When I was an everyday driver, it was easy to get into a rhythm with the work and create a routine that made it very difficult to mess up.  As a result, at one point I went more than 5 years without any tow damage or accidents.  When I moved into management, however, and stopped running calls every day, all day long, the mistakes started becoming more frequent.

One day I drove up to the office, and one of our trucks was parked in the middle of the street, running, overheads on, with an old beater from the impound lot on the back, and no one around.  I looked for the driver but couldn't find him.  One of the carrier drivers pulled up.  He was shuttling cars out to our auction facility, and the car on the back of the truck was the next one he was supposed to take.  I waved him over and told him I would put the car down and move the truck out of the way for him.

The truck with the old beater on it was an Eagle self-loader.  Having driven an Eagle for almost 20 years, I profess that I love Eagles.  They are versatile, quick, and as far as self-loaders go, I prefer the Eagle to any of the hydraulically-operated self-loaders.  In my opinion, they have a better "feel" than other self-loaders.  You can tell by the way the truck acts whether or not the wheellift is in place, which facilitates picking up a car and moving it without getting out of the truck.  This, of course, is good and bad.  They are great for shuffling cars around in an impound lot, which is what our driver was doing this day.

Unbeknownst to me, he had picked up this old beater in the impound lot, which was very flat, drove out onto the street, lowered the boom, and drove forward.  Although the car had an automatic transmission, and was in park, it took off rolling down the gradual incline of the street, toward the tow truck (better than the other way around). However, he didn't see it moving right away, and the steering wheel on the car was turned slightly, so it started rolling toward a parked car.  He tried to cut it off with the raised eagle claws, and he did, but unfortunately one of the eagle claws took out the door of the parked car.

He extracted the claw from the parked car, picked the old beater back up, turned around (for some reason), and went off to try to find the owner of the parked car.

Meanwhile, blissfully unaware of his incident, I lowered the boom of the Eagle again, and this time it was turned around, so the car took off away from me.  I noticed right away, but there wasn't much I could do but watch helplessly as it rolled into a different parked car—as it turned out, 2 cars away from the first one.

The carrier driver wisely stifled his laughter.

Damage to the first car: $2500.
Damage to the second car: $3000.
Auction sale price of the old beater: $75.00.

Try explaining that one to your boss.

Have a fantastic week.

Nick Kemper


12/10/2014 03:07:31 pm

Thanks for sharing.Good post

12/10/2014 03:09:38 pm

Thanks for sharing this information. Keep up the good work.


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