gals can relate to, Myesha losing her mother from cancer at only 45 years of age and Aretha, fortunately, seeing her mother survive from a bout of cancer herself. They are “Towing for a Cure,” which is also stated on their trucks.

Show business has boosted their brand, bringing these two fresh faces and their company to the light of day. The phone is ringing a little more, and their brand, which includes coffee cups, water bottles, tee-shirts and more are flying off the shelves.

But it’s the love for what they do, the fact that towing is always something different every day, that keeps them hooked and on the road.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on 4/28/21.

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
January 12 - January 18, 2022

Personal Protective Equipment Kit (PPE) 

aw ppe kit 1 67710

Keep essential PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items within easy reach with this convenient kit from AW Direct. The handy, zippered bag contains a pair of disposable gloves, a disposable face mask and hand sanitizer for those occasions when precaution is desired. Whether it is back to work, back to school or shopping for groceries, this kit will increase the level of comfort and protection for yourself and others. 

Features 

Kit Includes: 

1 pair of disposable gloves 

1 disposable surgical face mask 

1 hand sanitizer packet (0.9g) 

Bag size: 4 x 6 

 For more information about this kit, https://zips.com/parts-detail/aw-direct-ppe-kit-aw-ppe-kit 

LED Work Lights  

New Philips Xperion 6000 LED work lights small a49e7
Lumileds, a lighting solutions company for the automotive industry, introduces the new line of Philips Xperion 6000 LED work lights. Designed for working professionals, Xperion 6000 LED work lights include advanced features that make the lights more useful to technicians. According to Aubry Baugh, Lumileds Product Marketing Manager, “Our New Philips Xperion 6000 LED work lights were conceived, engineered, and built for auto service professionals. These lights were designed to deliver years of reliable service and brilliant illumination in shop bays and help make service work faster, easier, and less stressful.” 

All five lights have 6000 K color temperature and exceptional resistance to impact, water, and solvents, as well as best-in-class lithium battery life. Equipped with integrated magnets and 360° rotating hooks, these LED work lights can be simply and securely attached to a metallic surface or suspended above the work area, leaving hands free for the job.  

The five lights include: two “Pillar’ lights, a Pocket LED work light, a main LED light, and the Slim LED work light and also includes a multi-dock station.

For more information, go to lumileds.com

Diesel Lifeline

howes 1dddb

Gelled fuel and frozen fuel filters can cause any diesel engine system to stop working, leaving you stuck in cold and in some cases, dangerous situations. Keeping a bottle of Howes Diesel Lifeline in your rig can immediately rescue a diesel vehicle that has become gelled up.

Developed over 7 years, Diesel Lifeline is the only emergency product made with an advanced formula that chemically modifies the melting points of both wax and ice to make it possible for fuel to flow freely. It re-liquefies gelled fuel, de-ices frozen fuel filters, and prevents future fuel filter icing.


Other Features Include
  • Re-liquefies gelled fuel
  • De-ices frozen fuel filters
  • Prevents fuel filter icing
  • Fast acting, often in just 15 minutes
  • Eliminates the need to replace costly fuel filters
  • Requires NO mixing with additional diesel fuel in the fuel filter
  • Warranty safe and effective in all diesel and biodiesel fuels
  • Contains no alcohol or harmful solvents

“The unique benefits of Diesel Lifeline distinctly set it apart from any other product on the market,” stated Rob Howes II. “Crystal clear and unlike harmful alcohol based products, Lifeline has been designed to have the combustion properties of diesel fuel, with a nearly identical flashpoint. This means no engine knocking, no corrosion to engine components or fuel lines, and clean emissions identical to that of fuel. It is also fast acting, in most cases taking just 15 minutes to take effect.”

For more information, go to howesproducts.com
homediv
homediv
January 12 - January 18, 2022
Show More
homediv
January 12 - January 18, 2022
Police converged at a mall in Ft. Worth, Tx., in a hunt for suspects who shot a repo man.

Repo Driver Shot in Ft. Worth

An unidentified tow truck driver was shot in Ft. Worth, Tx., during a vehicle repossession. After he was injured, he called 911 to report the crime, leading local police to hunt and chase the men who were wanted in connection.

Officer Daniel Segura said Fort Worth police spotted a vehicle on Interstate 20 believed to be related to the shooting. When officers tried to stop the driver, the driver refused to pull over and instead led police on a chase toward a nearby mall. It was there that three people got out of the vehicle near a Macy's department store while two others continued in the car through the parking lot.

The three occupants who got out near Macy's were immediately taken into police custody while authorities are still searching for the two men that fled in the vehicle.

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/dozens-of-fort-worth-officers-search-hulen-mall-for-wanted-person/2843598/

Man Arrested for Assaulting Tower

An 18-year-old man was arrested in Denton, Tx. on Nov. 26  after he allegedly yelled at a tow truck driver during an attempted repossession of his vehicle. The man eventually punched the driver and shattered a window, according to a police report. 

The tow truck driver originally called police to report the 18-year-old had assaulted him and was threatening to bust out his windows, updating officers while they were on the way that the man had followed through on the threat. 

Officers spoke to both men involved and a witness, learning the tow truck driver had begun to lift the man’s vehicle off the ground during a repossession when he started to yell at the driver. 

The man told the driver to put the car down and a verbal altercation started, during which he punched the driver twice, the report states. The man then allegedly pulled out a wooden mallet, threatening to hit the driver with it and bust out the windows of his truck, at which point he got into his truck and called police. While he was on the call, the man allegedly threw the mallet, breaking the back window of the truck and causing glass shards to hit the driver’s head. 

The driver had no serious injuries and police determined all three parties — both men and a witness — had the same account of the incident. The 18-year-old man was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault causes bodily injury and criminal mischief between $750 and $2,500. 

https://dentonrc.com/

Two Charged with Murder of Repo Man 

Two men have been arrested and charged with murdering a repossession driver in Oakland, Calif. during an attempted robbery last June, court records show. 

Aaron Hein and Marco Dragula have been charged with murder and attempted second-degree robbery in the June 14 killing of 43-year-old Tim Nielsen, who was on a repossession assignment. He was found dead about 4:13 a.m. inside his 2019 Ford F450 tow truck that had crashed into a building. 

Dragula, who had been charged with felony gun possession in two other cases, is charged with shooting into an occupied car and personally discharging the gun that killed Nielsen, an indication that police believe him to be the shooter. Hein is charged as a “major participant” to the homicide who acted “with reckless disregard for human life,” the criminal complaint says. 

Both men are in jail on no-bail holds, having been arrested Sept. 28, court records show. 

https://www.mercurynews.com/

Used Car Market on Fire

The used vehicle market is on fire again, spiking 5.3% in September, after 3 months of declines. The report comes from Manheim, the largest auto auction operator in the U.S.

Several factors are a play causing an increase in demand of used vehicles and the spike in prices. First, tight supplies of new vehicles due to chip shortages and factory closures resulting from the covid crisis. Normal supply for used retail is about 44 days of sales. In September used retail supply was 37 days. Wholesales supply, which normally is 23 days, was 18 days.

The low supply is also a result of a sharp decline in sales at auctions by the three largest categories of sellers in the wholesale market – rental vehicles, off-lease vehicles and repo companies selling repos. Since rental companies are having a harder time getting their hands on new vehicles, they are holding their rental cars longer. For the repo business, low lending rates and a moratorium on repos during the covid crisis have reduced the numbers of cars at used car auctions.

Further augmenting used car sales is the federal stimulus money disbursed over the last year and a half. The covid crisis has created a “wealth effect” leading people to be flush with cash and willing to pay whatever price for a used vehicle as dealers make record gross profits along the way.

In a telling sign, although it is often assumed that resale value of a new car plummets once sold, resale value of a 1-year old car is up 25%, over $7,759 according to Cox Automotive.

https://wolfstreet.com/
Translate Page
Contact Us
© 2022  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.