Digital Edition
The Week's Features
Alberta's tow operators will be able to use blue lights to enhance safety and visibility.
Fire truck hits low bridge, breaking off boom mount
Steps to prepare for, prevent and treat during extreme weather conditions.
Airbrushed unit showcases menagerie of dragons
A repo of a loaner car ends with owner of dealership getting shot.
Events
Fprt Worth, TX.
June 16-18, 2022
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept. 21-23, 2022
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2022
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing June 20 - June 27, 2022

Rockin' Rotator

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By George L. Nitti

When Mark Sylver of Sylverline Towing, located in Temple Hills, M.D., broke off from the family business in 2013-14 to start his own company, he knew he wanted his trucks to be easily seen and read, rather than flashy or busy like some of his competition throughout the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.

Today, Sylver’s intention can be found on his tow trucks, mostly heavy-duty, including 3 rotators. His latest purchase of a Kenworth 2021 T880 with a Century 1150 Rotator illustrates a powerful color schematic of orange and silver and a straight-forward, easy to read white lettering that pops against those two contrasting colors.

The unit’s eye-catching colors are its first striking feature.  “I went with orange because I didn’t want my company to be mistaken for anyone else,” Sylver said. Although not stated, the color silver, which covers the upper half of the unit, seems a play on the “Sylver” name – yet works perfectly as a contrasting color, when often, white or black, would be the go-to.

Along the side, written in large white letters, is the company name/logo - “Sylverline.” Sylver said, “My family’s business was M&N – the name Sylverline just clicked one day.”

The company, which specializes in heavy duty towing, particularly coach buses (“before they fell out of favor due to Covid”) perhaps connects to coachline. Adding to the name is a catchy winchline running through the logo bearing a hook.

Also prominently written on the side is an easy-to-read phone number. Sylver said, “If somebody is broken down, legally you can’t solicit, but if you drive by and they see your truck and phone number, they can call you. That happened last week. Somebody called me and said, ‘I saw you towing a bus. Can you come by and tow me.’”

On the back of the cab is a slogan Sylver picked up from his church: “Favor Ain’t Fair.” “If you have the favor of God, it ain’t fair. You just have it,” said Sylver. “And you can’t worry about what somebody else has, because they are in the favor of God.”

While Sylver points out that he has been favored with three rotators, he also points out that good service is a key to his success, which sometimes means saying no to jobs.

He said, “I can’t please everybody. There are other companies around me that promise a cheaper price but if you call them 4 hours later, they still haven’t come. When they call me, the job is handled. I can’t tow everybody, so I have to be the best at what I do.”



Click here to read more

TowXpo Dallas/Ft. Worth Hits High Notes 

American Towman kicked off its first tow exposition of 2022, TowXpo Dallas/Ft. Worth, with several noteworthy events standing out. The exhibit floor was well trafficked with a record crowd on Friday.

One highlight was the exceptional attendance at the educational seminars.  AutoReturn’s John Borowski, who taught a couple of business seminars, said he was surprised by the stallar turn-out. “Many of the seminars were full. People were hungry for information. In my class, attendees were overflowing on both walls and the back of the room. It was beyond capacity.”  

The Master of Chaos Dinner, in which there were 120 in attendance, was a rousing ceremony honoring the heroic work of towers, police and firefighters working together to clear the Great Texas Pile-up of 2021.   

In comments that Borowski prepared for the dinner, he said, “Towers and other first responders worked 18 hours to clear up this incredible mess that is permanently burned into their memories. The god-awful sites that they witnessed and the sounds of people desperately screaming for help will never go away.” 

Borowski noted the eloquence of the key speakers that included James Bennett, Jr., of Beard’s Towing and Recovery; Bill Waybourn, Tarrant County’s Sheriff; and Jim Davis, Ft. Worth’s Fire Chief. Borowski said, “Each couldn’t emphasize enough the collaboration between tow, fire and police and the team spirt that took place.” 

Exposition president Henri “Doc” Calitri was impressed with Friday’s record turnout on the exposition floor, where over 120 exhibitors were in attendance. “It was the best Friday that we’ve ever had at this event,” he said. “Overall, it was a solid show.”  

The wrecker pageant, which included the entry of 35 trucks competing for prizes, drew a full crowd while American Towman’s hospitality, marked by Casino night and Calitri’s Cuba, were yet again favorites. 

“Ft. Worth is a great location to hold a tow show,” said Calitri. “The Convention Center has ample restaurants, the hotels are close by, and the atmosphere is vibrant. We were really pleased with the response of attendees by the facility as well as surrounding areas.” 



James Bennett, Jr., pictured left, with American Towman Magazine editor Steve Temple at the Master of Chaos Dinner.

Defending the Value of Training 

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By Randall C. Resch  

Ya’ can’t go a week without seeing someone poking holes’ in the need for industry training. Forum participants are quick to make aggressive attacks on course content in which towers claim they don’t need formal training because “I learned it on my own” or “I’ve been in business for years and don’t see the need.”  

Other long-time “experienced” towers indicate that “training’s expensive” and “it’s a waste of time.” 

But could the lack of training be detrimental to towers in the unforeseen event something does happen? 

Consider the following... 

A Georgia tow company was sued when a motor club customer was dragged by his vehicle and implanted into a house. The operator had no formal training and the seventeen-year-old company provided only a week of orientation and ride-alongs. The plaintiff’s attorney discovered the operator was undertrained and tow tower’s techniques didn’t meet the industry’s Standard of Care. The case settled out of court for an incredible amount. 

In California, an experienced operator arrived on-scene to transport a damaged SUV. As he worked to secure the vehicle to the carrier, his customer and her friend were standing on the non-traffic side versus being secured inside their awaiting vehicle or the carrier’s cab. A DUI motorist fell asleep and impacted the parked vehicle. The friend was killed. A well-known “industry expert” threw the tow operator under the proverbial bus saying, “The tow operator failed to meet the Standard of Care.”  

Know Your Obligation  

Recognized training is about professionalism, industry education and liability. Training has been a requirement for towers serving high-speed highways in California, Texas and other states for decades.  

If towers haven’t participated in recognized training and are involved in incidents causing injury, death or extensive property damages, such as in the situations just described, they can be held criminally and civilly responsible.  

Regardless of experience in years, towers should welcome the opportunity for training. In today’s litigious society, it’s fact that operator training (or lack thereof) is the first detail that’s attacked in wrongful injury or death lawsuits. You’ll find most juries perceive a lack of training as a disregard for public safety. Juries are sympathetic to injured or killed parties especially when training is easily obtained. 

In every tower’s best defense, a recognized training course adds value to one’s career path. I believe there’s value in formal training if not only for the education it provides, but to lessen the impact of a guilty conviction. This isn’t legal advice, but a simple reminder that being trained is a conscious choice.      

TowXpo 2022 Was A Hit!
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Towers on Vaccination
I got vaccinated without any side effects
I got vaccinated and had subsequent health issues
I am not vaccinated
I see no good reason to be vaccinated
Answers are anonymous
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Managing Editor: George Nitti
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
June 13 - June 20, 2022
The state of Wyoming, which has been criticized for not regulating tow practices, is now proposing new regulations.

Wyoming Proposing Tow Regulations 

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has released a revised set of rules for the towing and recovery industry which covers a wide range of practices from equipment to customer service. 

The regulations are a response to numerous complaints over price gouging and unregulated practices. 

With the input of a Towing Advisory Board formed in 2018, the proposed set of regulations will be enforced by Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) within its jurisdiction. Penalties for violating the outlined rules include levels of suspension or removal from the WHP’s call rotation list. 

The proposed regulations include standards companies must meet to get on the rotation list. These include provisions that drivers must pass a background check and their equipment must meet a minimum threshold of safety requirements. 

The rules also outline how WHP will determine if a company is meeting their obligations to keep rates fair and reasonable. WHP will consider fee schedules, posted rates, quotes and rates charges for similar services. 

“I think this is a good start,” said Andy Burg, chairman of the Towing Advisory Board and longtime owner of a towing and recovery business. “It’s not everything I like or want, but it’s a good start to getting a hold of our state.” 

The new rules are open for public comment through July 21. 

https://www.wyomingnews.com/laramieboomerang/news

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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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June 13 - June 20, 2022
Allstate Roadside awards Tierney and Earnest Jones of Trac 1 Towing in Memphis the prestigious 2021 Ring of Honor Award.

Allstate Roadside Awards 2021 Ring of Honor

Allstate Roadside recently announced the winners of their Ring of Honor Award, which recognizes exceptional service providers distinguished by fast response time and great customer service for customers of Allstate Roadside and affiliate programs.

This year, Allstate Roadside was privileged to name Tierney and Earnest Jones of Trac 1 Towing as recipients of the 2021 Ring of Honor Award. Since joining our network in February 2018, Trac 1 Towing has achieved outstanding service levels while completing over 100 tows each week.

They've reinvested in their company and have steadily grown their fleet from four trucks in 2018 to eight light-duty trucks in 2022, and they’ve added medium- and heavy-duty capacity along the way.

"Allstate Roadside is a key part of our towing business and helps us take care of our drivers who really make all of this work. It's easy to do business with Allstate Roadside, and that allows us to focus on customers," said Tierney Jones.

Trac 1 chose Allstate Roadside as the first national service network (motor club) to work with, and they remain committed to creating a positive customer experience with every rescue they complete.

Allstate Roadside believes that providers like Trac 1 and leaders like Tierney and Earnest are the heartbeat of our industry. Please join us in congratulating them on this prestigious achievement. We thank them and all great providers for what they do to serve customers and keep them safe.

Honk Technologies Testing Towbook Integration

Honk Technologies, a digital roadside assistance and vehicle transport company, announced that it is currently exploring integration options with Towbook, the leader in cloud-based towing software for dispatching, impounds and reporting. 

The initial integration enables partners to receive, accept and manage HONK towing and roadside assistance jobs from within their Towbook system and get paid instantly after job completion. Testing is taking place in specific cities for a limited time with select HONK Partners. 

“When we ask our partners what they’d like to see from HONK, one of the top requests has long been the ability to send HONK jobs through their Towbook dispatching software,” said Corey Brundage, CEO at HONK. “We’ve been working closely with Towbook to ensure that this integration provides the ease-of-use, visibility and powerful functionality that HONK partners have come to expect, all from within the platform they use to manage day-to-day operations.”

Maryland Proposes Two Tow Resolutions 

In Ocean City, Maryland, on Monday, June 13, two tow resolutions were introduced.  

The first would require tow companies that don’t seek reimbursement for their tows from the city within 90 days to be subject to an administrative fee of 10%.  

Under the ordinance, tow companies are required to seek reimbursement up to 30 days. 

Ocean City Police Department Capt. Mike Colbert said, “Last year we had a tow company that didn’t ask for reimbursement for their tows for the whole year, and they made a ton of tows,” he said. “It was well into five figures we returned to them … It took us a while to go back and verify we actually owed it to them.” 

Colbert also presented the commission with an ordinance amendment involving towing ordinance complaints. 

“This is a piece of paper that needs to be filled out every time a tow company tows off a private lot under the blue sign,” he explained. “We tightened this form up to a degree because we had an instance of a single tow company excessively dealing in predatory towing.” 

One of the proposed changes, he said, is a requirement for property owners or managers to take a picture of the unauthorized vehicle being towed. 

Colbert said the proposed changes were ultimately written to clarify the rules and prevent predatory towing. 

Both resolutions were unanimously approved by a commission and forwarded to the Mayor and Council with a favorable recommendation. 
https://mdcoastdispatch.com/
https://www.oceancitytoday.com/news/

Amendment to Allow for Blue Lights in Alberta 

Effective June 30, under a one-year pilot project, tow operators in Alberta will be allowed to have blue lights on their vehicles in order to increase their visibility and safety.  

"Every Albertan deserves to be safe at work, even if their office is at the side of the road. Today we affirm this point and we're grateful to the government for this announcement, said Michelle Chimko, President and CEO of the Alberta Motor Association. "This change is as simple as it is profound, and it will make a life-saving difference for Alberta's essential tow operators and the Albertans they're responding to." 

Bill 207, the Traffic Safety (Tow Truck Warning Lamps) Amendment Act, was introduced in the Alberta legislature on April 28. 

In addition to this change, in the spring of 2023, Alberta will institute a law requiring all motorists travelling in the same direction on multi-lane highways to slow down to at least 60 km/h and allow one lane of space, where possible, when passing stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks and roadside workers vehicles when their lights are flashing.  

https://fortsaskonline.com/articles/

 

Tower Seriously Hurt in Hit and Run  

A hit and run episode in Concord, N.C. left a tower seriously injured, after he was dragged along the road.  

Tower John Owen of LeBleus Towing was at the end of his shift when he was rear-ended by a black sedan according to a surveillance camera in his tow truck. 

The video shows Owen getting out, and then disappearing for about 45 seconds. He is then seen being dragged about 50 feet up the road, and then lying on the street. A black car takes off and someone rushes to help the him. 

“(The good Samaritan) did an excellent job, we’re trying to find out who they are so we can thank them, if they wouldn’t have stopped more than likely he wouldn’t be here today,” said Jeremy Good, owner of Lebleus Towing. 

Good said all the surveillance video has been turned over to the Concord Police Department to help with the investigation. He’s asking these nearby business owners to do the same. 

Right now, Owen is recovering at a Charlotte Hospital. 

His colleagues are pitching in $1,000 of their own money to offer a reward leading to an arrest in the case. 

https://www.wsoctv.com/news/l

Soaring Gas Prices Put Strain on Tow Companies 

Soaring gas prices, which now average around $5 a gallon throughout the country, and more for diesel, continue to pound tow businesses.  

“In South Carolina, we’ve gone up over a quarter in a week’s time," said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. "So, to say that gas prices are on the rise would be an understatement.” 

The rising cost in diesel fuel specifically is having an impact on the towing industry. 

"We can’t run the trucks without the diesel," Theresa Rodriguez with Willimon's Towing said. "Unfortunately, because of diesel prices, it makes it harder for us to help these people in the community because they can’t afford it, and we can’t afford not to have those customers. That’s what keeps these trucks on the roads.” 

Rodriguez said if the prices continue to rise, so will their service prices. She said they have to continue operating as an essential service to the community. 

Grace Automotive in Southwest, Virginia is saying the cost of diesel is hitting them hard as well, the company now spending $400 to 450 to fill up a couple of their flatbeds. 

The owner of Grace’s said, “Because prices are so high, it’s like were working for free.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5uJs5LmOT8
https://www.wyff4.com/

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Rate how they handled this recovery
Great job on a challenging recovery.
Hit all the basics on this one. Thumbs up.
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More trucks were needed.
June 13 - June 20, 2022

Clearing Chaos in Fort Worth

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by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On February 11, 2021, hell broke loose on I-35W in Fort Worth around morning rush hour. 135 vehicles were involved in a massive wreck, leaving six people dead and dozens injured. The scene stretched for nearly a mile in the southbound lanes of the interstate, north of downtown. The roads were so bad firefighters had to use their own salt and sand to get to the scene.

Texas was amidst a frigid, horrific weather pattern and the highway became a sheet of ice from freezing rain that had fallen overnight and into the early morning hours. This led to a massive chain-reaction pileup, which appeared to have started at around 6:15 am, with cars slipping, sliding and crashing into each other. Multiple 18-wheelers, also involved in the pileup, crashed violently into and in some cases rolled over passenger vehicles.

I-35 became a massive search and rescue operation with temperatures making it challenging. People developing hypothermia was a concern and rescuers were slipping on ice while searching for survivors in the wreckage.

Paramedics brought in buses to keep the survivors warm in the freezing temperatures and a reunification center was set up for people involved in the pileup to reconnect with their families. Fort Worth Police deployed more than 80 vehicles to block traffic and assist wrecker companies removing cars from the pileup.

The emergency response was just as massive. In the midst of this tragedy towers answered the call responding with an awesome display of manpower and equipment and were on scene working alongside 80 police officers and close to 70 firefighters. Towers not only cleared the mangled wreckage, but lifted thousands of pounds of crushed vehicles so that firefighters could rescue people that were trapped.

In charge of this effort was James Bennett Jr., the owner of Beard’s Towing, the biggest of the many tow companies on the rotation handling this mess. James Jr. is the “Incident Management Commander” for the Traffic Incident Management System in the area. He oversaw coordinating the response of close to 90 tow trucks that were on scene helping with the crash.

James Jr explained, “We were called in by Fort Worth PD and Fire. If you have something that weighs from 45,000 to 80,000 pounds on top of something that weighs less than a ton, we need to be able to remove that carefully and safely so firefighters can get in there and do their job.”

This was a tremendous undertaking with towers collaborating with other first responders in a coordinated recovery and rescue effort to clear the chaos with an impressive array of equipment. Tow companies involved were Beard’s Towing, Texas Towing, A-1 Wrecker Service, Edd’s Towing, ABC Wrecker, Cornish Wrecker, Perrfect Towing, Milliner Wrecker, Guy Simmons Towing, Bevins Wrecker Service, Lonestar Towing and Advanced Recovery.

James Jr added, “As far as individual drivers operating rollbacks, they were definitely too many of them to know all of their names. We reference all of our towers as "The Fort Worth Towing Alliance."

Heavy-duty wreckers and rotators lined the scene to lift vehicles stacked on top of other vehicles. All of the heavy-duty rigging of the casualties that were on top of other casualties and victims was done by James Bennett Jr., Richard Knadle, Allen Knadle, Jac Clay and Chris Akers.

For each of the fatalities involved the rigging was done by James Bennett Jr. He explained, “To rig some of the casualties I had to crawl over and actually lay on some of the victims to get the rigging in the right place so that it would not drop and damage the victim further.”

James Jr informed, “On the picture where you see the rotator lifting two vehicles at once...The reason for that was due to the victim underneath the white van. The driver side door was ripped open increased underneath the van with a corner of it going into the victims back. The black Toyota pick up was wedged on top of the van in another vehicle pushing down on the victim. The rigging was done so that we could lift the black pick up in the van simultaneously without it dropping and damaging the victim any further. If we had moved one of the vehicles at a time it would have dragged the victim.”

In total, towers cleared 135 vehicles and recovered six victims in 16 hours. James Jr and his crew were first on scene and were there for the duration. He stated, “We were out there the whole time. We were the last to leave.”

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!

A Bridge Too Low

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by Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

On March 4, 2021 Greg’s Towing received a call from the Akron Police Department for an accident on Newton St., East of Case Ave. involving a fire truck hitting a 10'3" railroad overhead bridge.

Greg’s owner Greg Prunty responded with his 2017 KW with a Century 5030 30-ton, heavy operator Steve Labay Jr responded in a 2018 Pete with a 50-ton Jerr-Dan and operator Keith Riley went out in a Dodge with a Jerr-Dan MPL40. Tyler Bishop from Bower's Towing was an extra helper.

Upon arrival and the initial walk around, Greg’s crew found the fire truck, a retired unit used for parades, that belonged to a private individual. Steve informed, “The unit had been traveling east and hit the bridge with such force that it had broken the boom mount off the frame and bent the boom down and spun it over the side. The basket had excessive damage and the body was twisted.”

When the unit came to a stop it had struck a telephone pole and wires were down, strewn across the road. “After the Electric Company had secured the pole and the power, we were able to put our recovery plan into action,” said Steve. “The unit was still running and we backed it off the sidewalk and crossways into the street, so we could position the Jerr-Dan 50-ton in front of the unit and the Century 5030 30-ton on the side.

First they winched and lifted the boom clockwise towards the front of the truck with the 5030. Then they extended the boom on the 50-ton to lift the boom over the undamaged cab and a/c unit. The MPL40 was used to winch the basket back around and in place. “We used the 5030 to hold the boom and the Jerr-Dan 50-ton to lift the boom over the cab and back into place,” explained Steve.

The crew strapped the boom down and towed the fire truck from the scene to Greg’s lot. The next day the owner came and was able to drive the unit home.
_____________________________________________________
Greg Prunty owns Greg’s Towing, based in Akron, Ohio. The company, established in 1983, serves northeastern Ohio. Their services include towing and recovery from light to heavy-duty, lockouts and jump starts.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 12, 2021 by Jim "Buck" Sorrenti, who passed away in December of 2021. Owner Greg Prunty of Greg's Towing also passed away on June 5, 2022. 

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

Jackknifed On Guardrail 

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By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

Traffic was backed up for miles on July 26, 2021 after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on top of a guard rail on I-195 East in Swansea, Ma. It was actively leaking fuel.  

Eric Fouquette from Big Wheel Towing and Recovery, who happened to be in the area in his 2020 Dodge Ram 5500 Century flatbed, rushed to the scene to deal with the leaking diesel fuel. He placed a large hazardous fluids pop up containment pool directly underneath the compromised fuel tank. In order to access the underside of the tank, he had to lay in poison ivy, thus preventing over 100-gallons of diesel fuel from spilling from the tank and polluting wetlands.  

Other equipment and personnel responded close behind Eric and arrived on scene shortly thereafter. Big Wheel responded with both of their heavy-duty rotating style crane recovery units. When the equipment arrived on scene, Eric operated his 2020 Kenworth 880 with a NRC HIM 80-ton rotator, operator Mike Cleary in the 2017 Peterbilt 589 with a Century 1150R 50-ton rotator, operator Kevin Whitle in the HAZMAT Response Truck, operator Nathaniel Wing got in the 2020 Dodge Ram 5500 Century flatbed and owner Bob Fouquette was in his Isuzu Traffic Control Unit. 

Eric informed, “Once on scene, our Traffic Control Unit was positioned at the rear in order to assist with the roadway and lane closure. Our LED arrowboard/advanced warning indicator affixed to the top of the truck was illuminated and raised in order to warn oncoming motorists of the incident ahead. With a perimeter established around the scene, our HAZMAT Truck was positioned at the front of the scene in close proximity to the damaged tractor. One of our recovery team members wore a Tyvek suit and went underneath the tractor in order to drill a pilot hole into the side of the fuel tank so that the remainder of the diesel fuel could be siphoned from the compromised tank. Our air-operated fuel transfer pump was then used to siphon the remaining fuel from both fuel tanks as well as from the containment pool which was initially used to collect the fuel.” 

After all of the fuel was successfully removed, the HAZMAT drums filled with fuel were loaded onto their ramp truck and relocated on scene along with the HAZMAT Truck. Both rotators could now be positioned and setup in order to begin the recovery operation. One of the rotators was positioned and setup in front of the tractor while the other rotator was positioned and setup behind the trailer.  

Eric explained, “Heavy-duty chain bridles were then strategically installed onto the front and rear of the trailer as well as onto the tractor itself directly behind the cab area. This combination of rigging would allow for both of our cranes to simultaneously lift the entire tractor-trailer unit.” 

After all of the necessary rigging was installed, both operators rotated and extended each of the rotator booms out towards the area where the tractor-trailer was located and the upper winch lines on each rotator were attached to the rigging. Both operators slowly applied upward tension onto each line, which began to elevate both the tractor and trailer. Both rotators continued to elevate both units several feet in the air until they were above the steel guardrail system. With the entire tractor-trailer unit now suspended in mid-air, both rotators, working in tandem, slowly rotated the entire tractor-trailer up and over the guardrail until it was brought back over the roadway. 

Once above the roadway and a safe distance away from the guardrail, the rotators slowly lowered both units back down onto the pavement. The hazardous fluids pool was placed back underneath the compromised fuel tank as fuel continued to leak from the tank. All of the rigging used was uninstalled from the tractor-trailer and placed back within the respective rotator. 

Frank Corp. Environmental began to perform some preliminary site work to contain the spill area and prevent the further migration of fuel into the environment. The tractor-trailer was prepped for transport and transported from the scene back to Big Wheel’s Freetown storage facility. Once there, the tractor was separated from the trailer and both were placed into storage. 
__________________________ 

Big Wheel Towing & Recovery, located in East Freetown, Ma., is own one of the largest and most respected towing and recovery companies in New England. Bob 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. 

Frank Corp. Environmental Services is a full-service environmental company available 24/7 for emergency response. They provide a range of services from emergency hazardous material spill clean-up to planning for and servicing proper management of hazardous materials all the way from use through disposal.  

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


Warren, MI,
$175
(pop. 134,141)

Casselberry, FL
$375
(pop. 26,449)

Elkton, MD
$640
(pop. 15,579)

Loveland, CO
$250
(pop. 70,223)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
June 13 - June 20, 2022

Defending the Value of Training 

training a8511
By Randall C. Resch  

Ya’ can’t go a week without seeing someone poking holes’ in the need for industry training. Forum participants are quick to make aggressive attacks on course content in which towers claim they don’t need formal training because “I learned it on my own” or “I’ve been in business for years and don’t see the need.”  

Other long-time “experienced” towers indicate that “training’s expensive” and “it’s a waste of time.” 

But could the lack of training be detrimental to towers in the unforeseen event something does happen? 

Consider the following... 

A Georgia tow company was sued when a motor club customer was dragged by his vehicle and implanted into a house. The operator had no formal training and the seventeen-year-old company provided only a week of orientation and ride-alongs. The plaintiff’s attorney discovered the operator was undertrained and tow tower’s techniques didn’t meet the industry’s Standard of Care. The case settled out of court for an incredible amount. 

In California, an experienced operator arrived on-scene to transport a damaged SUV. As he worked to secure the vehicle to the carrier, his customer and her friend were standing on the non-traffic side versus being secured inside their awaiting vehicle or the carrier’s cab. A DUI motorist fell asleep and impacted the parked vehicle. The friend was killed. A well-known “industry expert” threw the tow operator under the proverbial bus saying, “The tow operator failed to meet the Standard of Care.”  

Know Your Obligation  

Recognized training is about professionalism, industry education and liability. Training has been a requirement for towers serving high-speed highways in California, Texas and other states for decades.  

If towers haven’t participated in recognized training and are involved in incidents causing injury, death or extensive property damages, such as in the situations just described, they can be held criminally and civilly responsible.  

Regardless of experience in years, towers should welcome the opportunity for training. In today’s litigious society, it’s fact that operator training (or lack thereof) is the first detail that’s attacked in wrongful injury or death lawsuits. You’ll find most juries perceive a lack of training as a disregard for public safety. Juries are sympathetic to injured or killed parties especially when training is easily obtained. 

In every tower’s best defense, a recognized training course adds value to one’s career path. I believe there’s value in formal training if not only for the education it provides, but to lessen the impact of a guilty conviction. This isn’t legal advice, but a simple reminder that being trained is a conscious choice.      

Hot Weather Risks 

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Brian J Riker 

With an extreme heat wave covering a large portion of the U.S. this week, now is the time to address environmental exposure and OSHA compliance. As part of your workplace safety program, it is your duty to provide your employees with an environment free from recognized hazards. 

As employers you must make sure your team has appropriate schedules to reduce exposure times to extreme weather (hot or cold), as well as someplace to seek shelter and warm up or cool down as necessary. Proper clothing also plays a huge roll in worker safety. Keep in mind you may be required to provide some clothing at no cost to your employees as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The first step in providing a safe work environment is to conduct a job hazard analysis (JHA). This can be as simple as a single page document that identifies the potential hazards associated with any given task and lists the required steps to reduce risk while performing this task. A JHA for a towing operator would include atmospheric environmental exposure concerns such as UV (sunlight) exposure, rain, snow, ice, outside air temperature and inhalation hazards such as blowing dust and smoke. It would also include traffic and other exposure concerns; however, those are topics for another article. 

Once you have identified the types of environmental exposure your employees face, your next step is to determine the best ways to reduce or eliminate their exposure while still allowing them to complete their work. This may include requiring gloves, safety footwear and appropriate layers of clothing to act as insulation. Yes, even in the heat of summer extra layers or long sleeve clothing may be the most appropriate means of providing environmental protection. 

During the most extreme temperatures you may also need to schedule extra personnel on-scene to allow for water and cool down breaks. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very real possibilities, and you must take precautions to protect yourself. These conditions occur when the body loses the ability to regulate internal temperature and can happen even in relatively mild conditions, with a heat index of just 91⁰F, or lower if you are in new area and not yet adjusted to the climate. 

Heat stroke can occur when the human body reaches an internal temperature of just 104°F, hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95°F. As you can see, the human body is quite temperature sensitive given that the normal body temperature range is 97-99°F. 

Heat related illnesses range from mild to life threatening and often take workers by surprise, especially early in the summer season while the body is still adjusting to the seasonal change. There are also cardiovascular concerns while working in extreme temperatures, especially when they are a result of an unseasonal weather pattern, and your body has not had time to acclimate to the changing temperatures. Our age, physical condition, activity level and level of acclimation with the hotter environment all play into how an individual may be affected by heat illnesses. 

Heat cramps will begin to develop as your body dehydrates due to sweating. As it loses salts and water your muscles will begin to cramp. This can be an early indicator that you need to take a break and rehydrate. 

Heat exhaustion is more serious and occurs when your body no longer can regulate its internal temperature thru sweating. When signs of heat exhaustion first appear, you must seek a cool area to rest and recover. Some symptoms to look for include high body temperature, increased heart rate, nausea or vomiting, headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, weakness or fatigue and pale skin. 

Heat stroke is the most severe of heat related illnesses and left untreated can result in death. During heat stroke your body temperature begins to climb to dangerous levels, you often stop sweating and your body loses all ability to deal with overheating. Symptoms include confusion, agitation, hallucinations, altered mental state, inability to sweat, dry red skin, dizziness or fainting, very high body temperature (excess of 104F), slurred speech or seizures.  

Immediate treatment should begin if any of the above symptoms appear. A cool down area is a job requirement as is a sufficient supply of water to keep the crew hydrated. Should signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke be shown, move that person to a cool area, give them water to drink and for heat stroke ice applied to the neck can help lower their core temperature. Always seek competent medical help. 

Prevention is a simple as taking frequent breaks from strenuous activities in the heat, drinking plenty of water and monitoring yourself for the first signs of a heat related illness. 

What all this means to you as an employer is simple. Employee health is a paramount concern and your company’s policies, training and daily expectations must reflect that. 

Move-Over Laws LACK Public Education 

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By Randall C. Resch  

One of my relatives headed to Vegas and was a few miles outside Primm. As she approached a Nevada state patrol unit writing a citation on the highway’s shoulder, she noticed her odometer surpassed 90-mph.  

As luck would have it, the officer saw her coming and visually estimated her speed … Got’cha! Having that sinking “Oh crap I’ve been caught” feeling, she immediately dropped the Cherokee’s speed to seventy. 

Seconds later, the patrol car swooped from behind and lit her up. To the shoulder she slowed and awaited the officer’s approach with ticket book in-hand. She greeted the officer with a cowering smile as he asked for license and registration.  

In most states, citations written “ten-miles over” are generally quite expensive so she readied herself for the worst when the officer said, “I stopped you because you didn’t move-over before you passed me.”  

“What, not for speeding?” she thought. The officer provided a not-so-friendly warning scolding her about Nevada’s move-over law.  

I Didn’t Know 

The successes from move-over laws are only as good as public education and supporting enforcement. Where state and municipal budget's view traffic enforcement as “a lesser necessity,” you’ll find the annual percentage of citations issued per individual (SDMO) are hardly notable.  

It’s fact that highway patrol officers rarely enforce move-over violations. To the detriment to responder and tow operator safety, SDMO laws continue to be ignored.  

In my mother-in-law’s defense, and not that she’s clueless all the time, she told me she honestly didn’t know the move-over law existed. I believe that to be true. As in the case with millions of motorists, most still aren’t aware of SDMO laws nor are they aware of the dangers that befall roadside workers.  

In the weeks since narrowly dodging that expensive ticket, she found a new awareness that SDMO laws represent. But, as far as I see it, for every driver who abides by the law, thousands more ignore it. I can’t imagine escaping the vulnerability of working the highway. Herein I make my case for increased public awareness.  

Give Us a Sign 

Although California’s move-over law is better than 15-years old, you might see a once in-awhile “Amber Alert” sign displaying move-over snippets as a reminder to clueless motorists. But, the sign’s wording rarely mentions “tow operators” in its presentation. To that point, there’s only a small paragraph regarding SDMO important to worker safety included in new driver pamphlet. 

So, what’s the chance that public awareness will ever increase based on budget and aggressive enforcement? In all reality, the concept of “Duck and Cover” better serves towers in a manner that SDMO laws don’t!  

Remember, cars don’t kill people, people kill people! So, the next time you’re forced to dodge some 4,000-pound bullet headed your direction, you’ll get the jest of what “Survival of the fittest” means. The bigger picture suggests, always practice white-line safety every time you go boots to the ground. Every vehicle that approaches you is the enemy with potential of ending your life.  This narrative’s for your safety … not theirs.  

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June 13 - June 20, 2022

Simplicity’s Complexity

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By George L. Nitti

Company branding is a critical component to starting and managing any business, and includes such elements as a strong logo, consistent colors that blend nicely, and fonts that are applied across the business. Strong branding leaves a lasting impression, helping a company stand out to customers who associate its product or service with the brand while attracting new customers with the clarity of that image.

At Chaz Towing in Watsonville, Cal., established in 1987, the company has developed a strong brand with a “less is more” identity that exudes a professional image in its simplicity.

According to Kevin Chavez, operating manager and son of owner Eduardo Chavez, “We wanted something subtle that would stand out. Something that was not overstated but with some complexity.”

Fine tow truck graphics, like mid-coast California wines, harbor intensity wrapped in subtlety as illustrated on their 2014 Peterbilt389 with a 35-ton Vulcan.

“This unit is a perfect for our company and the perfect application for any fleet. It’s easy to use and maneuver,” Chavez said. “The capabilities of the winches and its pulling power are incredible.”

At the heart of the design is the company name which is the primary element that stands out because of its large size, scripted/elegant lettering and contrasting colors that blend subtlety against its yellow and white background.

Adding further distinction, the company name is applied in several key locations, including the side doors, the hood, and the large real estate across the wrecker body. Going the extra yard, however, lies in the fact that even their customized mud flaps restate the company name, not the wrecker company or dealership, a fine point that is often overlooked in branding.

The company name is easy to remember as well. “Chaz.” Chavez said, “We wanted to be unique. Many tow companies go with their last name but we wanted a more memorable marking.”

Which includes their colors of yellow and white. Chavez said, “Yellow grabs everybody’s attention. It represents emergency personnel and catches your attention, making it hard to miss.” Reflective lettering and an array of lights give further enhancement.

Their brand, like their family heritage, was forged over time and proliferates on other company memorabilia, such as pens, backpacks, customized coffee cups, vests and rain gear.

“My father, who started the company with his brothers, immigrated to the states in 1978, first living in Minnesota before moving to the Monterrey Bay area. He came with empty pockets with a dream to succeed,” said Chavez. “He saw the need and demand for towing.”

Now with 11 trucks and family members entwined in the business, with a single-minded focus, company professionalism has become a prevailing theme wrapped in precise branding that strikes notes of simple tastes.

Heart of a Dragon

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By George L. Nitti 

Over the years, Cecil Burrowes has showcased his fine airbrushing talents on a slew of award-winning tow trucks with themes as diverse as the Godfather, Batman, Clowns, Tribal Art, the Spirit Ride and much more. His realistic depictions and eye-popping colors vividly bring to life a host of characters and a variety of designs. This year Burrowes is back with yet another thematic, colorful play – a menagerie of dragons that convey intensity, determination and passion. 

“For 3 months or so I stayed in Sarasota, Fla., taking a room at Fastway Towing, as I worked on this project,” said Burrowes. “The owner John wanted me to do the Transformers, but I told him it was going to take too long. There were too many intricate parts.”  

After careful research consulting online sources and magazines, Burrowes came up with a dragon theme. He said, “At first it was going to be several small dragons. But things change as you go along.” 

Visually sizing up the Ford 2020 F550 with a light-duty Chevron, Burrowes said that he “visually placed the artwork on the truck,” asking himself a question like “How much of the door do I want to take up?”  

Fortunately for Burrowes, due to his stellar reputation, he often has carte blanche in executing his designs. He said, “Most people I do work for trust my judgement. Very rarely do I have to do a drawing to show people.” 

One picture of a dragon he used was sitting on a rock, which Burrowes transformed into a jade green, fiery dragon sitting on a bed of skulls. “It was just what the owner wanted.”  

Keeping the truck colorful, Burrowes painted several other dragons on the unit having shades of green, gold and red, each intricately constructed, compositionally balanced against a sky background. Burrowes said, “It was very time consuming.”  

The dragon on the hood is a seething bundle of intensity, sure to scare off any evil thoughts a person might have to thwart a repossession of their vehicle. 

At the American Towman Exposition November of 2021, Burrowes intensity, determination and passion helped him clear several obstacles along the way to make it to the Tow Pageant, a 15-hour ride from Sarasota to Baltimore.  

Sometimes it takes a little dragon breath to get where you are going. Unfortunately, dragons sometimes have their share of misfortune. The outcome of this journey didn’t turn out as intended but there is always next year. 

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! 

All-American Runs Deep

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By George L. Nitti

“In America you have the ability to have a dream, to chase that dream and to realize it. And there is nothing that stops you from doing that.” Mike Phillips, All-American Towing & Recovery


Blessed with freedoms and opportunities, tow companies across America share deep patriotic feelings. 

Mike Phillips, owner of All-American Towing and Recovery, which is located in Justin, Rhome and Denton, Texas, credits his ability to have built his business because of these liberties.

He said, “I don’t believe that there are too many countries in the world to give you the opportunity to do what we’ve done.”

Phillips established All-American in 2013 with one heavy duty tow truck and has broadened his business to include servicing law enforcement, light duty, hazmat and storage.

He said, “The first few years for us were hard. Nothing was given to us, but because of the country we live in and the freedoms that we have, through hard work and dedication, we have exceeded to a point that were happy with.”

The pride Phillips has in America stems from being part of a large family, many of whom have served in our military.  He said, “We have always had an extreme amount of patriotism. It runs deep.”

All of that has cascaded into All-American’s branding, with 19 units in their fleet, all patriotic themed, including their 2021 Kenworth 900 with a 9055XL Century.

On the wrecker’s side, the All-American logo stands strong in red against a white background. The lettering, written large, has a retro/mechanical feel that Phillips says was inspired by a dilapidated tow truck across the street from a Rock City tourist attraction.

With his wife’s creative flair, they designed a waving tattered flag, which flows along the front side of the unit and includes a host of stars.

“No matter what breaks this country down, that flag will still wave regardless of the condition,” Phillips said.

On the side, a slogan states, “Reinventing the Standard,” which taps into the company ethic of ensuring their drivers are trained, formally.

“We want our operators to treat this as a career,” he said. “We want to break the stigma of a tower as a ‘tow truck guy.’ We want to maintain the same professional standard of police officers or fire department employees. We hire and strive to have professionalism at all times.”

With blue and red lights and plenty of chrome to add to the mix, it's no wonder this unit gets so many heads turning.

Phillips said, “We get compliment after compliment on our trucks. I didn’t want our graphics to be so busy that it took away from the trucks or the company name. I think they have just enough flash, just enough chrome to make them recognizable, memorable and easily read.”
........................... 

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! 

June 13 - June 20, 2022

Actio PRO Radio

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Actio PRO is a wireless noise-cancelling radio built for those who are on the jobsite day in and day out—serious support for cutting background noise and creating safer, more effective workplaces. Actio PRO is packed with features like increased range, extended battery life, additional users, and more! 

Features 
- Powerful Noise Filter 
- Hands-Free—No “Push to Talk” 
- Up to 1650 Yds Total Range* 
- All-Weather Usage 
- Group Radio Up to 6 Users 
- Unlimited Use with On-the-Go Power Connection 
- No Earmuff Modification 
- Ability to connect multiple teams with 2-way radio 
- Use a Combination of Single-Speaker or Dual-Speaker Headsets 

What’s Included 
- Actio PRO Radio 
- Actio PRO Elastic Helmet Mount  
- Actio PRO Single-Speaker OR Dual-Speaker Headset with Waterproof Mic 
- Actio PRO T-Cable 
- USB On-the-Go Charging Cable 
- USB Charging & Data Cable 

For more information, https://speakeasycommunication.solutions/how-to/actio-pro/

Online Impound Auctions 

OnlineImpoundAuctions.com allows Tow Lot Owners to seamlessly dispose of their abandoned vehicles and maximize their sales revenue. The platform is designed with an understanding of Tow Lot Owners’ goals and business practices. 

At no cost to the seller, and the lowest bidder cost in the industry, the live auction platform increases bidder pool and eliminates the cost and effort of holding an onsite auction. 

Benefits

  • Free to sellers
  • Lowest cost to bidders in the industry
  • Larger bidder base = higher selling price per car
  • Cars stay on your lot – no movement required
  • Eliminates on premise auction costs like security, staffing and food
  • Easy online showroom setup on OnlineImpoundAuctions.com
  • Streamlines after auction paperwork – invoices available immediately after car sells
  • You collect all the Money
  • Special offers for Towing and Recovery Association members – ask us
  • White Glove services available – we will set up your showroom for you 

For more information, contact www.OnlineImpoundAuctions.com or 888-903-4678. 

Customer Testimonial from Buyer's Report, April 2022, American Towman Magazine

“For hosting and selling a large number of vehicles per month, Online Impound Auctions, LLC has been fantastic.  A Tow has two to three auctions a month selling hundreds of cars.  Online Impound Auctions streamlined and optimized the process to reduce our overhead while increasing our revenues.  A Tow was able to eliminate security, eliminate registration process for 100’s of people and focus on premiering vehicles to be sold.  Online Impound Auctions post reporting is useful to ensure you have the needed information for a successful auction.  Their competitive host pricing that can’t be beat.” 

Page Porter, A Tow Inc., Atlanta, Georgia 

The Life Saver: Cone Mounted Warning Light System

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The TowMate Life Saver Gets Attention and Saves Lives!
The rechargeable universal traffic cone light system includes rechargeable unit with two high-intensity LED strobes mounted to it and AC wall charger. Instantly mounts to most traffic cones. This system provides an amazing alert system in a small package.  

  • Move traffic over with this easy-to-deploy warning light! 
  • Multiple selectable flash patterns 
  • Lithium battery lasts 24+ hours on a charge 
  • Recharges off included AC wall charger 
  • Other color options available 
  • Made in USA 
  • Lifetime warranty on LED’s 

Customer Testimonial: “Over 50 years as a tower, I have tried everything to get traffic to pay attention: warning lights, cones, a flashlight on the fog line. Butch, my driver, was working a scene in his heavy-duty wrecker on I-90 at night in the pouring rain and had put his triangles out. Unsurprisingly, they had no effect. Remembering that he had been given the Life Saver, he placed it on a cone in advance of the triangles. What he saw next was like magic. He turned that light on and those people were all over in the far lane. He said he couldn’t believe how well it worked. It’s the best thing since a pocket on a t-shirt.”  Dave Stephens, Kellogg’s Service & Towing, Mead, Washington 

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June 13 - June 20, 2022
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June 13 - June 20, 2022
One of the panels presenting information at the summit included three executives from financial companies.

Repo Industry Gathers at NARS 

At the North American Repossessors Summit (NARS) held in Denver, Colorado, on June 21 and June 22, a gathering of close to 500 repossession agents, collections and recovery managers from an array of industry service providers convened to discuss a variety of issues of concern to the industry.  

The two-day event was hosted by the American Recovery Association (ARA) and included presentations given by executives from the finance community and repossession agents. 

In one panel discussion led by three executives in the finance community expected repossession volume to rise in the coming months. One from a California credit union noted a need to increase loss reserves due to upcoming market turbulence in the next 9 to 12 months. Another highlighted that due to the unpredictability of the economy, that the credit card market could be a good predictor of what’s going to happen with repossession rates. 

Three active repossession agents comprised another panel. Dave Kennedy, president of ARA, focused much of his comments on the successes of the Repo Alliance, the grassroots funded lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C.  

Starr Sawalqah, who runs Alpha Recovery in Phoenix, offered several recommendations to her fellow repossession agents. She insisted that agents “shouldn’t be afraid to be vulnerable” when describing their escalating costs to finance companies. But she emphasized that agents need to back up their claims with plenty of data to show just how much it costs to skip-trace a customer and repossess a vehicle. 

James McNeil, the chief executive officer of Day Break Metro, which provides repossession, locksmithing and transportation services from seven lot locations in California, encouraged industry members to buttress their resources, including trucks, physical resources and their workforce.  

He said, “We’re in an industry that’s going to be surprised by how much we’re going to be overwhelmed with assignments.”  

https://www.autoremarketing.com/subprime/

Man Arrested for Shooting Owner of Car Dealership 

The man who shot the owner of a car dealership in Ft. Worth, Texas was taken into custody by Arlington police and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. 

The incident occurred around noon on May 16 when dealership owner Adel Elhindawi came to repossess a car loaned to Espy. After Espy’s car was repaired for mechanical issues and returned to him and his loaner not returned, Elhindawi came to repossess the vehicle. 

“For somebody to do this to a loving person who was doing a favor who was helping them out who was going above and beyond to help them out,” said Damien Espinoza, an employee at the dealership. “Give them a car when they needed a car. For them to do this to him, it’s senseless,”  

Elhindawi remains in critical condition. 

Read more at: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/

Repo involves Hatchet-Wielding Man  

As two men were repossessing a vehicle in Sioux Falls on May 10, the vehicle’s owner threatened them with a hatchet that he had pull out from his repo’d vehicle.  

The repo men had the vehicle hooked up to their truck when the man, thirty-three-year-old Philip Sven Glader, confronted them, threatening one of the men, but reportedly not striking him. The suspect damaged the repo truck with the hatchet, slashing one of the tires, before police arrived and arrested him. 

No injuries were reported by the repo men. The suspect was arrested for intentional damage to property and aggravated assault. 

https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/ 

https://www.dakotanewsnow.com/

Sub-prime Auto Loan Delinquency Rates Rise in February 

According to Deutsche Bank and Fitch Ratings, more sub-prime borrowers are falling behind on their auto loans. In February, the delinquency rate for subprime auto loans more than 60 days past due rose to 4.15%, the highest since April 2020 according to Deutsche Bank. 

Fitch Ratings also tracked February subprime auto ABS delinquencies at the highest since April 2020, but at a near 4.8% rate. 

Despite the rising trend, the delinquency rate was over 5% before the pandemic and all of the government stimulus kicked in.  

“Certainly, spending power from what we are seeing on inflation could leave the subprime borrower more vulnerable,” said Margaret Rowe, senior director in Fitch’s asset-backed securities group. “We were expecting to see delinquencies normalize or come back to those pre-pandemic levels.” 

Auto lenders often move quickly to repossess vehicles when a borrower falls behind on payments.  

“We believe inflation is more likely to impact subprime borrowers due to lower incomes and/or savings,” BofA Global’s strategy team wrote, in a weekly note. “This leaves the subprime auto loan ABS and consumer loan ABS sectors more vulnerable to credit deterioration, which could add pressure to ABS valuations in the coming months, especially at the subordinated level.” 

Source

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