The Week's Features
Agency finds using four tie-downs for light vehicles sufficient
Johnson's Heavy Towing creates a novel idea for unit
Agent's work helps stop Georgia crime spree
Trailer is 54' when open, 32' 6" when retracted
Truck goes over an embankment and is recovered in Texas
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMay 15 - May 22, 2017

Fired Towman Honored as Hero

The Clark County (Nev.) Fire Department soon will honor a tower with a citizen hero award for an act of heroism that also got him fired. In March, Anthony Garcia used his truck to block a car he feared would barrel into traffic on the Las Vegas Strip. The driver suffered a medical episode and was slamming against the sidewall. Garcia sideswiped his truck against the car, stopping it. Firefighter Travis Haldeman said Garcia may have saved lots of people from danger. Garcia's former employer, Quality Towing, had no comment. Source:
From the American Towman News Bureau
A news chopper’s view of the fatal accident scene that took a towman’s life. Image -

Alleged DUI Driver Kills Towman

A 48-year-old Baltimore, Md., man died after he was struck by a car in Linthicum Wednesday afternoon. Police said Thomas Anthony Flayhart, a tower for Generations Auto Safetow, was standing behind his truck as he was preparing to tow a disabled vehicle when a car driven by Brian Wayne Weatherley, 31, hit him and the truck from behind. Flayhart was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he ultimately died of his injuries, police said. Weatherley was taken to Harbor Hospital to be treated for minor injuries, police said. Investigators said Weatherley was believed to be inebriated at the time of the crash and failed to slow down to avoid the crash. An investigation is ongoing and charges against Weatherley are pending. Source:

Civilian Saves Trapped Tower

A Good Samaritan in Yonkers, N.Y., is being commended after jumping into action to help a tower who was trapped when his tow truck rolled backward onto the lower part of his leg. People heard towman Leonardo Mello screaming for help about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Numerous residents rushed out and called 911. Luis Perez says no one knew how to drive stick shift to try and move the truck, but he jumped in and gave it a shot. Mello is thankful for all the help, and will be on crutches a few weeks. Source:
Fired Towman Honored as Hero
Tower used his truck to snare a runaway car
Alleged DUI Driver Kills Towman
Tower was struck on city streets loading a vehicle
Civilian Saves Trapped Tower
Jumped in to move truck off trapped operator

Trainer David Lambert Passes

The towing industry is saddened by the passing of North American Towing Academy president David Lambert. A longtime veteran of towing, Lambert died of a heart attack May 16. He was 68.

David was a Vietnam veteran, serving his country for 6-1/2 years as an Air Traffic Controller in the United States Air Force and another 6 years as a controller with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lambert began towing in 1981. In 1986, he began a career as a road service technician in Florida and moved on to AAA national's road service department.

Lambert assisted in writing or editing several other tow operator training and certification programs including the University of Georgia's IITR Light-Duty and the Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida's Light/Medium-duty. He was the lead-instructor for PWOF's L/M program for 11 years.

Lambert was a regular seminar presenter at the American Towman Exposition and served as field editor for American Towman Magazine for four years. A small family ceremony is planned.

Source: AT staff.
Towing Tragedies continue to Happen
American Towman TV • Emily Oz Reports • May 15 - May 22, 2017

New Threat to Towers

Towmen are being alerted to yet another concern. Recently in Ohio, a police officer overdosed on the job (see News Page article) after coming into direct skin contact with a few grains of the drug Fentanyl—a very scary situation.

Tow operators who are often called in to haul vehicles that will eventually be used in police investigations are exposed to this same possibility.

It is of the utmost importance that towmen stay vigilant while on the job, especially in situations where drug use or transport may be involved.

According to a recent release by the Statewide Towing Association in Massachusetts:

"Carfentanil and/or Fentanyl can be used as a cutting agent in heroin or it can be pressed into a pill that looks like an ordinary aspirin or Vicodin pill. So the drug you encounter today can have Fentanyl in it and you would never know it."

It is very important that towmen use latex gloves and not touch or attempt to move any pill or powder if you see it. Both drugs can kill you if they touch your skin or are inhaled.

The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a bulletin on Sept. 22, 2016, about the dangers of contact with these drugs. Go to to find out more.
--Charles Duke

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
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
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Tow Business Editor: Don Archer
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By Don Lomax
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