Sunday, October 31, 2010

Corvette Owner Charged After Trying To Escape Tow Truck

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A Murfreesboro man is facing criminal charges after police said he tried to leave in his Corvette after it was already hooked up to a Go Jack towing device.
"I'd like to say, after I worked all these years I've got something I did for myself, so I bought this car," said Steven Baldwin.
Baldwin said he wasn't going to let a tow truck driver take his prized car away.
Baldwin drove his car to an MTSU football game and parked without a permit at the nearby Nottingham Apartments.  Managment called for a tow truck and Monica Mitchell with Packs Towing hooked the care up to the Go Jack device.
"You just jack it up and it takes your tire up off the ground," said Mitchell.
Moments before hooking the car to the tow truck Baldwin said he arrived and jumped into the Corvette.
"I decided I'm not going to leave my car on this contraption," said Baldwin.
Mitchell shot video of the incident on her cellphone. It showed Baldwin first looking at the Go Jack and then he got into the car. Baldwin then backed up the car breaking the Go Jack.  As he moved forward, a bystander said the car hit him.
"Before I could get out of the way he hit me," said Eddie Santader, who was trying to help the tow truck driver.
Santader said he suffered a badly bruised knee.
Police were called to the scene and arrested Baldwin. He was charged with vandalism and aggravated assault.

Tow Truck Hauling Semi Trailer Hits I-57 Overpass

A tow truck towing an empty semi trailer crashed into the Interstate 57 overpass on West Main Street late Friday morning. 
Salem Police say the driver of the tow truck, 45-year-old Roy Landers of Charleston Road in Salem, refused hospital treatment, but a passenger, 24-year-old Joshua White of East Clark in Salem, was taken to Salem Township Hospital for treatment of facial injuries.

Salem Police say for some reason the boom on the tow truck apparently began extending while westbound on Main Street making it and the front of the trailer higher than the overpass.  The impact bent the frame of the heavy duty tow truck, bowing it in the center.  It also crushed the front portion of the trailer owned by Conway Trucking.

The wreck blocked the westbound lanes of West Main Street for two hours.  Police made the eastbound lanes one way each direction during the clean-up, causing lengthy backups.  The Illinois Department of Transportation inspected the overpass and found no structural damage.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tow Truck Driver Survives Close Call On Hwy. 26

A tow truck  driver hooking up a car to his rig on Highway 26 was struck and injured by a car Sunday afternoon, fire officials said.
Portland firefighters said the car’s driver lost control as the vehicle spun out on wet pavement and crashed into the tow truck driver just west of the Vista Ridge Tunnel.The tow truck driver survived and is recovering at a Portland hospital. His name was not released.The car’s driver stayed at the scene of the wreck and cooperated with the investigation.

Broken Arrow Man Dies In I-35 Truck Crash In Noble County

NOBLE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA -- A Broken Arrow man has died after the wrecker he was sitting in on the shoulder of I-35 in Noble County was struck by another truck early Wednesday morning.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 24-year-old Michael Cummisky was the driver of a 1995 Kenworth wrecker which was parked on the shoulder when a southbound semi hit the wrecker shortly after 2 a.m.  
Troopers say the semi left the roadway striking the wrecker in the rear.
Cummisky was flown by medical helicopter to an Oklahoma City hospital, where he was pronounced dead almost 10 hours after the accident.
Cummisky had been a driver for Storey Wrecker in Tulsa for about 2 years, according to Kristin Capeheart, who handles public relations for the company. 
Cummisky drove one of the company's largest wreckers, Capeheart said.  He had hauled a piece of oilfield equipment for a company in Kansas and was on his way home when the wreck happened.  Capeheart said Storey's large wreckers sometimes answer calls far from home because few wrecker companies operate such large equipment.
Capeheart said Cummisky had a blow out and was sitting on the shoulder as he waited for a tire service company to come replace the bad tire.
Capeheart said Cummisky was a very well-liked young man who was married and had two young children. 
The driver of the semi, 40-year-old Eddie Wyatt of Kaufman, Texas was taken to an Enid hospital where he was treated and released.
An investigation into the crash continues.

Tucson tow truck driver run over by vehicle he was hauling

Tucson tow truck driver run over by vehicle he was hauling

A tow truck operator was run over by the mini-van he was towing this morning.
The man, in his 20s, and his colleague had just repossessed the van and were towing it along Interstate 10 at about 8:45 a.m. when a problem developed, said Capt. Adam Goldberg of the Northwest Fire Department.
The men pulled the tow truck to the shoulder of the interstate near Mile Post 244 just west of the new Twin Peaks interchange off-ramp to adjust the van in tow. One of the men was working under the rear of the van when the tow truck rolled backward over him.
He sustained fractures to his lower extremities and was taken to University Medical Center in serious but stable condition, Goldberg said.
The tow truck was not in park when the accident occurred, but "whether it was human error or mechanical error we don't know yet," Goldberg said.
The Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Working in a man's world

CHEYENNE -- When Kathy Julius was a child, she wanted to be a nurse.

Julius chose a different career path. But it has similarities in that both careers help people and require dedication and hard work. Both jobs also are unfamiliar with the concepts of weekends off and 9-to-5 workdays.

Julius owns Doug's Towing. She started in the towing profession in 1986 and bought Doug's Towing in 1992 from her ex-husband.

She entered the career when it was an unheard of profession for women. Working in a man's world is a challenge, but she has no regrets about her career choice.

The business helped her raise a now-grown son and daughter. She also has two grandsons.

Julius employs six drivers to handle the wreckers and flat bed.

The Cheyenne native knows how to drive the wreckers, but mostly works in the office. There, she handles the paperwork and payroll. She dispatches towing calls.

She does her work with long natural nails that are perfectly manicured.

Four additional "employees" accompany her to work: her fluffy small dogs Gigi, Jingles, Cassie and Ted. Their duties are to greet customers and curl up on pillows under her desk. The dogs are good at their jobs.

The tow business is on East College Drive, its office inside a bright yellow building.

A collection of more than 100 miniature wreckers are parked on shelves on one wall. But everything else in the office is practical and no frills, from massive desks to a color TV, pop machine and chairs.

Outside, Julius explains the workings of the full-sized wreckers with the confidence of someone who thoroughly knows her job. A series of levers on the rigs operate equipment like the wheel lift, sling and the boom.

She calls the wreckers by name.

"I name everything," she says, accenting her words with a deep, husky laugh.

There's Firecracker, Stretch, Blackhawk, Tomcat, Tomater (now retired) and Tow Kitty.

The 24/7 profession is demanding. Drivers who work for Julius must go through a training program.

"You either love it or hate it," she says.

She belongs in the first category and said she enjoys her job.

Each employee agrees to be on call six days a week, 24 hours a day. They face difficult conditions, often driving icy and snow-covered roads to reach stranded motorists.

"When I bought this, I didn't know a whole lot about it," she says as she looks around the office. "I believed in it. I believed I could do it."

She says she has been lucky to have dependable crews over the years. She often has driven her own vehicle out to check on her drivers in bad weather to make sure they are OK.

Perry Kinard is the company's manager.

"He's my right-hand man," she says.

Drivers clean up car crashes, tow vehicles that break down, and recover vehicles that run off embankments.

They also do some repo work, but it's not like it is on TV. People here don't like it, but aren't rude to the drivers who tow their cars, Julius says.

"I feel for them. But only a few get a chip on their shoulder," she adds.

The business also volunteers crews to help at the Big Country Speedway every Saturday during racing season. The tow drivers clear away crashes on the track and help with other duties.

"It's an amazing service," says speedway manager Jerry Hargraves. "Without a doubt, if it wasn't for their help people would be in a bad spot."

The business also offers Operation Tipsy Tow services during the holidays. They provide a free tow and a ride home within a 10-mile radius of Cheyenne for people who have had too much to drink.

The company has helped more than 2,000 people since Tipsy Tow began in 1986.

"I just want to make sure that someone's daddy or mother makes it home safely," Julius says.

Tow-truck driving is evolving into more of a profession now, she adds.

"It's becoming a major industry of its own."

There's a lot more competition too.

"It's fun," she says. "You have a lot of time and work involved."

But it's worth it when she receives a letter from someone whose car broke down and who praised the job of her drivers.

About two weeks ago, an out-of-state man rolled his fifth-wheel. He wasn't hurt in the crash, but all his possessions were inside the vehicle. Julius and her employees helped him sort out his belongings after they hauled the vehicle back to the lot.

The business has a family atmosphere, driver Bob Boone says.

He suffered a heart attack at his home a few years ago. Julius stayed with him at the hospital.

"I love that woman to death. She's an excellent boss."