The Week's Features
Tow Expo Dallas' winning trucks are highlighted
Towman Scott Shover is being called "a guardian angel"
Redi-Letters' lighted signs easily mount on wreckers
Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Or, do government controls actually work?
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In his seminar, "Dispatching, GPS and Mapping Innovations," Todd Althouse of Beacon Software will take a look at how a dispatch office has changed in the last 20 years. He'll review modern tools available to dispatchers, such as GPS locations, PTO activity, computer-assisted dispatch for driver recommendations and much more to improve efficiencies. This Management Conference seminar will take place at the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland–register today!
Spirit Ride reaches Hagerstown, Maryland. D&D Truck Repair and Towing relays to Road Runner while Jerr-Dan salutes the Riders.
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 20 - September 26, 2017

'I hope they catch you'

Jack Deaton, an Indianapolis, Indiana, towman who had his leg amputated after being hit roadside two weeks ago, said he's thankful he's alive and had a message for the driver of the semi. "I hope they catch you. If they don't, the Lord will take care of you I promise you that." Deaton was hit on I-70. Indiana State Police said the driver of the semi kept going and didn't bother to stop. They are still looking for the semi. Source:
From the American Towman News Bureau
Ralph Watrous II. Image –

Procession Honors Towman Watrous

Pennsylvania towmen recently honored one of their own with a memorial procession Saturday. Ralph Watrous II was a tow truck driver for Mack's Tire Service in New Holland. He was getting ready to tow 46-year-old Robert Buckwalter Jr.'s broken-down car when both were then hit and killed by a passing motorist. William McNeill, the owner of Mack's Tire Service, said, "He's the glue to the company. He held everybody together. He's just an all-around great guy. We're gonna miss him dearly." B.J. Root, one of Watrous' sons, said, "I'm going to miss him a lot. First parent I lost. It's hard to explain." More than 100 tow trucks took part in the memorial procession. Source:

Standoff Ends After Five Hours

SIA Towing of Lanham, Maryland, attempted to repossess a vehicle in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby when an unidentified driver requested to get "some personal items" out of the vehicle. However, once in the vehicle, the driver refused to exit, setting off a five-hour standoff between the agent and the motorist. Deputies explained to the driver that she was receiving an hourly additional rate at approximately $100 per hour of the standoff. After approximately five hours, the driver exited the vehicle with her belongings. Source:
Procession Honors Towman Watrous
Towman was killed roadside two weeks ago
‘I hope they catch you’
Jack Deaton recovers in hospital with amputated leg after being hit
Standoff Ends After Five Hours
Repo attempt extended after towman allows driver to retrieve items

TIMS Training Required in Oklahoma

As of Sept. 1, Oklahoma towmen are required to take Traffic Incident Management System training.

"The way we've always done it doesn't work. That's what's getting us killed," says Bryan Albrecht, who owns Cavin Wrecker Service and serves as vice president of training for the Oklahoma Wreckers Association.

TIMS training combats the dangers of careless drivers by positioning vehicles and signs strategically to protect those on the scene. Requiring towers to take the class will not only help clear scenes faster, but also keep responders as safe as possible.

"We can't change their driving habits, so the only way we can protect ourselves is through training and trying to change the way we do things," said Albrecht.

Albrecht is well aware of the dangers of working on the roadside. Two years ago he faced his own close call with a drunk driver. "Fortunately for me I heard him coming and was able to get about three steps away before impact, so it was a pretty scary moment," he recalls.

Two sessions of free TIMS training will be offered at the American Towman Exposition in Baltimore, Maryland, Nov. 17 and Nov. 19.

Source:, AT Staff
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TV Coverage of Towman Spirit Ride • September 20 - September 26, 2017

Help Beyond the Havoc

I don't think in my lifetime I've ever seen three active hurricanes at one time affecting America.

We had Harvey wreak its havoc. Irma has knocked out power to much of Florida and has devastated the Virgin Islands. Katia is making the rounds in the Gulf Region and Jose is lurking in the Atlantic.

That's a lot of hurricane activity at once.

But before you think this is going in the direction of a "climate control" column, I just need to "shout out" the towing industry for its ability to help the country in time of need and crisis.

I continue to read how towing companies are helping with damaged car removal and other assistance activities going on in the south. How they've towed, over many miles, food, water and other provisions to aid their fellow man. You have to look high and low to find someone who is as willing to always be in assist mode as the towman.

Hopefully, all of this will be over soon enough and people can return to a normal life; but for now, thank God for the towman.

Winching a Car Down a Hill

Winchingdownhill b75d5By Don Archer

I was out of breath and running to help my little brother when my wife's hand slapped me in the face, waking me from my dream. The phone was ringing and she was telling me to GET UP!

I was on-call and it was the Highway Patrol needing a wrecker.

I jumped up, put on my uniform and boots, and headed out the door on a cold December night.

When I arrived, the Trooper pointed me in the direction of the crumpled Ford Focus. It was up an embankment about 30 feet, lodged between some trees.

My job that night was to winch a car—down a hill. Unless the plan was to just cut her loose and let her roll, it wasn't going to be easy. I first needed to dislodge it from the trees; then, without losing control, bring it down the hill and land it safely on the shoulder. The trick was keeping it from running me over or rolling out into traffic.

As I surveyed the casualty, I stepped back for a minute just out of sight of the patrolman and scratched my head ... I couldn't have him thinking I was stumped. As I stood there scheming for a solution, I was reminded of the dream I was having only moments earlier of a somewhat similar dilemma I'd been up against years ago.

I was 10 and my little brother Troy was in trouble with the neighborhood boys. He'd retreated to as high a spot as he could get up an old oak tree. I ran to the sound of his yelling and found Kevin, Marty and Darrel gathering wood and placing it at the base of the tree. Their plan was to smoke him out.

Being a year older than the oldest of the boys, my first inclination was to run up yelling and threatening to "Kill them all," but since Marty had his BB rifle I decided against it.

I suppose I could have just let them do what they were gonna do; but I was responsible for my little brother. Since I'd already seen and heard the commotion, I had a stake in whatever happened next.

I assessed my options. I could try and take the BB gun from Marty and scare them all away but where would that leave us tomorrow? I looked for another solution.

I tried reasoning with the kids; that didn't work. I tried bargaining, "We'll rebuild your club house." But each solution offered was just dismissed with a wave of their hands.

And just when they were convinced I was out of options, I lunged at Marty and knocked the BB gun out of his hands.

All eyes on me, the gun fell at our feet. I kicked it and jumped on it. Marty jumped on me and we scrambled for control. Right when I was about to wrench his prized Red Rider free, twisting it from his grimy little hands, they made a move I didn't expect.

One would pull on my arm while the other would yank on the gun. When nothing seemed to work, Kevin stood up, reared his foot back like he was going for a homerun in kickball and kicked me in the face.

That's the bad news.

The good news is all that blood and hollering scared the living daylights out of 'em, and they ran off. Troy didn't get smoked out and we didn't have to fight again the next day. Of course I had a bloody nose and a sore upper lip for a couple of days but sometimes going backwards works.

Back to the present. I noticed a sturdy oak tree almost 20 feet up from the wrecked Focus.

Could this be the solution I was looking for?

I walked it out, did a little math, added in a splash of geometry and decided it'd work. All that was left was the implementation. I snatch-blocked off the tree and used two winch lines, one pulling against the other. I first pulled the car backwards toward the tree and maneuvered it so that I had the control to not only dislodge the car, but also swing it free and slowly lower it to the shoulder, avoiding additional problems.

I thought I'd been stymied, but everything worked as planned and I walked away victoriously and gained a little something from the whole ordeal: a new perspective.

I couldn't immediately see the solution when I arrived. But the reason wasn't because it was too dark, or too cold or I was too tired. It was because I was stuck—I didn't want to see the bigger picture. I wanted to recover a vehicle that was wrecked down an embankment not up one.

Just like that day and this casualty, sometimes the best solution to a problem is something you can't plan for. You get lucky, and it simply appears.

Don G. Archer and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, MO. Don is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Want to learn more email him direct at
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Chesapeake Automotive Equipment

ChesapeakeAutoEquipment 96619Chesapeake Automotive Equipment has been providing automotive repair equipment for 41 years, including collision repair, auto repair, spot welding, painting and more. Servicing the Chesapeake Beach, Baltimore and Washington area, they sell and service equipment for car dealerships, independent garages and body shops. Come see all that Chesapeake Automotive Equipment has to offer at the American Towman Exposition at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore Maryland, Nov. 17-19.
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