The Week's Features
RBC Towing and Recovery gets cabin to new home
Wenzel Towing's purple and yellow "Agitator" makes statement
Texas man accused of forcing repo release arrested
Can hold down loads up to a 600-ton power transformer
A tow truck towing a semi slides off of an icy cliff
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A powerful two-day Repo Conference will focus on education, procedures, safety, legal and the importance of certification in the repossession industry. Moderated by American Towman Repo Editor Mark Lacek, this special conference will include topics and presentations on the state of the repossession industry, automobile repossession law, skip tracing, certification and compliance, commercial client expectations, license plate recognition technology and so much more. Sponsored by Dynamic International, this Conference will take place during Tow Expo at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas Aug. 4-6.
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 22 - June 28, 2016
Tower Allegedly Spits on Customer
Jameson Fernandez said when a tower realized he was transgender, he was refused service and spit on. Fernandez, who changed his name from Jocelyn six months ago, said he called for a tow after his car broke down in Worcester, Mass., but his AAA card still held the name Jocelyn. When the tower realized he was transgender, Fernandez said the driver refused to tow the car, made some discriminatory comments and spit in his face. The tow company owner said he was "sickened" by what happened and has fired the driver.
From the American Towman News Bureau
Video Captures Theft at Tow Company


Police and the owner of a Provo, Utah, towing company were hoping to identify two men caught on surveillance video stealing three engine cylinder heads. Universal Towing & Recovery owner Roger Groom said the theft of the cylinder
heads, which weigh between 60 lbs. and 100 lbs. apiece, took place just before 9 a.m. June 20. The video shows the two men pulling up in what appears to be a silver Ford pickup truck, getting out and casually walking over to pick up the cylinder heads, placing them in the back of the truck and driving away. "I had to sit back and watch it a couple of times, thinking, 'Are they really that brave?' " Groom said. The cylinder heads had a combined estimated value of about $4,500. Anybody with information is asked to call Provo police at 801-852-6210.
New Tow Law Passes
The Tampa (Fla.) City Council gave final approval to a new ordinance that would require any bar or restaurant serving alcohol to post signs alerting customers that their vehicles cannot be towed before noon the next day. The measure aims to encourage anyone who may have had too much to drink to find alternative ways home. "This is a really good ordinance," said council vice-chair Harry Cohen. "I think it is something that will help us combat DUIs." The ordinance passed unanimously, 5-0, with two council members absent.
Video Captures Theft at Tow Company
Two suspects sought for cylinder heads theft
Tower Allegedly Spits on Customer
Transgender customer assaulted in Mass.
New Tow Law Passes
No tows before noon the next day at drinking establishment lots

'Towing Expert' Arrested

An Austin, Texas, man who bills himself as a "towing compliance expert" is currently in the Travis County Jail accused of being involved in several rock throwing cases along Interstate 35.

Patrick Eugene Johnson, 59, was booked into the jail around 4 a.m. Thursday and charged with attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond is set at $250,000.

Johnson is the founder of Texas Towing Compliance, a watchdog organization focused on towing and booting incidents, according to its website.

According to Johnson's LinkedIn page, he worked in the towing business for 40 years, quitting in 2004 because of poor health. In 2006, he said, he started Texas Towing Compliance, an organization that purports to work as a sort of watchdog over the towing industry.

James Meyrat, a San Antonio lawyer who is listed on the Texas Towing Compliance website as an attorney to call to help with towing issues, said Johnson first contacted him several months ago. He said Johnson told him he used to work at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation "many years ago" as a compliance officer, where Johnson claimed he obtained his expertise.

However, a spokeswoman, Susan Stanford, said that Johnson has never worked for the agency. She said some people have mistakenly thought he did because the name of his organization sounds like it might be a compliance division of the department.

Shawna Kreuzer, owner of K&K Towing, said Johnson's attacks of her company had become so strident in recent months that she felt physically threatened. She said he posted her home phone number online and tagged her children's elementary school.

According to an arrest affidavit, a University of Texas at Austin police officer was driving northbound on I-35 approaching East 51st Street around 2:34 a.m. on May 14, 2016 when he saw an "object projected from the southbound traffic lanes." The officer said while the object didn't hit his patrol car, he did run over it. The officer did activate his dash camera and was able to capture video of a suspect vehicle traveling "by itself and was the only candidate source for the rock."

While the incident happened on May 14, the UTPD officer didn't immediately report it to his supervisor because the patrol car didn't sustain any damage. Once the chief at UTPD sent out an email to his staff on June 10, 2016, about the rock throwing cases, the officer then brought the video to his attention.

In 2013, Johnson was charged in Austin with sexually assaulting a boy over two years, from when the boy was 13 until he reported it when he was 15, according to an Austin police arrest affidavit.

Johnson was for years something of a fixture at Austin City Council meetings, where he would speak during the public comment period about tow truck companies.

"He got kind of obsessive about it," said Paul Robbins, a citizen activist who is also a regular at Council meetings. "I'm pretty alarmed" that a man who has been a figure around City Hall for so long "has admitted to such a heinous crime."

Since June 2014, there have been nearly 100 reported cases of rock throwing along I-35. In a news conference earlier this month—after a new spree of rock throwing cases surfaced—Austin Chief of Police Art Acevedo said, "I believe this is a sick individual who enjoys hearing their exploits on television. As far as I'm concerned they can rot in prison, they will be caught."

In an effort to catch the person or persons responsible, the Austin Police Department recently moved all the rock cases over to the Organized Crime Division. Acevedo said the division is capable of handling complex and multi-layered investigation and will bring a fresh set of eyes to the case.

Johnson has confessed to at least two cases, but Acevedo said they believe investigators will be able to connect him to more cases.

"Mr. Johnson's likely going to spend the rest of his life in prison once we're done with him," Acevedo said.


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By Don Lomax
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Another presidential election year is upon us. How do you see your views?

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

In The Spirit of Safety

As the towing industry moves forward in 2016, one subject that is being repeated this year like a mantra is safety.

American Towman's upcoming Tow Expo Dallas/Ft. Worth August 4-6 will address the subject of safety through the The National Traffic Incident Management's (TIM) Responder training that will be offered at the show. Additional safety seminars and a Survival Conference will also be presented at November's American Towman Exposition; be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming announcements.

On a grander scale, the Spirit Ride (see, starting on the West Coast in 2017, will draw media attention to Move-Over laws and the needless sacrifices towmen and other first responders make in serving the motoring public and transportation industry.

It can't be said enough: Be safe out there working roadside. With tower deaths averaging more than one per week, it's treacherous. Hopefully, opportunities that are being offered for safety awareness will be embraced by the industry as a whole so that fatality rate can be finally reduced.
--Charles Duke
ATTV Oz Reports
June 22 - June 28, 2016
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales: William Burwell
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Don Archer
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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