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TowNews last won the day on July 6

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  1. City audit finds 20 Queens towing companies engaged in widespread fraud, licenses may be revoked. Tow truck operations are taking New Yorkers for a ride, according to the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. The watchdog agency is currently in the process of notifying 20 tow truck company licensees in Queens that they are among 130 operations citywide that are suspected of widespread fraud in the industry. None of the companies have been identified publicly by the department. An in-depth investigation suggests that a quarter of all licensees in the five boroughs may have engaged in widespread insurance and workers’ compensation fraud and the agency expects to name the operations in the coming days. “The tow truck industry already has a reputation for predatory practices and our investigation has led up to believe that they are also putting both their customers and workers at risk with falsified insurance and workers’ compensation documentation,” Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Lorelei Salas said. The ongoing and lengthy legal investigation investigation into the tow truck industry suggests various acts of fraud including submitting fraudulent certificates of liability insurance, having less insurance than indicated on their license application and as required by law, falsely listing someone other than the true owner of the company as the owner of the tow truck company, submitting fraudulent insurance ID cards, and claiming to have insurance policies and/or workers’ compensation coverage that doesn’t exist. DCWP currently licenses 512 tow truck companies. A tow truck company license is required if a business moves or removes disabled, illegally parked, or abandoned motor vehicles or vehicles involved in collisions. As part of the application process, companies must have personal and property liability insurance for tow trucks and submit a copy of their insurance certificate. Licensees must notify DCWP within 10 days if their insurance policy is cancelled, expires, or is terminated for any reason. Companies must also provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance or a certificate of exemption if they are not required to maintain it. “These companies not only potentially committed fraud but endangered to public and their workers,” Salas said. “We will do everything in our power to shut them down.” The notices will inform the companies of their right to meet with the DCWP to defend the charges in the notice before the agency renders its final decisions. Following the meetings, DCWP will consider the evidence and arguments presented and make their final determination about revocation. Companies who do not respond to the notice will have their licenses revoked. RESOURCE LINK
  2. Man and woman arrested following shots fired at tow truck driver, police say MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A man and a woman woke up behind bars after police said they fired shots at a tow truck driver as he repossessed a car. Anjerracle Jones and Terrion Gibson are charged with Aggravated Assault. Police said they approached the tow truck driver in the 800 block of Olympic Street as he took a car away. RESOURCE LINK
  3. Massachusetts State Police said they're investigating after someone caught a photo of a dog chained to the flatbed of a tow truck. WALTHAM, MA — Massachusetts State Police are investigating after local police sent them a photo showing a dog sitting on the back of a Waltham-based tow truck as it drove down Interstate 95 near Totten Pond Road. The photo was shared hundreds of times on social media. "I am so sick to my stomach over this," wrote Stephanie Isaac, who was one of many who posted the image to her account talking about the dog, which appeared chained to the back of a Ramsay's Tow truck. Shortly after, Ramsay's Towing posted a response on social media. "We have just been made aware of the photo that is circulating on Facebook," " reads the post. "We do not support the drivers actions and he was terminated immediately." But state police said they're working with the Animal Rescue League of Boston on the investigation and aren't yet sure who the dog belongs to. Investigators received mixed reports about whether the dog belonged to the tow truck driver or the person having a van towed. Having an animal improperly secured does come with a fine, according to State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio. But the bigger potential question is whether this was animal cruelty, he said. Investigators are looking into whether the animal was put in danger in such a way that meets the criteria for animal cruelty, said Procopio. "It's immoral, it's not right to the animal," he said. "And quite likely illegal, too. And the Animal League and our investigation will determine whether anyone should be cited." Mike DeFina, a spokesperson for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, confirmed the rescue league was helping with the investigation. "But because the investigation is in the very early stages, ARL cannot comment at this time or speculate on what charges may or may not result from the investigation," he said. Overall, animals being improperly secured in a vehicle is something typically handled by local law enforcement during traffic stops, so it's not a circumstance that the Animal Rescue League is directly involved with often, he said. "However this is something that seems appalling and extreme and ARL Law Enforcement along with Massachusetts State Police will be vigilant in discovering the circumstances surrounding this photo and whether punishment beyond a citation is warranted," DeFina told Patch in an email. RESOURCE LINK
  4. Man found passed out in Wendy’s parking lot with suspected fentanyl: Brockville police An Oshawa man is facing an impaired driving charge after Brockville police say he was found slumped over his steering wheel in a Wendy’s parking lot. The 52-year-old tow truck driver was arrested at the fast-food restaurant on Parkdale Avenue in Brockville on Monday evening. Police say that when officers confronted him, the man did not know where he was. They also say officers found a small amount of what they suspect to be fentanyl on his person. The man was charged with impaired driving by drugs. His licence was also suspended for 90 days, and his car was impounded for seven days. RESOURCE LINK
  5. There are few details are this time, other than the driver either swerved to miss an object it the road or struck the object. If someone has the details and the status of the driver. Please advise.
  6. MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A tow truck driver is in critical condition after he crashed into a tree at Weaver and West Holmes in southeast Memphis Monday evening, Memphis Police said. Officers are still on the scene. The driver was taken to Regional One Hospital. This is an ongoing investigation. RESOURCE LINK
  7. Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:59AM PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An out-of-control SUV slammed into four cars, Monday afternoon, including a Philadelphia police vehicle and a Philadelphia Parking Authority tow truck. It happened along the 4400 block of Paul Street, in the city's Frankford section. Police say the driver first hit the tow truck, then side-swiped the officer's vehicle, before hitting two parked cars. That driver was taken to the hospital. Nobody else was hurt. The crash is still under investigation. RESOURCE LINK with video
  8. Found on Broadview Heights Fire Department Facebook page: posted 07.12.19 Great work by B-shift and Broadview Heights Police Department on a roll over MVA this morning on I-77NB at Lacey Ln. The victim was quickly extricated and taken to a local trauma center. Another report stated the driver is OK. That is unconfirmed at this time.
  9. Mike Skreke with Birger Eklov's Red 1960's International Tow Truck So you slid off the icy road and into a deep ravine; you’ve really done it this time! You are OK but shook up; you and perhaps the officer who arrived on the scene, both agreed you really were in need of towing and recovery assistance. A quick SOS to one of the area places that just does that might have been a call to Sleepy Hollow, 1225 N. Main St., Viroqua. Quite possibly you might have had longtime Westby resident and Sleepy Hollow employee, Mike Skrede, who showed up with his tow truck, as he was (and still is) on 24/7/365 call with Sleepy Hollow. He would have brought years of experience and expertise to your situation and it is then that you most certainly would have had a “thank God for this guy and his truck showing up so soon” moment. Sleepy Hollow Owner, Spanky Felton and Mike Skrede. Skrede started being that very help in the mid-l970s, going on tow calls and working for Walt Mahlum, using Walt’s own truck. Then Mike was hired by Westby’s Birger Eklov Garage and Service Station in Westby, where he stayed for about 30 years, adding to his skill set be it rescuing vehicles in dire and not-so-dire situations, to hauling big and especially long loads for people, as well as working in the Eklov Garage. Following the various ownerships of the Eklov business, Skrede stayed on, doing the towing and recovery for those following owners. Since 2000, Mike has been and continues to be Sleepy Hollow’s “go to” guy. In his “spare” time, he has faithfully volunteered as one of Westby-Christiana’s Fire Department crew, retiring in 2018 after many years of service with them. If you have purchased a piece of big, heavy equipment at a Tomah-area farm auction and you need it hauled, Skrede is your man. If you bought an antique windmill on line in and now need it brought home from Minnesota, get hold of Mike. If you just spent $60,000 on that red Mustang of your dreams and want to bring it back to your own garage, Mike can do that for you as well. He has actually done that and more for customers, be it Corvettes or junker cars, being most happy to get your item from point A to point B. Claiming he can haul almost anything anywhere when not running accident situations, Skrede was asked by the History Alive Project interviewers if he had ever faced a situation where he knew his truck couldn’t do the job in front of him. He slowly replied, “Noooooo, not really; what you do then is, well, you just get another truck. We can call on the guys at the LaFarge WI Truck Service to help with the really big challenges, like hauling semi trailers and their cabs (sometimes with full loads themselves) out of those especially messy situations.” Skrede was asked to cite his most harrowing experience to date while on the job; he sheepishly grinned and replied, “Well, it is probably the next call I am going to go on, to be honest. I did get a call in February of just this year, to head out to an accident on County B near Rising Sun; the temperature was a minus 50 degrees F. that time; it was tough to be out in that cold and try to hook things up correctly.” He drives Sleepy Hollow’s 2016 Peterbilt cab, hooked to a 21-foot roll back slide bed trailer rig when the situation warrants it; they also have a 2017 rig he can take. When asked what special skills one has to have to be good at his job, Mike said, “quick thinking, team work (especially when fire department and law enforcement personnel are also on accident scenes), as well as just learning on the job as each call is a different situation.” He has nothing but immense praise for the local fire and police professionals and those volunteers with whom he has and continues to work with over the years. For Skrede’s wife, Dawn, her husband’s on-call status has meant many a delayed, warmed up again meal, coming late to and or missing special events or celebrations, but she says that everyone just deals with it. “Spanky Felton, Sleepy Hollow owner,” Dawn added, “has treated us very well over the years; our two grown children, Matt and Jenna, also have learned to ‘roll with it’ as that is just what their dad does as part of his profession.” RESOURCE LINK
  10. A tow truck driver convicted of three felonies in the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident resulting in the death of a Brown County man and his fiancee last year was sentenced to 13 years in prison and two years of probation to be served with Community Corrections after his prison sentence. Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Kelly Benjamin sentenced Ruel Pedigo III, 50, of 1085 Jonesville Road, on Friday to four years in prison for felony reckless homicide resulting in death and nine years in prison for causing a death while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, to be served consecutively. He received two years in prison for causing serious injury while under the influence of a controlled substance, but that was suspended, to be served as probation with Bartholomew County Community Corrections when he is released from the Indiana Department of Corrections. Pedigo was convicted by a jury of being under the influence of methamphetamine and possibly marijuana on the night of Jan. 27, 2018 when a chain-reaction accident occurred on Jonathan Moore Pike. Pedigo’s tow truck smashed into the back of a Mazda 3 car driven by former Columbus resident Patrick N. Bowman, 35, of Brown County, who was killed, and causing serious injuries to his fiancee Sarah Fliehman. Bowman graduated from Columbus North High School in 2001. Six eastbound vehicles were stopped at a red light when the tow truck hit Bowman’s car from behind, leading to a chain-reaction accident on Jonathan Moore Pike near the light at Circle K and Starbucks. RESOURCE LINK
  11. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - An accident involving a train and a tow truck may change your morning commute. CMPD is on scene after an Amtrack train hit a tow truck as it was towing a vehicle on the tracks at McLean Road at Old Concord Road. Officials say no one was injured in the incident. The road is shutdown as crews work to clear the accident from the tracks. You’re asked to use WT Harris Boulevard, University City Boulevard or Back Creek Church Road as alternate routes. RESOURCE LINK with video CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A busy road in Charlotte was closed early Friday after an Amtrak train collided with a tow truck, WSOC reports. The collision happened before 4 a.m. at the intersection of Old Concord Road and McLean Road in the area of University City. Police told WSOC the train hit the truck as it was towing a car off the tracks. No one was hurt. It is still unclear how many people were on the train. McLean Road was closed, and officials have not said when they expect the area to reopen. RESOURCE LINK
  12. Something that is mandatory on every Tow Truck is a Fire Extinguisher. Yet the majority of Tow Trucks either do not have a Fire Extinguisher or it is a non working Fire Extinguisher. When was the last time your trucks were checked? Now, this was an assumption the Tow Truck in this story did not have a working Fire Extinguisher. SEVEN HILLS, Ohio -- Tow truck fire, Rockside Road: On June 22, police were dispatched to Rockside Road regarding a tow truck that had a tire on fire. An arriving officer located the vehicle, which by that time had its rear end fully engaged in flames. Soon the black Hyundai Santa Fe, which was being towed, was also on fire. The Cleveland driver said she was on the highway when she heard a noise. The driver eventually pulled over. By that time the tire area was smoking. The Seven Hills Fire Department successfully put out the fire. The owner of the tow truck company had to call another towing company to move the vehicles. RESOURCE LINK
  13. Road ranger's truck hit by motorist who failed to move over LAKELAND, Fla. (FOX 13) - Master Sgt. Mary Godino knows just how dangerous the job of a road ranger can be. "They're more vulnerable than the rest of us," Godino said. The Florida Highway Patrol Master Sergeant witnessed it first-hand Monday night, when a driver struck a road ranger truck along I-4. The road ranger had just returned to his vehicle and was typing up the event on his laptop. "We had one of our Road Ranger trucks on the side of the road, on mile marker 27, assisting a disabled vehicle," she said. "He was out changing a tire." He had his arrow boards out and had deployed his traffic cones when a motorist failed to move over and ran directly into the road ranger's truck, said Sgt. Godino. The speed limit in the area was 70 miles per hour, but FHP hadn't determined just how fast the vehicle was going when it slammed into the ranger's truck. The road ranger survived the impact, but the driver who struck him did not. 70 year-old Joseph Shoenbauer Jr., died. His passenger, 66 year-old Winefred Schoenbauer, was taken to Lakeland Regional in critical condition. FHP says they are still looking into what cause the vehicle to veer out of its lane. "At this time, we do not know why he failed to move over," she said. Florida is one of 43 states that requires drivers to change lanes or reduce their speed by 20 miles per hour if they're passing someone working on the side of the road. "We need room to work," Godino said. "So if you're traveling 60, 70, 80 miles an hour next to the lane we're working, we sometimes need more room than that." The Tampa area has a history of fatal crashes involving vehicles that didn't move over or slow down. In 2016, tow truck driver Danny Hand was hit and killed while helping someone on the side of Interstate 275 South, near Fowler Avenue. According to troopers, Hand's tow truck lights were flashing, but the driver who hit him said he didn't notice. In October of the same year, Troy McGuire was hit and killed by an accused drunk driver while helping law enforcement on the shoulder of I-75. Earlier that year, in February, driver Allison Huffman was arrested after allegedly hitting and killing Tampa tow truck driver Roger Perez Borroto, then ditching the car at a hotel and calling a cab to go to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. FHP says road rangers are trained to park a specific way in cast they do get hit. "They're trained to turn their wheels away from whatever side of the road they're on," Godino said. "So this way, if they do get struck by the rear, it'll go into the direction away from the vehicle in front of them." Because of that training, she says, the vehicle in front of the road ranger's truck had only minor damage. The driver was O.K. The ranger himself had minor bumps and bruises, but nothing serious. RESOURCE LINK with video
  14. A 38-year-old London man is facing four charges, including attempted fraud, after a woman’s vehicle was towed under alleged false pretences recently. On June 29, a woman was involved in a collision in the city’s northeast shortly after noon. The woman contacted a roadside assistance service to have her vehicle towed to the police accident reporting centre on Brydges Street. Shortly after she made the call, a tow truck driver arrived and when asked if he was sent by the service, the driver said he was. When the woman went to the accident reporting centre, she learned her vehicle had been taken from there to another location without her knowledge and that the truck that towed her vehicle was not sent by her roadside service provider. Police have since charged a 38-year-old London man with mischief under $5,000, attempted fraud, personation to gain advantage, and possession of property obtained by crime. The accused is set to appear in a London court at a late date. RESOURCE LINK
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