The Week's Features
Towman hit on I-41 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, Jan. 11.
Homemade wrecker promotes pride of ownership
Dual operating box, other features standout on new carrier
Author of book on towman highway memorials up for Viola Award
Tractor-trailer with an 80,000-lbs. concrete beam rolled-over
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Towman Jesse Hettmann was struck and killed on I-41 in Wisconsin on Jan. 11. He worked for Glenn’s Towing in Green Bay and leaves behind a wife and two children. Image – Glenn’s Towing Facebook page.

Towman Hettmann Struck and Killed in Wisconsin

A person hit and killed towman Jesse "Bil" Hettmann on I-41 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, Jan. 11.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office said Hettmann was helping to remove a stalled vehicle when he was killed. He worked for Glenn's Towing of Green Bay.

Officials said Robert Pachniak of Appleton was the person who struck Hettmann.

Glenn's Towing president Darrell Henninger said that Jesse always wanted to learn more and quickly went from employee to co-worker to friend.

"Always a guy willing to do the job," Henninger said. "We would make lunch plans and a call would come in, and he'd be the first one to skip lunch and go take care of the call."

An event titled "Light'em up for Jesse (Honor Run)" took place Jan. 14. The Honor Run included lit semitrailers, quads, concrete mixers and heavy-duty wreckers among others.

Hettmann leaves behind a wife, two young kids, and countless friends and family. A GoFundMe page has been set up for his family.


Two Companies Awarded City Contracts

The Portage (Indiana) Board of Works approved contracts with two towing companies to provide services to the city Jan. 8. The vote approving Midnight Blue and Precision Towing allows the towing companies to charge up to $60 for services such as battery jumps, changing tires or lockouts, and both will have the same rates for tows.

The companies can charge $175 for light-duty tows, $235 for medium-duty tows and $300 an hour for heavy-duty tows.

The new ordinance also laid out storage fees of $30 a day during business hours, from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for outside storage, and they can charge $40 daily for inside storage. Those rates may rise for heavier vehicles.


Sensibar is Finalist for Award

Author Jesse Sensibar is a Flagstaff, Arizona, Viola Awards finalist in storytelling for his book, "Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway," a poignant look at highway death memorials he would encounter as a towman.

"They weren't just these weird distractions on the road. I mean to some people they're just a distraction, and to other people, they're kind of folk art," Sensibar said in an October interview with a local newspaper. "But to me, they really came to have kind of a profound meaning."

The Viola Awards celebrates excellence in the arts and sciences in Flagstaff. Thirty-eight finalists were chosen by a panel of former winners from a pool of nominations made by community members. The finalists have made positive contributions to their fields and encompass an essential aspect of Flagstaff's culture, according to a report.


No Contest Plea in Towman’s Death

Sybil Warrick pleaded no contest to the charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of towman Scott Bowles, who was killed roadside May 11, 2017. Bowles was killed while loading a disabled vehicle onto the back of his tow truck off Interstate 14 in Harker Heights, Texas.

Stephanie Bowles, whose husband Scott was killed on May 11, 2017, while loading a disabled vehicle onto the back of his tow truck off Interstate 14 in Harker Heights, said the plea was "one step closer" to a resolution in the case.

"She pled no contest and said in court if she could take back what happened, she would — that she was truly sorry." Bowles said.
Bowles has poured her efforts into spreading awareness of the Move Over or Slow Down law and urging stricter enforcement and punishment for those who break the law.

"Now, I can focus on future awareness, stricter penalties for those who break that law and the changes to the Slow Down or Move Over law. I can focus my efforts with congressmen and the people to make the changes that need to be made," she said.

Bowles said she doesn't hate Warrick, she said. Change has to come through concern and care, she added.

Warrick, 56, was charged with criminally negligent homicide, a state jail felony, in connection with Bowles' death Bowles. She was charged She could be sentenced Feb. 19 to probation or state jail term for up to two years, but it could be as little as 180 days, according to the Texas Penal Code.

Warrick's sentencing was set for 9 a.m. on Feb. 19.


Vigil Held for Tripp by [b]Family, Friends

The family and friends of Thomas Tripp are still coming to terms with his death one year later. Tripp was a towman for Mike's Wrecker in Saginaw, Michigan, and he was hit and killed by a drunk driver while he was attending to a vehicle on Dixie Highway in Bridgeport on Jan. 10, 2018.

"It's been really hard. I mean I'm still in counseling over it," said Peter Tripp, brother.

"It was a very, very difficult year," said Bill Giorgis, president of Mike's Wrecker.

"Tommy was a great guy," Giorgis added. "He was a guy I could ask to do any job and he might grumble a little bit, but he would get up and do it. But the other thing, he had a heart of gold."
The spot is marked with a cross and adorned with some of his favorite things and it is where his loved ones paid tribute to the fallen towman.

The woman who hit Thomas is currently serving up to 15 years behind bars.


City Council Raises Rates for Towing

The Aurora (Illinois) City Council has increased rates towmen can charge on city business. Companies can now charge $140 for tows made during 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, up from $125.

For tows made outside regular business hours, or on weekends or holidays, companies can charge $150, up from $140. Also, the rate for each day of storage changed to $45 a day for outside storage, and $50 a day for inside storage.

Lockouts, battery jumps, refueling or tire change is now $100.
Aldermen also increased the amount a tow company pays to be on the city's list from $1,500 a year to $2,000.

The city keeps a list of 12 companies, and rotates it with each request for service. Sgt. Dan Woods of the Aurora Police Department pointed out that the city actually keeps three lists, because not all tow requests are created equal.

The lists are for: off-street, non-accident tows; accident tows; and city vehicles, such as a squad car, that need to be towed. Each list is rotated independently, so that each company does not get called out for the same kind of tow each time.

"The reason this is done is to spread out the kinds of tows," Woods said. "It's the same 12 companies, each list just rotates differently."

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