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The cab caught fire when the truck crashed, and driver Brandon Joseph Biagas, 39, of Pflugerville, died inside the cab, according to police.
The massive fire damaged the Interstate 10 overpass above.
It was undetermined why the truck went out of control, but Biagas could have fallen asleep, Ling said.
A witness told police the truck had been drifting between lanes for several miles. The witness said there were no other vehicles near the truck when it drifted off the roadway and hit the guardrail and column.
The back of the delivery truck was empty.
“Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are extended to the family and friends of the driver involved in today's accident,” David Westrick, a spokesman for FedEx, said in a statement. “We are cooperating fully with local authorities investigating the incident.”
The westbound lanes of Loop 410 under Interstate 10 were closed until just before noon.
A former comptroller for a Missouri trucking company pleaded guilty last week to stealing more than $4.9 million from his employer.
David VanWinkle of Frontier Leasing based in Joplin, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., to wire fraud, money laundering, and failure to pay taxes between June 2008 and December 2013, which he spent on personal expenses and gambling.
Frontier Leasing operates around 100 trucks in the dry van and flatbed sectors along with brokerate services, according to its website.
Based on a report from a financial institution, federal agents began investigating unusual deposits VanWinkle made into his business accounts for two businesses, VanWinkle Accounting and VanWinkle Farms, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.
VanWinkle, acting as the comptroller for FLI, received payments from FLI’s customers in the form of checks. VanWinkle deposited some of those checks into FLI’s legitimate business accounts, but deposited other checks into another checking account under the name of FLI that VanWinkle had opened at another bank. VanWinkle was the sole person on this secret account. No one else was aware that FLI had the account and VanWinkle was not authorized to open an account or deposit any of FLI’s customer payment checks into the account.
VanWinkle admitted that he withdrew money from the secret bank account to deposit into his business accounts. The embezzled money was then spent on VanWinkle’s personal and gambling expenses.
According to the indictment, VanWinkle failed to report the embezzled funds from FLI on his personal income tax returns he filed with the IRS for the years 2008 through 2010. VanWinkle did not file income tax returns for the years 2011 and 2012 and did not report the embezzled funds during these years, either.
In addition, VanWinkle was responsible for collecting payroll taxes for FLI and paying those payroll taxes to the IRS. VanWinkle withheld those taxes but failed to turn them over to the IRS. VanWinkle admitted that he collected, but failed to pay over, a total of $435,896 in federal tax, Social Security and income taxes withheld from FLI employees’ paychecks.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, VanWinkle must forfeit to the government more than $4.9 million, a 2013 Holland tractor, a 2007 Hummer H3, a 2012 John Deere no-till seed drill, and $28,086 that was seized from various bank accounts.
Under federal statutes, VanWinkle is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $750,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
DENVER — Truckers who illegally use a mountain pass near Aspen would see higher fines under a bill that awaits the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The Senate voted 22-12 Tuesday to quadruple maximum trucking fines on Independence Pass, from $500 to $2,000. The House has already approved the bill.
Sponsors say the measure is needed to reduce the number of large trucks illegally crossing the pass to save time.
Independence Pass, which typically is open from Memorial Day through mid-November, is a scenic stretch of Highway 82 that connects Twin Lakes to Aspen. Oversized and overweight vehicles are prohibited from using the pass, as are all vehicles longer than 35 feet, regardless of weight or size.
OOIDA recently announced honorees in the Association’s Safe Driving Award program. The following drivers have been recognized by the Association for truck driving excellence:
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
An unfounded and unjustified agenda of the largest fleets and federal regulators is being met head on by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
In the coming months, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plan to move on a pair of regulations that not only will be very unpopular with small-business motor carriers and truck drivers alike, but also will do nothing to improve highway safety, according to OOIDA.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
Police are investigating a reported armed robbery in Mentor-on-the-Lake early in the morning on Feb. 24.
At about 4 a.m., Mentor-on-the-Lake police received a call from a truck driver who said he was just robbed at gunpoint. The man was making a delivery to Marco’s Pizza at 5981 Andrews Road, said Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Chief John Gielink.
The victim reported that while he was finishing his delivery, a white male came up behind him and told him to “empty his pockets.” After the victim followed the instructions, the suspect ordered him into the rear of the semi-trailer and locked him inside, Gielink said.
The driver was able to escape from the trailer and then called police. He was not harmed, the chief said.
The suspect was described as a white male wearing blue jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt with a tribal design. The victim did not see if the suspect fled on foot or in a vehicle, Gielink said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective David Strauss at 440-257-7234.
Jack Phillips said he was lucky to be alive after a steel beam strapped to his tractor-trailer suddenly broke free and smashed through the cab on an Oregon road.
Jack Phillips told a local news station that he ducked when he heard a load of steel on his semitrailer suddenly shift after he hit the brakes on an Oregon road.
A tractor-trailer driver was lucky to be alive after a steel beam strapped to his rig suddenly broke free and smashed through his cab while on an Oregon road.
Jack Phillips said he was driving his 18-wheeler down Southwest Nyberg Road in Tulatin when a dump truck cut him off near Interstate 5 about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.
But when Phillips slammed the brakes, a load of rain-slicked steel beams on his trailer shifted forward.
“At that point, it was too late and I just ducked my head down,” Phillips told KPTV. “Next thing I know, I have steel going by my head out the front windshield of the truck.
Phillips escaped without any injuries. But the wild wreck caused headaches for drivers stuck in traffic as workers used a crane to help clear the scene.
The driver said he was still shaken by the incident, but planned to go back to work the next day.
One of the massive steel beams on Jack Phillips' rig smashed through the back of the cab and through the front windshield.
“I’m fine, other than my nerves,” he told the news station.
Phillips joked that friends have been telling him to buy a lottery ticket.
“Somebody was looking over me today,” he said. “My lucky day.”
Several trucking companies and trucking trade groups have joined a band of other business and consumer organizations to form an anti-tolling group who says its mission is to keep existing interstates toll-free.
The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates includes trucking industry members FedEx, UPS, Old Dominion, the American Trucking Associations, all 50 state trucking associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, Quality Transport, H&J Trucking, NATSO and others.
ATFI, a lobbying group, says it wants to show both the public and members of government the effects implementing tolls on interstates would have on business and the economy, as well as consumers.
The group formed in response to three states implementing pilot programs to allow tolls on existing interstate lanes, even though federal law prohibits tolling on existing Interstates. Moreover, ATFI says, “the tolling industry is pressuring lawmakers” to change the law and allow tolling on existing lanes.
Also, as the next highway bill looms and Congress searches for a solution to preventing the Highway Trust Fund going broke, ATFI says it hopes to show tolls as “unreliable, expensive and inefficient” as a mechanism for generating infrastructure funding.
Mega-carrier Old Dominion rep Bill Cranfill said while his company supports better highway funding, tolls aren’t the route to take. Tolls are an inefficient method of funding, would increase the cost of moving goods, and would decrease efficiency by pushing interstate traffic onto less safe and slower local roads,” he said. “[The] concept of unrestricted movement is a pillar of the modern economy.”
Jay Perron, VP of government affairs and public policy for ATFI member International Franchise Association, says “unrestricted commerce…revolutionized” American business, and tolling the existing system would undo those economic gains, Perron says.
“[The Interstate system] is vital to the U.S. supply chain and has revolutionized the way America does business,” says Jay Perron, VP of government affairs and public policy for the International Franchise Association, and an ATFI member. “Tolling existing Interstates would reverse this progress, raising costs for travelers, businesses and consumers and harming the many businesses and communities located along interstate routes subject to new tolls.”
ATFI has put together the video below about tolls and the impacts the group says they’ll have on the U.S. transportation system.
The head of one of the world’s biggest transport and logistics companies has warned a tide of protectionism is stifling global economic growth and castigated his own country for being part of it.
Fred Smith, the Chairman, President, CEO and founder of top-three global transport operator FedEx called for greater efforts to battle restrictions on trade, to ensure trade agreements are enforced and that Customs regulations are simplified, US publication Journal of Commerce (JOC) reports from its Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference.
His call comes one month after the US research organisation, the Brookings Institution, highlighted that trade blockages extended to online trade, which hindered the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the engine room of most nation’s economic and employment growth, to participate in international trade.
The study found significant trade reforms are needed to help benefit from the Internets a platform for e-commerce and international trade.
For Smith, swift action against the global protectionist trend is crucial.
"The problem is not cyclical, it’s systemic, and it’s spreading," Smith was quoted as saying in a keynote speech.
"We need to redouble our efforts to move governments toward trade liberalisation.
"Protectionism squelches competition and lowers economic growth."
He notes that according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development figures, each dollar of increased protection leads to a drop of 66 US cents in gross domestic product (GDP), and a dollar increase in tariff revenues can result in a US$2.16 drop in world exports and a 73-cent decline in world income.
Although not singling out Australia, Smith stated that the top 20 economies had increased trade-hampering measures by 23 per cent since 2009.
Smith blamed US lack of trade leadership and tardiness on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on its politicians, saying both initiatives could increase world GDP by 5 per cent on simplified trade regulations.
A bill halfway through the Georgia statehouse would stiffen the punishment for truck, rail or container cargo thieves.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has filed a lawsuit against the owner and operator of a small Texas truck stop, urging them to clean up alleged criminal behavior at the site or face possible shutdown.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
A tanker truck leaking maple syrup made for a sticky commute in Oklahoma City Wednesday morning.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the truck was hauling 48,000 gallons of syrup to a Braum's restaurant when it began leaking.
The syrup coated several miles of I-44 between Northwest 36th Street and Southwest 89th Street before the leak was discovered.
Crews closed the right, westbound lane and brought in sand to clean up the mess. That job was expected to last most of the morning.
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