Digital Edition
The Week's Features
Two Washington State representatives are pushing for blue lights on tow trucks.
A truck takes a plunge over a bridge, requiring 3 rotators to recover it.
Several critical licenses and permits essential to running a tow business. business
A tow company that sees itself in the image of a Bulldog.
Convenient kit from ZIP’s that includes a mask, gloves and sanitizer.
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing January 19 - January 25, 2022

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CDL Training Programs Now Must be Registered 

Effective February 7, 2022, the rule requirements for entry-level CDL trainees are getting stricter, requiring that all new candidates be registered with an approved provider listed on the Training Provider Registry (TRP) before taking a CDL skills test or for any of the endorsements. 

This new rule stipulates that CDL training programs must be registered, as the rule change sets minimum standards for CDL training providers. Any CDL training provider wishing to be approved for the Training Provider Registry (TRP) will have to meet FMCSA’s requirements for curriculum, facilities, instructors, state licensing, and vehicles.  For information on registering as a training provider, go to 

Towers who are seeking to get their CDL license need to be aware of this new requirement because completion of an approved training course will be verified by the applicant’s state driver’s license agency prior to administering the relevant skills or knowledge test. This new rule also pertains to those who are enrolling their drivers into training programs as they must now make sure that those training programs are registered.  

The good news is that the rule is not retroactive, so individuals issued a CDL prior to February 7, 2022 do not need to meet the new training requirements. Additionally, anyone with a Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) issued before February 7, 2022 will not be subject to the new requirements if they obtain the CDL before their CLP expires. 

To learn more about these changes, visit 

Tractor-Trailer Takes Nosedive 

Screen Shot 2022 01 18 at 3.15.39 PM e4ea9
With a storm hitting N.C. on Sunday, Jan 16, 2022, and black ice creating slick roads, a tractor-trailer took a nosedive off a bridge, where it was dangling for 90 minutes. It was eventually delivered safely to the ground. 

At the scene was Lee's 24-Hour Towing who supplied three heavy-duty rotators. Lee's positioned one on the bridge to secure the top of the trailer, one on the ground to pull it and another to remove the cab from the guardrail. 

"What we had to do first was secure it and get it to where we could control it while we pulled it from under the bridge," Gardner said. The trailer was back in a horizontal position and towed away right around 9 p.m. 

The truck, owned by HAGOS Trucking LLC out of Texas, was contracted for Amazon deliveries and was headed to a warehouse Sunday around 5:30 p.m. when the driver lost control and slid off the bridge, plunging 22 feet from N.C. 147 onto 15-501. 

Joseph Gilliam, a driver passing by who witnessed the accident and captured video, said, "It was an explosion of cement and stuff. I seen him start to nosedive down. At first I didn't believe it. You think your mind's playing tricks on you. Like, no way that I just saw a semi nosedive off a bridge." 

The cab of the truck appeared to land upright, while the trailer was vertical, leaning from bridge to road. 

"I opened the door, and I asked the dude if he was OK," Gilliam said. "He was talking. He was alert." 

The driver was taken to a local hospital, where a spokesman for the company reported that he appears to have broken his back.  

Lee Gardner, owner of Lee's Towing, said that it was a lucky thing the trailer was empty. Had it been full, that weight likely would have crushed the cab when it fell. 

"It takes training. It takes practice. It takes working together," Gardner said of the team that performed the removal effort in biting cold. 

To see time-lapse video, click here.

By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge

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January 19 - January 25, 2022
American Towman Exposition 2021 Recap
Andrew Spivey, an ex-Detroit councilman, was sentenced to two years in prison for taking bribes connected to towing contracts.

Detroit Councilman Sentenced for Bribery  

Ex-Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty in September to accepting nearly $36,000 in bribes, most of which came from a businessman seeking political favors for towing contracts. The businessman was working undercover for the FBI. 

Although Spivey expressed remorse and shame for taking bribes and sought probation, federal judge Victoria Roberts said she couldn't let him slide for the crimes. "This wasn't a mild case of corruption, this wasn't a single lapse in judgment but a pattern of corruption."  

Spivey said he was embarrassed and ashamed by his behavior. 

"I broke the law and i was wrong," Spivey said, but added: “I still believe in reclamation and second chances and when I look in the mirror, I still believe in myself. I ask this court to believe in me, too.” 

After sentencing, Detroit U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison issued a statement: 

“Public corruption undermines the faith of the people in their leaders. Public officials who take bribes will be punished, and I am determined to take every action to root out corruption within the City of Detroit or anywhere else in this district where we find it.”

American Towman Exposition Gallery
homediv tow411
January 19 - January 25, 2022
Representative Naquetta Ricks is spearheading proposed changes to reform nonconsensual towing.

Colorado Cracking Down on Nonconsensual Towing 

Two Colorado lawmakers, Rep. Edie Hooton, (D) Boulder and Rep. Naquetta Rick, (D) Aurora, plan to crack down on what they call "nonconsensual towing.” 

“I don’t deny that they are legitimate reasons for people to be towed, but there is a lot of towing that is occurring without documentation about why they’re being towed....,” said Hooton. 

"Many of my constituents have complained about predatory towing, cars being taken in the middle of the night, cars taken and they have to spend $300 to get in within 24 hours, cars being taken with items that they really need. We thought it would be time to tackle it," said Ricks. 

State law requires residential communities to draft contracts that specify when and why a company can tow a car, but legislators believe there are gaps allowing companies to take advantage. 

“One of the things in this bill is whether or not they can continue to patrol and patrol and kind of like they are circling looking for that opportunity to take the car. In talking with the tow companies, they’re saying the apartment complexes are giving them that right to patrol their parking lot. That is a place where we need to talk with property managers and see if that is indeed the case. If it is, it needs to be done in a better way because it seems like birds of prey just circling, waiting to catch somebody," said Ricks. 

"The Vehicle Owner's Bill of Rights" would require companies that are towing vehicles without the owner's consent to do the following: 

Charge the same fees for tows made without the owner's consent as the carrier charges for tows made with the owner's consent. These fees must be filed with the Public Utilities Commission and posted on site 

Give the owner or lienholder an itemized bill upon demand 

Before connecting to a vehicle, photographically document the vehicle's condition and the reason for the tow. Failure to document the vehicle's condition or the reason for the tow leads to a rebuttable presumption that any damages were caused by the carrier or that the tow was not authorized 

Upon demand of the vehicle's owner, retrieve the contents of the towed vehicle or allow the owner to retrieve the contents 

To remove a vehicle from private property, obtain authorization within the last 24 hours from the property owner, leaseholder, or common interest community 

Unless ordered by a police officer, not tow a vehicle from private property because the rear license plate shows the vehicle is expired 

Repeal the two-day waiting period for tow companies to notify the owner and lienholder of a vehicle that was towed without either the owner's or lienholder's consent. Instead requires notice within 10 days after the tow 

John Connolly, president of the Towing and Recovery Professionals of Colorado said, "The biggest problems in private property towing are not the towing industry itself, rather, the contracts the towing carriers are bound to."

Proposed Legislation on Blue Lights in Washington State 

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

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

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

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

Unlicensed Tow Owner Arrested 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beloved Detroit Tower Honored with Procession 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tampa Towers Rally to Spread Word 

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

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

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

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

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January 19 - January 25, 2022

Tractor-Trailer Takes Nosedive 

Screen Shot 2022 01 18 at 3.15.39 PM e4ea9
With a storm hitting N.C. on Sunday, Jan 16, 2022, and black ice creating slick roads, a tractor-trailer took a nosedive off a bridge, where it was dangling for 90 minutes. It was eventually delivered safely to the ground. 

At the scene was Lee's 24-Hour Towing who supplied three heavy-duty rotators. Lee's positioned one on the bridge to secure the top of the trailer, one on the ground to pull it and another to remove the cab from the guardrail. 

"What we had to do first was secure it and get it to where we could control it while we pulled it from under the bridge," Gardner said. The trailer was back in a horizontal position and towed away right around 9 p.m. 

The truck, owned by HAGOS Trucking LLC out of Texas, was contracted for Amazon deliveries and was headed to a warehouse Sunday around 5:30 p.m. when the driver lost control and slid off the bridge, plunging 22 feet from N.C. 147 onto 15-501. 

Joseph Gilliam, a driver passing by who witnessed the accident and captured video, said, "It was an explosion of cement and stuff. I seen him start to nosedive down. At first I didn't believe it. You think your mind's playing tricks on you. Like, no way that I just saw a semi nosedive off a bridge." 

The cab of the truck appeared to land upright, while the trailer was vertical, leaning from bridge to road. 

"I opened the door, and I asked the dude if he was OK," Gilliam said. "He was talking. He was alert." 

The driver was taken to a local hospital, where a spokesman for the company reported that he appears to have broken his back.  

Lee Gardner, owner of Lee's Towing, said that it was a lucky thing the trailer was empty. Had it been full, that weight likely would have crushed the cab when it fell. 

"It takes training. It takes practice. It takes working together," Gardner said of the team that performed the removal effort in biting cold. 

To see time-lapse video, click here.

Double Dog Dare Recovery

Double Dog Dare Recovery TIW 9 ab70d

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

In Upper Macungie Township, PA, on a road that has a double dog leg turn (two - 90 degree turns), the driver, hauling approximately 42,000 pounds of a name brand soda, took the turn too fast, causing the semi-truck and trailer to roll over.  

After another tower had been on the job for more than 7 hours and was unable to upright the casualty, Hauser’s Truck Service was contacted by the Upper Macungie Police Department. 

Hauser’s dispatched their 1990 Peterbilt with Nomar HD wrecker, 1987 Mack 35-ton Challenger HD wrecker and a 1988 Ford LTL 45-ton Challenger HD wrecker. They also brought out their recovery trailer with the USA air cushion recovery system they wanted to use on this job. Owner Tim Hauser, along with operators Jake Schrawder, Tim Moser, Bill Hillenbrant, Brad Hauser, and Kevin Krase responded to the scene.  

Tim informed, “We determined the best way to approach this recovery would be to bag the trailer from the roof side and rig the trailer from the floor side to pull it up with the Mack and Ford heavy-duty wreckers. The Peterbilt heavy-duty wrecker was used to stabilize the tractor as the casualty was coming up to keep everything in line.” 

Jake rigged the job, in part using extra wide 18-inch recovery straps to lend additional support as the casualty came up. The side of the trailer had been compromised and they felt it best to bag it, utilizing seven air bags to cover the square footage of the 53-foot trailer. Tim explained, “We find seven works great so there's no chance that the rib line of the trailer walls open up or "unzip.” 

“After the truck was recovered, we allowed the original tower on the scene to tow the tractor away and they also transported the trailer,” stated Tim. “We came in to do a job and we weren't looking to ‘poke the other guy in the eye.’ We felt it was the neighborly thing to do to allow the original tower called out to take the casualty from the point we had recovered it.” 

The recovery was completed from beginning to end in approximately 90 minutes. It was a great example of how know-how and years of experience, paired with quality equipment, gets the job done. 

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on 6/8/21


Timothy “Tim” Hauser is the President and owner of Hauser’s Truck Service of Allentown, PA. The company is a third-generation family business, founded by Harold & Jean Hauser in 1971 out of their home and garage. Brad Hauser is the third generation of Hausers involved in the business. 

Celebrating 50 years in business in 2021, the company has grown into one of the Lehigh Valley’s largest towing and repair facilities with 18 employees and 26 vehicles in their ever-expanding fleet. 

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 ; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine! 

Technical Lift in a Tight Place

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by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warren, MI,
(pop. 134,141)

Casselberry, FL
(pop. 26,449)

Elkton, MD
(pop. 15,579)

Loveland, CO
(pop. 70,223)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
January 19 - January 25, 2022

Business Licensing for Towing 

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By Brian J Riker 

I am often asked what licensing or permits are required to open a towing company and my answer invariably is “It depends.” I am not trying to be deliberately obtuse or misleading but that is a loaded question because it varies depending on the type of towing you plan to do, where you will be performing those services and where your company is physically located. While I will try to be as specific as possible, this article is for general reference only and is not intended to be a complete licensing resource. Please check with your local and state officials to verify what is required to legally operate your specific company. 

Certificate of Occupancy – This is the permit from your city, county or other municipal government that says you can operate a commercial business on a specific piece of land or in a specific building. There may be special zoning, noise or other ordinances you must comply with to get the C.O. and it may need to be renewed if there is any change to your operation. Making sure you can get a C.O. is the first step in selecting a physical location once you have decided the general area you want to have your office and yard located in. 

Business or Occupational License – This is a common permit requirement in large cities and counties. Often tied into taxes or other revenue collection, this permit gives you the authority to operate a business within a specific geographic location. If you service multiple cities or towns, you may need a occupational license in multiple jurisdictions. These licenses usually renew annually. 

Sales or Use Tax – Many states require towers to collect sales tax on towing, storage, repair services performed or parts sold unless the customer is sales or use tax exempt. Some cities and counties also impose a local sales or use tax so be sure to check for all required licenses. While the tax collection license usually is valid for the life of the business, absent any ownership changes, returns must be filed quarterly in most states even when no tax was collected. 

Motor Carrier Authority – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires for-hire companies that engage in regulated interstate commerce to obtain operating authority. This is evidenced by the issuance of a MC number and a certificate of authority. While emergency towing of wrecked or disabled motor vehicles from the place they first became disabled is exempt from this requirement, secondary tows and other services performed by typical towing companies are not exempt therefore your company may be required to have interstate for-hire operating authority if you cross state lines or otherwise engage in interstate commerce with vehicles in excess of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating. This authority is valid for the life of the business, absent any ownership changes or lapses in insurance coverage. 

Public Utility Commission - Several states also require their own intrastate operating authority. Like the Federal authority, most states have exemptions for emergency towing with some also only requiring authority for larger commercial trucks over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating. These vary and may be required to be renewed at different intervals. Typically issued by the Public Utility Commission or similar Agency, these requirements may be met for out of state based towers by complying with the Unified Carrier Registration. 

US DOT Number – In addition to the MC number above, the FMCSA and many states also require operators of commercial vehicles to obtain and display a motor carrier identification number known as a US DOT number. This number requires filing of a bi-annual update to remain active and valid. 

Unified Carrier Registration – Any motor carrier that operates vehicles with a gross weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds that cross state lines is required to comply with UCR, even if you are based in a non-participating state. This registration renews annually. 

Tow Operator Certificate – Several jurisdictions and at least two states require towing operators to be licensed individually to perform non-consent towing. There may be initial training and continuing education requirements to obtain and renew these licenses. Please check with the agencies regulating towing in the areas you plan to operate within. 

Driver’s License – It goes without saying that the tow operator actually driving the truck must have a valid driver’s license for the class and type of vehicle being operated. A few states have specific requirements to drive non-CDL required vehicles in a for-hire environment such as requiring a chauffeur or for-hire license and at least one state, New York, requires a tow truck endorsement even on non-CDL licenses. Check with your state driver licensing agency for more information and expiration dates. 

While the above list is not exhaustive, it gives the tow boss a place to start evaluating if they have all the required licenses to operate a towing company. If I missed anything please let us know, I learn more from interacting with the readers and would be happy to pass on any additional information. 

Are Your Child Support Payments Behind? 

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By Randall C. Resch                          

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

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

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

It Happened to Me 

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

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

Pay the Piper 

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

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

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

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

Lessons from Lakewood – For Professional Drivers 

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Brian J Riker 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 19 - January 25, 2022

Branding with a Bulldog

By George L. Nitti

When Mark Lopez, owner of Bulldog Towing of San Diego, Ca., started the company, branding was a paramount issue.

He said, “We decided to do a bulldog for the sake of branding. A lot of tow companies use people’s names like ‘Bob’s Towing,’ and I don’t believe people identify with that. We wanted a brand.”

Lopez, who has had approximately 30 years experience in the towing business said, “The name ‘Bulldog’ had been in the works for over 10 years, before we started the company.”

With the help of a family friend, a design was created, which would become the logo and brand recognition that Lopez and his partner, Caesar Esparza, sought.

On the hood and side doors of their 2019 Kenworth W900 Custombuilt 50 ton Wrecker is the striking, stand-out image of a muscular bulldog, done in an old English style.

Lopez said, “Obviously it is a favorite of ours. We are big fans of bulldogs. Bulldogs are hardheaded and stick with things. So do we.”

Complementing the bulldog throughout the wrecker is a military tribute theme, as two of the owners are ex-military, a couple of the tow operators, former marines, and one of the office employees, an army vet.

Lopez said, “As part of the wrap, we incorporated the American Flag along with camouflage. We are supporters of wounded warrior, which you will also find on the truck.”

This truck is similar to the other trucks in their fleet, as they are focused on promoting a consistency with their branding.

As for the day in and out challenges of owning his own company, Lopez said, “Even if I made less money I would still want to work for myself.”

Editor's note: This article was originally published on 10/8/2020

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

Above and Beyond

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By George L. Nitti 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Siggi’s Shining and Striped 2020’s

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By George L. Nitti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
January 19 - January 25, 2022

Personal Protective Equipment Kit (PPE) 

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


Kit Includes: 

1 pair of disposable gloves 

1 disposable surgical face mask 

1 hand sanitizer packet (0.9g) 

Bag size: 4 x 6 

 For more information about this kit, 

LED Work Lights  

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

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

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

For more information, go to

Diesel Lifeline

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

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

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

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

For more information, go to
January 19 - January 25, 2022
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January 19 - January 25, 2022
Police converged at a mall in Ft. Worth, Tx., in a hunt for suspects who shot a repo man.

Repo Driver Shot in Ft. Worth

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

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

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

Man Arrested for Assaulting Tower

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

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

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

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

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

Two Charged with Murder of Repo Man 

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

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

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

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

Used Car Market on Fire

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

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

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

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

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