The Week's Features
United Coalition for Motor Club Safety changes name
Unit is dedicated to fallen police officer
Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union in violation of SCRA
New heavy-duty wrench features three fixed sockets
Carrier, light-duty clear crash and debris on Pike
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 07 - November 13, 2018
Towman Alexander Gaines (right), shown here with East Baton Rouge Superintendent Warren Drake, was honored in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for his recent heroic efforts in extinguishing a school bus fire filled with kids in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Image -

Towman Honored for Saving Kids

Towman Alexander Gaines was recognized recently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as being a hero.

Gaines helped save a bus full of kids back in September.

A vehicle crashed into the back of the bus, then caught fire. Gaines saw it happen and immediately ran to help, putting out the fire with an extinguisher and helping to get the kids off the bus.

On Nov. 1, Gaines was honored by the Sons of the American Revolution with their Heroism Award. "

Being able to help people, yeah. It's a good feeling. I'd do it again, man," said Gaines.

"I just want to say this is something we respect, we honor, and we need to showcase when it happens," said East Baton Rouge Superintendent Warren Drake.


Towman Leads Police to Suspect

A possibly drunk driver who may have fatally hit a bicyclist in Van Nuys, California, was in custody Nov. 1, thanks to a quick-thinking towman.

Police say the driver never stopped, but the sight of the heavily damaged red sedan made towman Alex Hernandez do a double-take.

"The windshield and the damage on the car," he said. "Even though it never came on the scanner that it said that somebody was a hit-and-run case, right away, when I saw the car, it clicked."

The red sedan had sustained major front-end damage and had a dented and shattered windshield.

Instincts made Hernandez follow the man for about a mile, to a parking structure where he blocked him in with his tow truck and called 911. The driver did jump out of the car and tell Hernandez to get out of the way.

"That's when I noticed he was intoxicated," Hernandez said.

Police took a man into custody at the second location and booked him on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and DUI. Police say the bicyclist who was killed was a 38-year-old man believed to be a resident near the crash site.


Coalition Goes Nationwide

The United Coalition for Motor Club Safety is now the Emergency Road Service Coalition Of America. The group changed its name to reflect new goals and a broader national commitment, a release by the organization stated.

The coalition said because of successful advocating efforts in California, it frequently received requests for help and guidance from towers throughout the country. Its board of directors restructured the organization's focus and the Emergency Road Service Coalition of America was formed to better reflect the growing diversity of its membership.

"While we'll never forget our roots as frustrated Californian motor club towers that fought together to better our industry," said President Craig Baker of Cupertino Towing, "we've learned some key lessons along the way that we believe can also help additional towing companies in other states improve their situations."

The coalition said it has played a critical role in California politics, notably helping defeat or improve several potentially devastating bills that it said would have been crushing to the towing industry. Further, the organization stated it was involved in lawsuits that have reshaped the power dynamics between motor clubs and their contracting towing companies for the better. They also said they have been dedicated to developing improved training opportunities for drivers, including entry level online training courses.

Going forward, the Coalition plans to offer these same services and benefits to its national membership. ERSCA plans to hire legal counsel, lobbyists, PR professionals, as well as work in closer alignment with the California Tow Truck Association to ensure towers' voices are heard and their rights protected.


BBB, Lawsuit Targets [b]Detroit Tow Company

The Better Business Bureau is warning Detroit, Michigan, about Breakthrough Towing Company after receiving 29 complaints from people at two businesses.

People are having their cars towed from parking lots at McDonald's and Midtown Liquor on Woodward Avenue.

A lawsuit has also been filed against the company calling its practices "predatory."

Detroit Police Lt. Michael Parish says they have little authority to stop this with state laws or Detroit ordinances.

"We've received a number of complaints that have ranged from Breakthrough having a relationship with the business owner, actually feeding the business owner money, in exchange for tows," Lt. Parish stated.

Towing companies also have to call the police to make sure the car they are towing is not reported stolen.

But Detroit Police have no authority to stop this.

"Right now, it's very hard. It's tricky. It's difficult. What would be best in the eyes of the police department would be for local or state lawmakers to provide an enforcement mechanism," Lt. Parish says.

There was no response to the matter from Breakthrough Towing at press time.


Man Guilty in Death [b]of Towman

Brian Wayne Weatherley, 32, of Halethorpe, Maryland, was recently found guilty of vehicular homicide, while DUI, of towman Thomas Flayhart in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

Flayhart was standing at the rear of his truck securing a vehicle when Weatherley failed to reduce his speed and struck the victim on May 24, 2017.

"We rarely consider the danger our tow truck drivers put themselves in when they respond to our roadside emergencies," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Wes Adams. "The victim was simply trying to do his job when Mr. Weatherley's reckless decision to drive under the influence cost him his life."

"I'm very pleased with how the State handled their case. They crossed their t's and dotted their i's," said Melanie Cullison, the victim's fiancée. "We got the verdict we were waiting for on all four counts, and justice for Tommy."

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14.


Tow Company Awarded [b]Gold Class Status

Town II Auto Body & Towing of Wantage, New Jersey, announced its achievement of Gold Class status for training that contributes to complete and safe repairs.

Only 10 percent of collision repair businesses currently meet the rigorous training requirements necessary to earn the Gold Class designation, according to I-CAR, a not-for-profit training organization that awarded the designation.

Gold Class shops are required to have every technician involved in collision repair take training that is specific to their roles. They must continue with ongoing training each year for the business to maintain its Gold Class recognition, including classes in new technology.

Town II Auto Body & Towing was established by Joseph Pastore in 1956 in Montclair and is run by his son Tom and his wife, Tammy.

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