Driver of stolen tow truck leads cops on chase over Bay Bridge

A man was arrested on suspicion of stealing a tow truck and leading police on a chase across the Bay Bridge early Tuesday, after he was interrupted while trying to get his impounded car out from a San Leandro tow yard, officials said.

The suspect, Moses Miller, 24, of San Leandro, also crashed into a number of patrol cars before his arrest, said Officer Vu Williams, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

Miller drove the diesel flatbed tow truck through the fence of a San Leandro tow yard at about 3:20 a.m. after he was unable to snatch his own car, said Lt. Ron Clark of the San Leandro Police Department.

He said Miller was apparently going to use the tow truck to break through the fence to get to his car.

“An on-site employee was alerted to the presence of someone when he heard the diesel start up and went outside,” Clark said. “He tried to intervene and the suspect jumped back into the tow truck and fled in the tow truck without getting his car out.”

A suspect was arrested after allegedly stealing a tow truck in San Leandro and leading police on a car chase throughout the Bay Area Tuesday morning, officials said. Photo: CHP Golden Gate Division / Facebook / CHP Golden Gate Division / Facebook

San Leandro police began pursuing the stolen vehicle when they saw it heading north on Interstate 880.

Within 10 minutes, officers from the California Highway Patrol joined the pursuit, following the tow truck across multiple freeways and city streets, continuing onto Interstate 580 westbound, police said.

Miller stayed ahead of CHP cars and ended up on Interstate 80 westbound, blowing through the toll plaza and crossing the Bay Bridge, police said.

CHP officers continued their pursuit after they exited the freeway in San Francisco and deployed a spike strip, causing the tires of the tow truck to deflate.

But the flat tires didn’t stop the driver.

Miller drove onto the South Van Ness Avenue on-ramp toward Highway 101 southbound at 50 mph before suddenly stopping, officials said. He then reversed the truck, ramming it into a patrol car, causing moderate damage, before continuing south on the freeway, police said.

The driver stopped on the Sierra Point Parkway in Brisbane, jumped out of the stolen truck and ran across the northbound lanes of Highway 101 before hiding out in a parking lot, police said.

Highway 101 southbound was closed for about 20 minutes during the pursuit.

Miller was found quickly and apprehended, police said.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be “medically cleared,” Williams said.

Miller was booked into San Mateo county jail in Redwood City and was being held on $150,000 bail.

He was arrested on suspicion of four felonies, including stealing a vehicle, recklessly evading police, damaging a police officer’s vehicle and taking a vehicle without consent. He is also being charged with three misdemeanors, including obstructing and resisting a police officer, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license.

Miller is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

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Stolen tow truck leads police on chase up Route 17

The chase lasted about 43 minutes before the driver was stopped in Hillburn near the Suffern village limits, police said. A video showing a portion of the incident was posted on Facebook. The suspect was identified as Paul T. Gudanowski, 51, of Hackensack, East Rutherford Police Chief Larry Minda said in a release issued Monday afternoon.

Agencies in the pursuit included East Rutherford, Suffern (N.Y.) and Ramapo (N.Y.) police, and the New York State Police, Suffern police said in a Facebook post. The chase began in East Rutherford when police spotted the man driving a stolen flatbed near Route 120 close to MetLife Stadium, Summers said. It began at 8:17 a.m. and ended at 9 a.m., police said.

Officers responded to Paterson Plank Road, which is also known as Route 120, where they observed the stolen vehicle being driven in an erratic manner and spotted another tow truck, Minda said. He reported that prior to the arrival of the officers, the second truck attempted to stop the stolen vehicle, at which point a pedestrian narrowly avoided being struck by a truck.

When the driver fled, police from several New Jersey towns joined in a chase that went up Route 17 north into New York, where New York state troopers joined the pursuit. The truck entered I-87 northbound and left the highway at Exit 16 in Orange County by the Woodbury Common Outlet stores. It then made a U-turn, exiting the highway at Exit 15A with more than a dozen police cars surrounding the truck.

The chase went through Mahwah, where police were keeping tabs on it, said Police Chief James N. Batelli. “It went through Mahwah rather quickly,” he said. “We monitored it, but we didn’t pursue a chase. Mahwah police notified state police and Ramapo police, he said.

Allendale Police Chief George Scherb said that officers observed the tow truck going north on Route 17 from a vantage point on East Allendale Avenue.

The truck came to a stop on Route 59 in Hillburn, near the village limits of Suffern, after an East Rutherford patrol car accidentally hooked onto the flatbed’s rear bumper.

Gudanowski was charged in East Rutherford with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of stolen property, eluding and motor vehicle violations, Minda said. He is being held by New York state police on their charges awaiting extradition to New Jersey. Summers said he was charged with operating a stolen vehicle, assault on a police officer and numerous driving violations. ​

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The tow truck was invented in Chattanooga 100 years ago

The tow truck was invented in Chattanooga, The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum is here and Ooltewah is home to Miller Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment.

So, yeah, there will be a celebration in Chattanooga on Saturday, Sept. 10, to mark the tow truck’s 100th birthday.

Miller Industries will sponsor the festivities, which include a parade of tow trucks rolling through downtown that will stop around 7 p.m. Saturday at Ross’s Landing near the Tennessee River riverfront. The public is invited to Ross’s Landing for live music, free refreshments, food truck fare, games for kids — and a fireworks display once it gets dark.

Lots of people are expected for the once-in-a-century event.

“Since I’ve come to work here, I have been amazed at how many people are actually into tow trucks. It is mind-boggling,” said Kathy Brown, who worked at a bank downtown before she was hired in mid-August as co-assistant director at the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. “I did not realize tow trucks had such a following.”

The museum’s events will include a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10 that’s open to the public, to add names to the museum’s Wall of the Fallen, a memorial to tow truck operators who’ve lost their lives on the job. The museum also has a survivor’s fund that helps drivers’ families, Brown said.

TV shows about the towing and recovery industry are popular, including “Highway Thru Hell,” a reality TV show set in Canada, “Wrecked,” set in Chicago, and “Ice Road Truckers.” Jamie Davis, a real-life tow truck operator who’s the star of “Highway Thru Hell,” will take part in Saturday’s parade.

The 100th birthday celebration coincides with the Tennessee Tow Show, which runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

“There’ll probably be over 2,000 people this year, because it’s the 100th anniversary,” said Jimmy Collins, president of the Tennessee Tow Truck Association and owner of Casper’s Bodyshop and Wrecker in Greeneville, Tenn. “For the industry [the anniversary’s] a big milestone. For the city of Chattanooga, it’s a big milestone.”

Ernest Holmes in 1916 built the first tow truck in Chattanooga by attaching a rigging system to a 1913 Cadillac, marking the birth of the towing and recovery industry, according to Miller Industries. Holmes filed for a patent — the first of about a dozen — for his idea in 1917 and subsequently built the Ernest Holmes Co. here to make and market his tow truck.

The Holmes brand lives on as part of Miller Industries’ family of tow truck equipment manufacturers that also includes the brands Century, Chevron, Vulcan, Boniface and Jige.

“Miller Industries’ roots run deep in Chattanooga, and we are honored to share the centennial celebration of our Holmes brand with our friends and neighbors in the local communities,” Miller Industries’ President and Co-CEO Will Miller said in a statement.

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Tow truck driver sacrifices truck to stop wrong way driver before things turn ugly

A tow truck driver in Tennessee took his life in his own hands this week when he used his tow truck to stop a wrong way driver.

According to WVLT, Jennifer Myers was traveling along a stretch of Highway 321 in Blount County near Maryville, TN, when she spotted a dark colored SUV traveling the wrong way in the other lanes. She had no service to call 911, so she propped her iPhone on her steering wheel and started recording a video.

“In case something happened and somebody needed it as proof for anything,” she told WVLT. “I basically put the phone up on the steering wheel and kept behind them in case they cut back across in traffic to get back on the right side of the road and just watched what unfolded.”

As she recorded from the right lane, a heavy flatbed from Foothills Wrecker Service passed her in the left lane with his emergency lights on.

“From what I witnessed, it looked like he was trying to get her attention to stop,” said Myers. “It went from that moment of excitement of ‘oh good, they’re going to be able to get her to stop’ to ‘oh no she’s not stopping.”

After a few moments of trying to get the SUV driver’s attention, the tow truck driver tried one last crazy thing to stop the wrong way driver before she caused an accident. He crossed the median and came to a stop on 321, blocking the SUV’s path. The SUV slammed into the flatbed and the day was saved. The SUV driver was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital, where it was discovered that she was having a diabetic issue and had no idea where she was or what was happening.

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Tow truck crews prepare for icy weather

Lance Burda has been in the towing business for 20 years. He owns Burda’s Towing which has seven locations in the West Metro.

“There were three of us scheduled tomorrow that were planned, but I’m just sending the message out to the guys that if this freezing rain that they are talking, just trying to see who is available and who can come in,” Burda says.

According to AAA 2016 holiday travel numbers, a record number of travelers are expected on roadways nationwide during the holiday season.

“It can go from nothing to absolute chaos in a matter of moments when that weather moves in,” Burda says.

MnDOT also says it has plans to shift to its storm schedule, which is two 12 hour shifts, to keep roads salted and sanded if need be.

MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht says despite the holiday weekend, they will have drivers on call in the case more are needed on roadways statewide.

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Wexford County Tow Truck Drivers Help Travelers Over Holiday Weekend

Tow truck drivers stay busy around the clock when things get slippery out on the roads.

Some local counties saw accidents in the double-digits in one night.

“We pretty much covered everything this weekend,” says Jeremy Akin, owner of W&W Auto Parts in Roscommon.

Black ice and freezing rain don’t stop for Christmas.

Drivers found themselves in slick conditions and tow trucks answer the call.

“From just typical slide-offs into the ditch, we had some rollovers,” Akin says. “We’ve had a lot more accidents this year compared to years’ past.”

Akin says they saw around 10 accidents in a short time.

One accident brought them close to the action on I-75…

“We were on the side of the road, winching a car out of the ditch and a motorist was traveling and overreacted and ended up spinning out, going into the ditch,” Akin says.

Other counties saw their share of accidents, too.

Some remnants linger from last night’s conditions in Wexford County.

“I dealt with some winch-outs, where people had slid off the road, into the ditch,” says Bob Dull, tow truck driver for Peterson’s Towing in Cadillac. “I had one out on US-131 that went down into the big ditch south of the rest area.”

Tow truck drivers like Bob Dull say the factors causing these accidents were mostly the same…

“Most of the time that we go to a call involving a car in the ditch, it’s speed that has put them there,” Dull says. “People not paying attention, texting, talking on their phone.”

“Keep the cruise control off because it’s going to cause you to spin out,” Akin says.

…And when you see the yellow lights, move over.

“We’re out there trying to do a job and make it safe for everybody else,” Dull says. “Scooch over a little bit.”

Both companies say keeping your tires and windshield wipers in good shape is also key to safely traveling on slick roads.

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Odd Stolen Tow Truck Chase From San Leandro, Over Bay Bridge, to Brisbane

NBC Bay Area
A stolen tow truck gave chase to the CHP over the Bay Bridge. Dec. 20, 2016

An odd pursuit between stolen tow truck “wrecker” and the California Highway Patrol took a bizarre route early Tuesday morning, from San Leandro across the Bay Bridge down the Peninsula, ending with a foot chase and a suspect in custody.

Moses Miller, 24, of San Leandro was taken into custody, and was unavailable for immediate comment. As for a motive? San Leandro police said his car was impounded by another police agency on Monday and taken to San Leandro Tow.

San Leandro first began chasing a suspect, now identified as Miller, who had busted through a fence with a stolen tow truck from at 3:21 a.m., according to the CHP Golden Gate Division.

But the driver wouldn’t stop, the CHP said, and officers from Oakland and San Francisco, along with helicopters, began to follow him.

Odd Stolen Tow Truck Chase From San Leandro, Over Bay Bridge, to BrisbaneOdd Stolen Tow Truck Chase From San Leandro, Over Bay Bridge, to BrisbaneAn odd pursuit between a tow truck with a stolen vehicle warrant and the California Highway Patrol took the drivers from San Leandro across the Bay Bridge down the Peninsula on Tuesday morning, ending with a foot chase and a suspect in custody. Bob Redell reports. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016)

Miller allegedly drove from the East Bay to San Francisco over the Bay Bridge, which was caught on video, where officers started following at Treasure Island.

As the tow truck was traveling on the South Van Ness onramp to southbound US Highway 101, the suspect stopped the truck and reversed it into a CHP car, causing moderate damage, the agency said.

At that point, the driver hopped onto southbound US Highway 101 and headed down to Brisbane at Serra Point Parkway at 50 mph, the CHP said. He hopped out at a center median, the CHP said, and then ran across the highway into a nearby business parking lot.

The CHP arrested Milller at that point. San Leandro police said that Miller had snuck into the tow yard after hours and took a tow truck that had its keys in the ignition and crash through the fence. Police say he then wanted to leave in his own vehicle. But employees heard the crash, San Leandro police said, and scared him before he could get his own car back, prompting him to take off in the tow truck.

Source: Odd Stolen Tow Truck Chase From San Leandro, Over Bay Bridge, to Brisbane | NBC Bay Area

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