The Week's Features
Towman Ryan Hysell saw flames were rising from the engine
Trailer with two 2020 Arctic Cats is recovered by “The Animal”
Chevron’s carrier boasts 325 horsepower, 120"cab to axle
New color scheme “snazzes” it up a little bit
Additional hours helps repo agents with management software
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Dec. 4-7, 2019


American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing November 04 - November 11, 2019

Rocked & Rolled in North Jersey

0 Rocked Rolled TIW 8 copy d441aBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

William "Bill" R. Rempfer Sr. and his wife, Cheryl, opened DeFalco's Automotive and Towing in Chatham, New Jersey, in 1994. Bill passed away in 2016, but Cheryl and sons, William “Bill” Jr. and Adam carry on the family owned and operated business.

At 4 a.m. on July 23, 2017, DeFalco’s received a call from the New Jersey State Police requesting they respond to Route 287 N. in Mahwah to deal with a rolled over sleeper tractor.

DeFalco’s responded with its recovery team and equipment. Bill Jr. served as the scene supervisor on this job. Adam responded with their 2016 Kenworth T800/50-ton NRC 4050 CSR rotator. Operator Ryan Condit was in the 2019 Ford F-550/19’ Chevron flatbed; operator Rolando Ramirez in a 2014 Kenworth T800 tandem/NRC 40-ton CSR; and operator Hector Ramirez was in the 1994 International 4300 Emergency Response Unit.

The sleeper tractor had rolled over several times, creating a large debris field with a large fluid spill.

“Upon arrival we discovered that the bobtail tractor had spun out and overturned into the woods coming to rest on an embankment,” Adam said. “The right-side diesel tank was ruptured and leaking fuel onto the roadway.”

Members of DeFalco’s recovery team contained the spill and proceeded to pump out the diesel tanks to ensure no more spillage.

“We rigged the tractor with two rim slings through the rims, lifted and slid controlled down embankment to the rear of the tow truck in order to be hooked and prepared for a tow from the rear,” said Adam. “Once the casualty was moved, all debris and fluid were cleaned and inspected by Hazmat.”

The casualty was towed from the rear by the NRC 40 CSR to DeFalco’s towing yard in Chatham.


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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Top-Tier Training Highlighted at American Towman Exposition

The nation’s top trainers will be at the American Towman Exposition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, providing a top-tier learning experience in rotator training provided by WreckMaster, recovery billing by Recovery Billing Unlimited and luxury vehicle education provided by Allstate Roadside Services.

WreckMaster instructors will conduct a special 12-hour training course on rotator recovery; classroom and outdoors hands-on. Fee is $595 in advance; $695 after Dec. 3. The classes will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4, 8 a.m.-noon (classroom), 1 p.m.-5 p.m. hands-on training and concludes Thursday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m.-noon (classroom).

The famous eight-hour Recovery Billing Course that teaches fellow towers how to become more profitable for the work they do will once again be conducted by Bob and Eric Fouquette of Recovery Billing Unlimited.

Towers who take the course will learn how to build the proper tow business foundation, the proper way of writing acceptable recovery invoices, how to remediate the accident scene to free you from future liability, how to obtain payment from insurance companies for proper billing and much more. Guest speakers include an insurance executive and attorney to answer questions.

The two-day seminar will take place Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7 from 8 a.m.-noon both days.

Fee for the Recovery Billing Course is $1,850 and includes two company personnel, conference passport and exhibit floor badge. Some restrictions apply; must be accepted by Recovery Billing Unlimited.

Last but not least, Allstate Roadside Services will be conducting Education classes on the towing methods for various makes and models of luxury and premium vehicles. The free training takes place on the show floor Thursday, Friday and Saturday and is open to all.

Led by 32-year veteran tower and eight-time American Wrecker Pageant winner Paul Stephens, participants will have the opportunity to see how to safely secure and tow a variety of luxury and premium vehicles during exposition hours.

Register today at atexposition.com!

Source: AT staff
ATExpo in Atlantic City

Winter Weather Precautions

Winterwear 8fd5aBy Brian J. Riker

Winter is here again with many parts of the U.S. facing their first period of below freezing weather for the season. Having just picked up a new plow truck for the snow season, I felt it appropriate to remind towers about winter safety tips.

First and foremost, make sure you are dressed properly for the exposure to the cold and wet conditions you will encounter. Layers of clothing with moisture-wicking properties are best, as this allows your skin to stay dry and gives you the ability to remove layers as the temperature rises throughout the day.

Be aware of conditions such as hypothermia and the potential for frostbite. Hypothermia happens when your core temperature falls below 95 degrees F and is usually preceded by the onset of shivering. Do not ignore this: get inside somewhere warm and protect yourself.

Frostbite can occur in minutes when unprotected skin is exposed to cold temperatures. Wind and moisture will quicken the onset of frostbite, which occurs when your exposed tissue begins to freeze and discoloration of the skin occurs. Often the victim is not aware of the condition due to the numbness that precedes it.

Wearing the proper hats, gloves and other protective clothing can reduce your risk of cold weather illness. Strong boots with good insulation and a slip-resistant sole are just as important. Walking on snow and ice is dangerous and must be done with extreme caution.

Just like during the warmer weather, hydration is key. Drink plenty of clear liquids and stay away from sugary or highly caffeinated beverages. Without proper hydration, our bodies can’t covert the food we eat into heat energy.

Diet is just as important. It is recommended to increase calorie intake by 20 percent to 30 percent when you know you are facing long exposure to colder environments. It is important to resist the urge to eat a candy bar or other junk food. Instead eat high-carb foods, preferably warm foods like pasta or soup.

Let’s not forget our equipment, either. Tow trucks are not immune from breakdowns and mechanical failures. If you have not done so already, now is the time for a full inspection of your equipment. Pay particular attention to the cooling, exhaust and hydraulic systems. These are the most likely to be adversely affected by colder temperatures.

Lastly, make sure you have extra blankets, water and non-perishable foods in the cab of your truck. These can be lifesavers if you become stranded for extended periods of time. If you do become stranded, be mindful of your fuel level when idling the truck for heat, as well as the potential for deadly carbon monoxide to enter the cab from partially blocked exhaust pipes.

If you have a ground discharge exhaust and are stuck in high snow, it could block the pipe or create a pool of gases beneath your truck. This could lead to them finding their way into the cab through the heating vents. Early symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, headaches and drowsiness. If you experience any of these symptoms, open your window or exit your vehicle for some fresh air and investigate the source.

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

Here We Are Again

It’s that time.

Winter has returned from its own summer vacation, and pretty soon many of you will be working around the clock braving the elements and being the savior to many stranded motorists.       

What tricks does the “Ol’ Man” have up his sleeve this year? Well, whatever he has planned for you it behooves you to be prepared to face him.

When was the last time that you did an inventory of the equipment you have on hand to make sure it’s ready to go? If you haven’t done it by now—make the time to do it before the week is out. Make sure that EVERYTHING is in fine working order. One of the worst things would be to get to a job in harsh weather … and have a chain snap, a boom that won’t “boom” or an underlift that won’t lift. In this world of quick clearance you want your company to have the reputation that you can answer the bell every time.

Be prepared not just with the equipment; but be prepared with your dress as well. Brian J. Riker’s Tow Business and Operations in this week’s edition of Tow Industry Week speaks to the importance of layering to brave the elements—be sure to read it for all his cold-weather advice.

But fret not: equipment or clothing that you made need will all be available at the American Towman Exposition at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dec. 4-7. There you’ll be able to shop for what you need to get you through this season. Make sure you come with your “grocery list.”

Above all, be safe out there. It is the season of treacherous road conditions and many an accident can and probably will occur. Be cognizant of your surroundings at all times. Follow the rules of entering and exiting your cab to do the job. Make sure your customers are out of harm’s way.

It’s winter, and we want everyone to make it home at the end of the day.

--Charles Duke

Dynamic’s Python

Dynamic c565fDynamic Tow Equipment and Manufacturing’s Python has a 5,000-lbs. lifting capacity, a reach of 82”, 25-degrees of power and negative tilt and an 8,000-lbs. tow rating. Dynamic said its unit also lifts faster, higher and provides a better weight transfer. The Python will be among the Dynamic products on display at booth #205 at the American Towman Exposition. See all they have to offer at the Exposition, Dec. 4-7 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

dynamicmfg.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


After a long day, what’s your favorite way to wind down?
Throw back a couple of “shots”
Watch TV, music, do social media, read
I never get to “wind down”
Video games
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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November 04 - November 11, 2019
Casey Joel Marston, a towman with Citizens Towing and Impound in Woodland, California, died Nov. 12 in a collision with a vehicle. Image – Citizens Towing and Impound Facebook page.

California Towman Driver [b]Dies in Crash

A Woodland, California, towman died Nov. 12 when the tow truck he was driving collided with a vehicle that apparently had crossed into his path, the California Highway Patrol reported. Casey Joel Marston, a towman with Citizens Towing and Impound, was at the wheel of an International tow truck traveling eastbound on Highway 16 shortly after 4 p.m. At the same time, the driver of a Subaru Crosstrek had stopped at County Road 94B, then proceeded southbound across the highway to continue on that road, according to CHP. As the Subaru pulled into the intersection, Marston “was not able to slow, stop or turn his vehicle in time,” causing the tow truck to strike the left rear of the Subaru, a release said. The tow truck “continued eastbound, drove off the road and into a ditch, overturned and came to rest on its roof.” Marston suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The Subaru’s driver reported having minor injuries. Source: davisenterprise.com.

Casper PD to Contract Four Tow Companies

A proposed Casper, Wyoming, professional services agreement would contract four towing companies to provide services for the Casper Police Department and other agencies that work through the city’s Public Safety Communications Center. The city’s previous agreement expired in June. The four companies that would be contracted include All Around Towing; E & F Towing, Transport and Recovery; M.A.D. Transportation & Towing; and On the Hook Recovery and Transport. The companies would be obligated to release personal property to owners when authorized to do so by the Casper area agency requesting the tow. Casper police Captain Steve Schulz explained that this would be a part of the contracts to ensure that towing companies don’t withhold important personal property to people who are unable to immediately make their towing and impound payments. Source: oilcity.news.

Governor Signs Traffic Incident Safety Proclamation

Idaho Gov. Brad Little and the Idaho Transportation Department are collaborating to bring attention to the importance of traffic incident responders during National Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week, Nov. 11-17. Besides Little, other dignitaries on hand will include ITD Director Brian Ness, Idaho State Police Col. Kedrick Wills and Idaho Towing Association State Directors Lee and Sheryl Bellemare. “Roadway incidents can occur at any time and may require law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, tow operators and transportation workers. The ability for them to respond quickly is critical to both the protection of life and the reduction of secondary crashes,” said ITD Emergency Manager Neal Murphy. Source: kivitv.com.


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Don't Miss It!
Learn how recent changes to mobile web architecture, quick-load content creation, click to call ads and customer review requests will affect how you get found online. Join Dennis Wencel of Lift Marketing Group as he presents his seminar, “Keep Pace With Google Changes.” This session will take place during the American Towman Exposition, Dec. 4-7, at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Register today! atexposition.com

atexposition.com
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November 04 - November 11, 2019
The Towing and Recovery Professionals of Maryland held a “Slow Down/Move Over and Family Fun Day” event Oct. 19. During the event, TRPM held a Spirit Ride ceremony featuring the Spirit Ride casket honoring fallen towmen who’ve been killed roadside. Image – TRPM.

Maryland Celebrated [b]National SDMO Day

The Towing and Recovery Professionals of Maryland held a “Slow Down/Move Over and Family Fun Day” event at the Maryland State Highway Administration in Hanover, Maryland, in observance of the national Slow Down/Move Over day on Oct. 19.

Training sessions were conducted during the day for drivers and Sylverline Towing of Temple Hills won top honors in the beauty pageant. The Maryland State Police conducted site tours of their Incident Response Center and Maryland Motor Carrier was on location to answer any questions regarding weights and transporting.

TRPM held a Spirit Ride ceremony featuring the Spirit Ride casket honoring fallen towmen who’ve been killed roadside.

Alex Choi, policy advisor to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s Chief of Staff, presented TRPM’s board with a proclamation accepted by Executive Director Betty Cornwell, President Wayne Sullivan and Vice President Jeff Hurley.

Source: TRPM.

Stertil-Koni VP Jim [b]Sylvester Retires

Stertil-Koni USA announced that VP of Sales Jim Sylvester has retired after 21 years of record performance in sales and distributor support. A release from the company stated that Sylvester leveraged his vast knowledge of the vehicle lift industry to achieve significant account development and sales activities with a broad customer base.

Sylvester joined Stertil-Koni in 1998 and worked with Stertil-Koni’s exclusive distributorships in the Midwest, New England and Eastern Canada. He also developed and built new customer relationships to the benefit of both his distributors and Stertil-Koni.

Stertil-Koni President Dr. Jean DellAmore said, “Jim has been a key driver in our ongoing success. He is an exceedingly dedicated professional with a remarkable ability to supervise a diverse group of distributorships in the U.S. and Canada. Jim’s intense commitment to serving Stertil-Koni and our customer base has made us a better company today and we are very grateful for his contributions.”

Source: stertil-koni.com.

Towman, Cop Pull Man [b]From Car Fire Wreckage

Towman Ryan Hysell and a police officer possibly saved a young man’s life after they pulled him out of the wreckage of a car fire in McHenry, Illinois, Nov. 8.

Hysell said he heard a loud crash as two cars collided, with one likely going well above the speed limit.

“The car was upside down … the flames were rising from the engine,” Hysell said, who was afraid the car was going to blow up. He got an extinguisher from a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and had the flames out in a matter of minutes.

After returning the extinguisher, two people approached Hysell, telling him that a person was trapped in the wreckage. That’s when a McHenry police officer showed up and sprang into action by freeing the 20-year-old driver’s foot. 

“It was hard, his foot was actually caught, wedged in the dashboard. The officer had to reach all the way in and un-wedge his foot,” Hysell said. “It was difficult to tell if he was actually alive.”

Hysell and the officer freed the driver and brought him away from the accident. The young man’s injuries were so severe he was flown to an emergency room in Libertyville.

Source: chicago.cbslocal.com.

Preliminary Injunction Relief [b]Regarding MSP RFR

The Statewide Towing Association of Massachusetts, along with several Massachusetts towing companies and the Towing and Recovery Association of America, filed a request in Federal District Court seeking preliminary injunctive relief regarding the Massachusetts State Police Request For Response #SP20-TOW-X81, on Oct. 29.

STA said in a release that the association made numerous attempts to reach out to the MSP for inclusion in the process and provide input; however, they were never formally included by the MSP in the drafting process.

According to STA President Bill Johnson, the RFR “goes far beyond the scope of the current tow service agreement, and well beyond any authority granted by the Massachusetts Legislature” to regulate in the state. Johnson added the RFR “blatantly usurps the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities authority to regulate towing and violates the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act preemption.”

A hearing date was scheduled for Nov.12 at press time.

Source: STA.

Towman Dubbed ‘Mayor of [b]Port Perry’ Killed in Canada

A 56-year-old Oshawa, Canada, towman was killed Nov. 7 after he was struck by a vehicle skidding out of control while helping another motorist out of a ditch.

Ontario Provincial Police identified Beverly Todd Burgess as the towman killed on Nov. 7 after he was struck by a vehicle while helping another motorist out of a ditch just south of Port Perry.

“He’s the unofficial ‘Mayor of Port Perry,’ he knew what was going on and who was who and the local news and who moved into town. He knew everything,” said Brad Fenney, a fellow towman and friend of Burgess’ for more than 15 years.

Cruising the local streets, first as a taxi driver before getting hooked on tow trucks, Burgess knew the community well from his perch behind the steering wheel. It was that love for helping others, however, which ultimately cost the 56-year-old his life.

Fenney described his friend as someone with a “big heart, he’d help anybody out, no matter who they are. He was just genuine and he would talk to anyone.”

Fenney expects a large turnout — perhaps hundreds of tow trucks — to be on hand at the Nov. 13 graveside service to send off a friend. He added condolences from the towing community have been pouring in from across the country.

“He (towed) because he loved it,” said Fenney. “Unfortunately, it took his life.”

Source: durhamregion.com.

Tower Struck, Killed [b]in Maryland: Police

A vehicle struck and killed a tow truck driver who was assisting with a disabled vehicle in Temple Hills, Maryland, Nov. 6, police said.

Police believe 63-year-old towman David Reinerio Pineda Alvarez of District of Columbia, had arrived on the scene to help a vehicle with a flat tire when he was struck and left on the shoulder of the road, the report stated.

“Investigators believe Alvarez exited his vehicle and began walking up the driver side on the shoulder of the road,” it adds. “The suspect vehicle struck the disabled vehicle on the driver side mirror before striking the victim and possibly the tow truck.”

The truck had its flashing yellow lights on and was on the shoulder of the road along with the disabled vehicle at the time of the crash, police said.

Alvarez was declared dead at the scene.

Police believe the suspect vehicle is a white or beige Cadillac Escalade, model year between 1999 and 2007. It may have passenger side damage.

“This tragedy also highlights the importance of motorists to adhere to Maryland’s ‘Move Over’ laws,” the report states. “The intent of the law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, fire fighters, emergency rescue personnel and service and utility workers working along Maryland roads. It is hoped that drivers will become more aware of police and emergency workers stopped along the road and move away from them or slow down as they pass by the traffic stop or incident scene.”

Source: patch.com.
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November 04 - November 11, 2019

‘Carriering’ On in Wyoming

0 e18e2By Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

As autumn slowly gives way to winter here in the northeast, out west in Wyoming winter is in full swing. Things happen when they happen and all you can do is deal with it.

Such was the case when Shawn Norberg and his family sat down for dinner on Oct. 27, and a call comes in from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Shawn said, “My son Dakota showed up for a free meal just after the call came in. So I told him you can eat when we get back and we jumped in The Animal and headed out. Go Time!”

Their custom fleet includes some unique purpose built rigs including their awesome carrier called The Animal, a 1997 International 4900 with a 28-foot Chevron deck. It is setup with two winches and an SP 8000 Side Puller, which adds to its recovery capabilities.

“We do a lot of the big pickups out here,” Sheridan said. “A Mega Cab Dodge with an 8-foot bed doesn't fit a 21-foot bed. Many of the regular crew cab pickups here have winch bumpers on the front. We also do a lot of the big mechanic trucks and welding trucks. It was time for a bigger bed and a heavier truck.

“This truck is 33,000 GVW. We had been looking for a bigger rollback for a while.”

The Wyoming State Police had shut down I-80 because of bad road conditions caused by the snow and people detoured to Hwy 430. This guy was towing an enclosed trailer with his pickup. He was hauling two 2020 Arctic Cats in the trailer when he slipped on the road and the  trailer went on its side. He drove away unscathed.

Shawn joked, “So here we were 40 miles south of Rock Springs playing in the snow box. On the job training, hands-on is how I learned and how we teach the next generations.”

Shawn and Dakota had to first drag the trailer off road.

“We couldn’t upright it where it was because the WHP wanted the road cleared ASAP,” said Shawn. “So first we dragged the trailer off the road and then we rigged it for uprighting. With The Animal positioned off road with its deck up, we snatch blocked it from the winch line to the tailboard tip to the front axle of the trailer and steadily brought it up and back on its wheels.”

Once the trailer was back on its wheels it was loaded onto The Animal, they secured it and transported it back to their yard.

The Animal is the most versatile unit in Norberg’s fleet and has been their go-to rig ever since they first put it on the road. When it’s not doing off-road recovery work, it’s transporting campers, pickups and classic cars like the 47 Chevy loaded.

“I loaded it and delivered it to a dealer that only had a 6-foot opening in the door, but I snugged it in,” he informed.

The Animal has even proudly taken part in the Spirit Ride in July 2018 when it came to Wyoming. For this relay The Spirit Casket was transported on The Animal through God’s country.

With the younger generations growing up in this hard-working family and the equipment they have, there be no doubt that this family will keep on “carriering” (my word) on for many years to come!

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!

Walk Around in Posey

0 52291by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

This week, we continue with the further adventures of the 50/65 twins, Tri-State Towing and Recovery’s heavy-duty operators Lance Wayne and Franklin Hammond.

Gary Crawford owns Tri-State, Eric Crawford is the company’s General Manager and Terry Hailman is their Evansville Manager. With locations in Evansville, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky, they cover a large area and provide a variety of services.

In this week’s story, they respond to a tractor-trailer that went over a guardrail.

“Posey County 911 called at 1 a.m. on Friday November 1st, 2019, to respond to a tractor-trailer and pickup in Mount Vernon, Indiana,” Wayne said.

Hammond responded first with their 2020 Kenworth T880 setup with an NRC 50/65 65-ton composite sliding rotator, along with operator Kale English in a Jerr-Dan 16-ton medium-duty.

“When Frank and Kale arrived,” Wayne said, “they found the tractor-trailer over the guardrail, nose down an incline. So they called me to come out with our 2018 Kenworth T880 with an NRC 50/65.”

“A local company did the pickup,” he continued. “That’s the way it works. The local companies handle the light-duty stuff and we handle the heavy-duty work for the Posey County Sheriff’s Department.”

Hammond had staged his 50/65 at the back-end of the trailer and started rigging to the back of the trailer with 12” straps. Once Wayne arrived, he positioned further up in preparation for getting the tractor-trailer unit up the incline. Wayne rigged to the tractor.

“I ran one auxiliary to the tractor tandems and one to its front axle,” he said.

The tractor’s tank was leaking fuel, so they used a FlowStop Football plug to temporarily stop the flow from a leak.

Wayne stated, “These are useful tools, and we carry them and use them whenever a leak situation arises.”

With both working ends of the 50/65 units set up so they would have room to “walk” the tractor-trailer between them by working in tandem, Wayne and Hammond first winched the tractor-trailer up the incline and parallel to the guardrail. They then together lifted the casualty over the guardrail as a unit, walked it between both rotators and set it to get the road opened and traffic flowing.

The casualty was towed to Tri-State’s Evansville lot.

“I couldn’t imagine doing this job with anyone else,” Hammond said. “Safe to say, we trust each other. The loaded truck and trailer barely fit between us. We chained the tractor to the trailer to prevent it from twisting.”

It is safe to say that this dynamic duo has a very strong bond that comes from much time spent in the ditch together. The 50/65 twins have a strong friendship and working relationship with many more years of recovery adventures ahead of them.

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!

Flipped, Flopped & Fried In Kentucky

0 c7e56By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Tri-State Towing and Recovery based in Evansville, Indiana, originated in Henderson, Kentucky, from Rideout's Service Center. They have been providing quality and dependable service to the tri-state area for more than 35 years. Gary Crawford owns Tri-State, Eric Crawford is the company’s General Manager and Terry Hailman is the Evansville Manager.

On Oct. 16 at 8 p.m., they were called to Smith Mills, Kentucky, to recover a flipped-over trailer by the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

Tri-State dispatched heavy operator/riggers Franklin Hammond, Lance Wayne and Steve Bell with their 2020 Kenworth T880/NRC 50/65 65-ton composite sliding rotator, 2018 Kenworth T880/NRC 50/65 65-ton composite sliding rotator and a 2001 Kenworth T800/NRC 9240SR 40-ton sliding rotator.

Hammond informed, “When we arrived, the tractor was still upright; but the trailer was on its side.”

The team staged the three NRC rotators to upright the trailer and started rigging.

“One low line was used from the NRC 9240SR to the tractor tandems,” explained Hammond. “We utilized straps to stabilize the trailer and prevent the wall from buckling.”

All three rotators were rigged to 12” straps on the trailer. After the upright, the crew re-rigged the trailer, lifted it from its wheels and placed it in the road.

The trailer had a load of chicken breasts in Gaylord containers that had been knocked about when the trailer flopped over. These containers are also referred to as pallet containers, bulk boxes, pallet boxes, bulk bins, skid boxes, and tote boxes.

As this is Kentucky, this made for a hazmat scenario. This crew has dealt with many hazmat situations before and are trained and equipped for hazardous materials clean-up, so they put on their Tyvek suits before dealing with the load.

Hammond said, “It was stabilized while we inspected and re-positioned the load to make it safe to tow.”

Once everything was secure, operator Bell towed the tractor-trailer unit to Tri-State’s Evansville facility with the NRC 9240SR.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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NORTHERN - Mexico, ME
$125
(pop. 2,681)

SOUTHERN - Whitney, TX
$175
(pop. 2,087)

EASTERN - King George, VA
$75
(pop. 4,457)

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

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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November 04 - November 11, 2019

Winter Weather Precautions

Winterwear 8fd5aBy Brian J. Riker

Winter is here again with many parts of the U.S. facing their first period of below freezing weather for the season. Having just picked up a new plow truck for the snow season, I felt it appropriate to remind towers about winter safety tips.

First and foremost, make sure you are dressed properly for the exposure to the cold and wet conditions you will encounter. Layers of clothing with moisture-wicking properties are best, as this allows your skin to stay dry and gives you the ability to remove layers as the temperature rises throughout the day.

Be aware of conditions such as hypothermia and the potential for frostbite. Hypothermia happens when your core temperature falls below 95 degrees F and is usually preceded by the onset of shivering. Do not ignore this: get inside somewhere warm and protect yourself.

Frostbite can occur in minutes when unprotected skin is exposed to cold temperatures. Wind and moisture will quicken the onset of frostbite, which occurs when your exposed tissue begins to freeze and discoloration of the skin occurs. Often the victim is not aware of the condition due to the numbness that precedes it.

Wearing the proper hats, gloves and other protective clothing can reduce your risk of cold weather illness. Strong boots with good insulation and a slip-resistant sole are just as important. Walking on snow and ice is dangerous and must be done with extreme caution.

Just like during the warmer weather, hydration is key. Drink plenty of clear liquids and stay away from sugary or highly caffeinated beverages. Without proper hydration, our bodies can’t covert the food we eat into heat energy.

Diet is just as important. It is recommended to increase calorie intake by 20 percent to 30 percent when you know you are facing long exposure to colder environments. It is important to resist the urge to eat a candy bar or other junk food. Instead eat high-carb foods, preferably warm foods like pasta or soup.

Let’s not forget our equipment, either. Tow trucks are not immune from breakdowns and mechanical failures. If you have not done so already, now is the time for a full inspection of your equipment. Pay particular attention to the cooling, exhaust and hydraulic systems. These are the most likely to be adversely affected by colder temperatures.

Lastly, make sure you have extra blankets, water and non-perishable foods in the cab of your truck. These can be lifesavers if you become stranded for extended periods of time. If you do become stranded, be mindful of your fuel level when idling the truck for heat, as well as the potential for deadly carbon monoxide to enter the cab from partially blocked exhaust pipes.

If you have a ground discharge exhaust and are stuck in high snow, it could block the pipe or create a pool of gases beneath your truck. This could lead to them finding their way into the cab through the heating vents. Early symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, headaches and drowsiness. If you experience any of these symptoms, open your window or exit your vehicle for some fresh air and investigate the source.

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

‘We Don’t Need No Training!’

1SP 1141 74a4bBy Randall C. Resch

A motor club customer was critically injured after being accidentally dragged down his driveway, across the street and violently planted into a neighbor’s house by his roll-away vehicle. The customer survived his injuries, but sued the motor club, the tow company and its operator for a monstrously large sum.

The plaintiff cited the tower wasn’t properly trained.

The tow company’s owner stated he was in business for years; but never saw the need to provide an employee handbook or provide safety training to his employees.

Because this industry carries a ton of responsibility, training is an important factor in managing a company’s overall risk. I recommend training be conducted monthly: presenting at least one specific safety topic that takes precedence before company business, especially for large full-service companies.

Owners should assign a topic to designated managers and tow operators, requiring them to prepare a short, 15-minute outline. Because the Internet is full of information, presenters can find what they need by searching the topic name and selecting information, and verify its accuracy, they think would make for a simple—but factual—training session.

Valuable and Smart

Requiring your personnel to teach a periodic training session is valuable for several reasons. They learn about the training topic while building a training outline and it pushes them beyond their comfort level as they learn how to communicate and speak in front of a group. Because they are the class presenter, they also take an item of detail off your plate.

For smaller companies, topic-specific training might be quarterly at minimum. To supplement quarterly training, choose a safety topic-specific article from an industry publication and include that in your employee’s paycheck. When coupled with their paychecks, employees are reading the material on an honor system where you can consider in-house testing or having a qualifying conversation with the employee.

Don’t forget to fully document training attendance; it’s important. This is possibly the most overlooked factor that is beneficial should an unfortunate incident occur. When an accident or incident involves a tow truck or its operator, the first thing that’s challenged is whether or not the company provided employee training, what that training was, who provided the training and if there’s evidence the employee attended training.

Require a sign-up sheet for attending employees to sign. When training is completed, place the sign-up sheet in your company’s training file. When an employee attends a training session, they should be provided certificate with the date, topic and lead instructor/manager’s signature; also to be placed in the company and employee file.

Be sure your operators are TIM-trained, regardless if your company works the highways or not. TIM training is convenient, free and specific to working high-speed highways and the law enforcement community.


Safe, Not Sorry

Any tow company that foregoes periodic training gambles with their livelihood should an accident or incidents occur. Know that OSHA follows media accounts of accident, injuries and fatalities that are reported daily. Regardless of fault, an OSHA inspector may show up at your facility unannounced and unexpected for a weekday audit and investigation. If OSHA determines some violation occurred, they have power to issue expensive fines and shut your company down.

It takes some effort and pre-scheduling, but don’t overlook the importance of ongoing and periodic training. If an accident or incident occurs and there’s no training to back up your employee’s actions, planting the seeds of negligence and incompetency to judge and jury typically ends in high-dollar awards to a plaintiff.

Know the phrase, “vicarious liability,” and its importance regarding your business. If you don’t know, have your attorney explain it to you. As mentioned in the opening statement, the plaintiff was awarded millions when all was said and done.

Are you willing to gamble with your company’s future? Make it your company’s commitment to require all employees receive periodic (good), quarterly (better), or monthly (best) training. Let your insurance provider know that you consistently provide periodic training that includes a formal operator safety certificate from a recognized, industry training entity.

Training isn’t just for making tow employees smarter; it’s a way to manage your company’s overall risk.

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.

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Clearinghouse

FMCSA eb481By Brian J. Riker

In an effort to reduce drug and alcohol testing fraud among commercial drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has developed a clearinghouse database for all FMCSA drug and alcohol test results. The concept is to prevent job hoppers from simply changing jobs before a positive result is returned or otherwise hiding their history of drug or alcohol issues.

Beginning on January 6, 2020, all employers of CDL drivers will be required to check this database before allowing a driver to begin safety-sensitive functions (such as operating a CDL-required vehicle). Furthermore, database checks will be required at least annually for all currently employed CDL drivers.

This is a new requirement along with the current process of sending drug and alcohol test result requests to all the applicant’s previous employers of the past three years. Employers will be required to complete this process until January 2023 to give the database sufficient time to accrue complete and accurate records. After January 2023, the previous employer inquiries will no longer be required to be completed.

Employers are required to obtain written permission prior to querying the database. If a positive result is returned, the employer must obtain electronic permission from the affected driver through the clearinghouse portal and order a complete history within 24 hours. This query and its results are considered protected information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and must be treated as a consumer credit report for disclosure and adverse action purposes.

Through their drug and alcohol testing administrator, employers will be required to report all positive, refusal to test, altered or other results that indicate a failed or inconclusive test result to the clearinghouse as soon as possible after learning of the test results.

Medical review officers and substance abuse professionals will also be required to register for access to the clearinghouse database. They will have to report their actions regarding any FMCSA drug or alcohol test or during the return to duty process.

Employed drivers possessing a CDL or those desiring to work as a commercial driver are required to register with the clearinghouse. This is so drivers may check their own record and give electronic permission to their current or potential future employer to access your complete clearinghouse record. If a driver does not grant permission they will not be permitted to drive any vehicles requiring a CDL.

State licensing agencies that issue, renew or transfer a CDL or commercial learner’s permit will be required to check this database beginning in January, 2023 to ensure the applicant/CDL holder has not had any unresolved positive drug or alcohol test results from any other state.

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
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November 04 - November 11, 2019

Shine On

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By George L. Nitti

Sometimes color schemes on tow trucks evolve in the life of a company. Such was the case with Pardo’s Towing & Recovery of Richmond, Indiana.

Their new color scheme comes into focus on their recently acquired 2007 KenworthT800/NRC 50/65 sliding rotator.
“My Dad started the business 46 years ago,” owner Paul Pardo said. “The color of our trucks was cobalt blue which we called a ‘Pardo blue.’ I said to my father, ‘Let’s snazz it up a little bit.’ This one was a little lighter and it had metallic in it.”

Complementing their unique blue is a newly added metallic Camaro green painted on the rotator, making it sparkle and shine.

Although the company, an NRC dealer, put together the unit in 2007, they sold it only to buy it back last year.

Pardo said, “We needed it as we’ve been getting busier. They gave us a good deal on it. We took the boom off and had it re-done in April.”

Adding more contrast includes another key color, the pink in the spreader bars.

Together, the color scheme explodes. It’s enhanced with the Camaro green lettering against the blue background and the unique blue lettering on the boom. Bringing it all together is the red “Heavy Duty Towing & Recovery” written on the cab.

On the side doors, pinstriping that falls above and below the lettering gives the unit refinement. Pinstriping is also found on the cab and hood.

Ryan Mart, who drives the rotator, said, “It gets a lot of positive comments on it—especially at night because there are so many lights on it.”

More lettering will soon be added.

Mart said, “Paul’s Dad was named Big Marv. His name will go on the truck.”

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!

Trendsetting in Pittsburgh

0 45482By George L. Nitti

When it comes to towing in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McGann & Chester Towing and Recovery sets itself apart as a trendsetter.

Partners Bob McGann and Bill Chester have been a mainstay in the business for 40-plus years, earning a great reputation and building a fleet with more than 60 units.

“We try to stay ahead of things,” Chester said.

“Everybody watches what we do and they follow.”

Of course, having an 80-ton rotator is trendsetting when most are no larger than 75 tons. Their white and orange 2017 Kenworth T800/NRC 80-ton rotator catches eyes and captivates.

“When they see our trucks, they know it’s us coming down the road,” Chester said.

Red flames are one of their key branding components, occupying a good portion of this rotator’s real estate.

“About 25 years ago,” Chester said, “we decided to go with the flames. I wanted something iconic, something that wouldn’t fade out over time. Bob’s father had a ’55 Chevy with flames and they still are popular today. They never go out of style.”


The red and yellow logo on the side doors stand out, making the McGann & Chester name prominent.

Chester said, “When we first started the company, we talked about whose name was going to be on there first. Since Bob was older than I was, he got top billing. It was the seniority system.”

Also found on the rotator is another slogan defining their trendsetting image: “Imitated but never duplicated.”

As part of that overall logo design, a cityscape of Pittsburgh adds depth and gives a sense of place, as does a catchy slogan that states, “Home of the 23-½ Hour Towing.”

According to McGann, that slogan came about when the company did a grueling 23-½-hour recovery at Beaver Pond, from start to finish.

“People often ask us what it means,” Chester said. “We joke ‘that means we don’t want to do the tow. Call us in a half an hour.’ ”

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!

Attracting a ‘Lavish’ Lifestyle

0 4f6bfBy George L. Nitti

It’s a law that you attract what you put out into the universe. As they say, like begets like.

Tow owner T. Williams, known as “Lavish,” has created a compelling brand around a tow company with the same name. In business since 2006, Lavish Towing in Detroit, Michigan, sprang from Williams’ unique vision about what he wanted in life—a lavish lifestyle.

“I was into custom cars,” Williams said. “I thought it would be sweet to have a nice tow truck for the purpose of towing my own cars, adding to the prestige.”

But with one tow truck, another world opened up to Williams in which he could envision a more lavish future. Ten-plus years later, Lavish Towing has grown its image and brand to six tow trucks.

“Once I started to focus on the business side of towing,” Williams said, “it lent to attracting more customers. The name sprang from my clientele.”

The “Lavish” name is clearly stated on the side of their tow trucks, all with the same logo, as exemplified on its black 2017 Ford F-650/Century 21’ steel bed.

Williams, who diligently markets the company through bumper stickers, T-shirts and his car wash, said, “It’s a brandable name. Nobody mistakes that name. They think of me.”

Central to the logo is its first letter, as the letter “L”, written in black, is accentuated by a white box, giving the letter more pop. The rest of the customized white letters stand out as well, against the unit’s black background.

“I came up with the box idea in which the letter ‘L’ is encased because when I’m driving I’m inside a box,” said Williams.

“But I’m always thinking outside the box.”

The logo is more complete with an attractive red, sloping Nike-like symbol that is a roadway, a fitting symbol for any towing company.

Williams said, “With my logo, I wanted to put something out there that nobody would forget. I wanted a logo I wasn’t going to outgrow. It’s simple but clean.”

The logo is also accompanied by a slogan: “It’s a lifestyle.”

“Growing up, my friends never had the vision. They wanted fast food. I was interested in fine dining. I’ve been striving to be lavish, and that’s what I’ve been attracting.”

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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November 04 - November 11, 2019

Chevron’s 19-ft. Steel Carrier

ChevronCommercial 90e94Chevron’s 19-foot steel carrier is fronted with a Dodge Ram 5500 medium-duty chassis, 325 horsepower, 120"cab to axle, exhaust spring ride and hydraulic brakes. Stop by the Chevron Commercial booth #1035 at the American Towman Exposition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dec. 5-7 to see it on display at the show.

chevroncommercial.com

49” LED Lightbar

whitelight d83e3Superior Signals has expanded its LED lightbar inventory to include a 49” series. The lightbar features LEDs rated to 100,000 hours of use and includes a fully functional traffic arrow for applications including outdoor commercial lighting, emergency lighting and other heavy equipment. The RLB is equipped with 72 LEDs, power output of 165 watts, 12 volts, and 18 warning or 11 traffic arrow patterns. This bar also has non-volatile memory recall which keeps your preferred flash pattern selected even after you turn off the light.

superiorsignals.com
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November 04 - November 11, 2019
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November 04 - November 11, 2019
Kaskia Jackson, 40, is being held on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after almost running down a recovery yard employee last April. Image - fox44news.com.

Woman Charged with Taking Repo'd Vehicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: fox44news.com.

MBSi Launches 24/7 [b]Support for Customers

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

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

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

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

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

Source: autoremarketing.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Shot Fired, Attempted [b]Homicide on Repo Agent

A Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, man is facing charges after firing a gun during a vehicle repossession.

29-year-old Brandon Huffman of Reynoldsville is charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault.

According to the criminal complaint, two men with a towing company went to repossess Huffman’s vehicle from his house on Halloween.

Police say as the men drove away, Huffman ran out of his house and fired a gun in the direction of the driver.

Police say they found the handgun and a casing where witnesses say Huffman fired the gun.

Huffman is currently in the Jefferson County Jail.

Source: wearecentralpa.com.
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