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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Bizarre Case of the Chameleon Carrier
Story thanks to and Deborah Lockridge. Links provided:
May, 2015  A case of mistaken identity and murder charges in the wake of one defendant cooperating with federal investigators. Sounds like something from an FBI organized crime case – but this involved an out of service order by the DOT.
The case goes back to 2008, after a fatal crash in Alabama that resulted in the deaths of seven state prison guards. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed Devasko Dewayne Lewis of Cordele, doing business as Lewis Trucking Company/DDL Transport/DL Transport, under an Imminent Hazard Order to cease all operations due to serious violations discovered during a compliance review following the crash.
In 2011, Lewis and his company DDL Transport, LLC, were indicted by a federal grand jury after he lied on his application for motor carrier authority, trying to start a new "chameleon company" in what amounted to violation of that out-of-service order. He eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to several months in prison, 12 months supervised release, and a $3,000 fine.
However, around the time he pleaded guilty and before his sentencing, Lewis obtained new DOT numbers for more chameleon carriers, Eagle Transport and Eagle Trans, using the identity of friends, including Corey Daniels, who in 2014 was sentenced to 12 months of probation for his part in the scheme. After reporting to Federal prison in November 2012, Lewis continued operating Eagle Trans with the assistance of Daniels and others.
Apparently Daniels' conviction didn't stop Lewis. In January of this year, his half brother, Lacey Lewis, pleaded guilty for his part in contining to run the chameleon carriers. On May 13, 2015, Lacey Lewis was sentenced to 24 months probation.
Two days later, the federal case against Devasko Lewis was dismissed -- because on April 17, he had been sentenced to life without parole for murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery.
Lewis, according to prosecutors, conspired to murder co-defendant Corey Daniels, who had agreed to cooperate in the federal case against Lewis. Shortly after he agreed to cooperate, an attempt was made on his life. Although Daniels was the actual target, in a case of mistaken identity, his nephew, Kerry Glenn, was killed at Daniels’ residence.
Prior to the murder, Lewis had "expressed his displeasure" with Daniels’ cooperation against him in the federal case, according to the FMCSA. Published reports indicate Lewis hired a hit man to take Daniels out. That hit man, Jamarcus Clark, had also shot through the front door Daniels' mother's house five days earlier, leading to another conspiracy to commit murder charge for himself and Lewis.
According to a report in the Macon Telegraph, Judge George F. Nunn described the killing as "a cold-blooded, calculated murder."
"He was facing 12 months in prison and he hires a man to literally take out and kill the man who’s going to testify against him. ... That is hard for me to comprehend,” Nunn said.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Driver's License - Getting and keeping it
During my early teen years, I was very interested in cars. I hated school and my major goal in life was to get a driver’s license and be able to drive. The mid-sixties was in the middle of the great muscle car era and I was hooked. That was what I dreamed about constantly and it seemed like forever until the day I finally turned 16 years of age in 1968 Milwaukee.

My brother and I were already pretty skilled in driving at that time with my mom taking us to a shopping center parking lot quite frequently late at night to let us practice driving, even sliding around on snow and ice to get the feel of how a car handles. At that time teens were not required to take a driver training course, I just learned by driving while one of our parents were in the car. And occasionally sneaking my mom’s car out by myself when they weren’t home!

Our '57 New Yorker

As soon as I could get a learner’s permit I got one and had to wait a bit before they would give me the road test. My dad was not a patient man and it was he that took me down for my test in the family car, a huge 1957 Chrysler New Yorker after my birthday. I was nervous, but confident in my ability to pass the test, that is until the instructor took me down a city street through a school zone! School was on and I neglected to see the sign, as the instructor asked me how fast I was going. I looked and said “about 30” and he informed me that the limit was 15 mph. We went back to the station where he informed me and my father that I had flunked for speeding. On the way home, my dad told me that if I flunked again, I would be waiting until I was 18 to drive.

Well, I was careful on the next test and it was one of the happiest days of my life when I was issued my driver’s license. But sometimes getting it, and then keeping it, can be somewhat difficult.

I managed to get through the first few months through the winter with no incidents. During the spring of the following year, it was a nice warm day and I decided to take my motorcycle for a ride down Lake Shore Drive. I was driving along a city street through Shorewood and as I came around a curve passed a parked patrol car with radar. The speed limit was artificially set low at 30 mph for a wide boulevard street and I was going probably about 40 or better, not paying attention. The red lights and siren came on, he pulled me over and I gave him my license. He not only wrote me a traffic citation, but he informed me that he was going to call my parents and tell them because of my age! So that was my first strike.

I had a probationary license, much stricter on violations than a regular license, I think they charged double the points for every citation. If I would have gotten another ticket within a period of time, they would have suspended my license.

Well, just a few short months later, that almost happened. I was driving along in the late afternoon and came to an intersection with a 4-way stop sign. I don’t recall the exact details but I arrived at the stop sign about the same time as a vehicle came up going across. I thought I had the right of way, was probably being too aggressive and cut the other vehicle off as I went through. That other vehicle just happened to be an unmarked patrol car with two Milwaukee police officers in it! The driver made a hard right, turned on his lights and pulled me over. I remember he was very angry, chewing me out as he asked for my license and told me he was going to write a ticket for failure to yield. Just as he had my license in hand and was about to walk back to his car, his partner opened the passenger side door, jumped out and hollered “we got a call!” The angry cop handed me my license back and said something about it being my lucky day, as he ran back to the car and they peeled out with lights and siren going.

After realizing how close I came to losing my license that day, I was pretty careful for a long time afterwards. Having to face my dad after a suspension would not have been good! I loved driving and the freedom it gave me and it would have been torture to have lost that privilege, I was probably still about a year away from my 18th birthday. Lesson learned, thankfully.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Supercharger Turns Ram 1500 V6s Into Hemi Slayers

Article thanks to Bruce Smith and Links provided:

Sprintex package gives 3.6L Pentastar V6s 20hp more than 5.7L Hemi and 27% better mpg

May, 2015  Sprintex USA is Ramming up HP and torque for the late model Dodge Ram equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 by introducing its innovative Sprintex Dodge Ram twin-screw supercharger for 2012-newer 1500s.
Proven to deliver up to 54% more horsepower and 47% ft. lbs. of torque over stock, this supercharger serves up 50 ft. lbs. of torque by 1,000 RPM with no lag off the throttle.
With an additional 100 horsepower, this system delivers 60 mph in less than six seconds. The Sprintex supercharger ($5,495), the first available on the market for the V6 Dodge Ram 1500, provides clear advantages over the Hemi engine option: 27% better gas mileage, 20 additional HP and 200 lbs. lighter weight.
The Sprintex supercharger, which utilizes the Ram’s stock air box housing, is built as a fully integrated system that is reversible and all components are supplied pre-assembled.
Engineered with self-contained oiling, there is no need for external oil lines or for additional upgrades. Complete installation is estimated to be between six to eight hours.
For more information about the Sprintex Supercharger:  855.591.2778; Sprintex USA

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Major Truck Accident - Finding the Missing Truth
Something to think about. Good article thanks to Deborah Lockridge and Links provided:
A trucker rear-ends a car at 50 mph in broad daylight on a nearly deserted Interstate highway, killing a 10-year-old child and injuring others in the car. Slam-dunk win for the plaintiff, right?
Not so fast.
A while back, we published an interview with Dallas-based attorney Bill Chamblee. Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson is a legal firm defending trucking companies against lawsuit stemming from traffic accidents.
My interview with him was extensive and had to be edited for length. But I recently stumbled across those notes and wanted to share one of his court stories with you.
In this case, a truck rear-ended a passenger vehicle on I-35 in broad daylight. A 10-year-old died, others in the car were injured and the family sued for millions of dollars.
"All the information and data showed our truck was traveling approximately 50 mph when it rear-ended the vehicle of the plaintiffs," Chamblee explains. There were no other vehicles on the roadway to speak of. There was no emergency evasive maneuver that had to be taken because someone changed lanes.
Chamblee said he talked to the driver repeatedly, at the time of the wreck and before the trial, and the driver consistently said he checked his mirrors in preparation to change lanes because there were mowers up ahead. There was no vehicle in front of him until he turned his vision back to the road after that short mirror check. Suddenly there was a car, apparently stopped or moving very slowly.
"Everybody believed it wasn't defensible," Chamblee recalled. The assumption is if you don't see a vehicle in front of you, obviously you weren't paying attention or you were fatigued and fell asleep.
"I told everyone at the start, if our driver is telling the truth, there's another explanation for this accident, and that's what we need to find," Chamblee says.
The car, he deduced, was probably off the side of the road for some reason and pulled out in front of the truck. But that didn't match up with what the plaintiffs were saying.
So he started digging. He learned that the plaintiffs had traveled to San Antonio to pick up the husband and were on their way back. "They had this kind of broken bizarre relationship, and the plaintiffs were not forthcoming in their depositions about their trip, the purpose of the trip, why they were traveling," Chamblee says. "They weren't credible, they weren't forthcoming and honest about their relationships and reason for being in San Antonio.
"So when I talked to the jury I said, 'You're going to hear from the plaintiffs that they were on the roadway and traveling with the flow of traffic, but we know from crash data and accident reconstructions that they were at a stop or slowly moving. You'll hear from our driver, who's an honest and credible man without a mark on his record, that he looked up from checking his mirrors and saw a vehicle in the road.
"You're going to have to decide which version is the truth, and I think you're going to decide it's my driver because the plaintiffs have too many credibility problems, because they didn't tell the truth about what happened before or about the speed of the vehicle."
Chamblee won the case.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Unsafe Teen Drivers

Article thanks to and Buzz News. Links provided:

A Truck Driver Noticed A Large Amount Of Unsafe Teen Drivers. Here’s What He Did In Response.

After 20 years on the road, one truck driver has set out to make the road a safer place for future drivers.

Posted on July 8, 2015 in BuzzNews
After driving across the U.S. for over 20 years, truck driver Bryan Miller, of Fremont, Nebraska, has seen it all; beautiful scenery, picture-perfect sunsets, and unfortunately, lots of unsafe driving.
Miller has driven for Fremont Contract Carriers Inc. for two decades, and noticed that one group of drivers was often guiltyof unsafe driving practices — teenagers.
Miller and FCC’s safety training coordinator, Amber Wesely, set out to change that and organized a driver training course at Fremont High School in order to educate soon-to-be drivers on how to safely drive among big rigs.
A local newspaper, the Fremont Tribune, recently attended one of their courses and reported on what they saw.
Cheetahs versus elephants
In order to exemplify the massive size difference between cars and trucks, Wesely used an analogy comparing big trucks to elephants.
“Semis are like the big, lumbering elephant, and cars are like cheetahs. Cheetahs are certainly faster, but if a cheetah ever collided with an elephant, it wouldn’t end well.” she told the class.
Blind spots
Miller and Wesely gave students a first hand view of what it’s like from a truck driver’s perspective.
They parked a van 30 feet behind a semi and asked students to step into the truck’s cab and see if they could see the van. They couldn’t.
“If you are driving too close and you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, than the driver of the truck cannot see you. If the semi puts his brakes on and you hit him, it’s your fault, period,” Wesely told the class.
Improper (or lack of) signal usage
The two also touched on the fact that 2 million crashes occur each year due to improper signal usage, twice as many than the number caused by distracted driving. A crash due to improper signal usage around a semi truck has a high chance of leading to serious injury or death.
Driving’s a privilege, not a right.
“Nowhere in the United States Constitution does it say you have the right to drive on the road.” Wesely also told the class.
Over 500 students have taken the course so far and their efforts are starting to pay off. The Fremont Police Department have noted a significant drop in crashes between new drivers and semi trucks in the area.
Several students also reached out the two, stating the the course has made a significant difference in their driving habits.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Put Key Fob In Freezer To Prevent Vehicle Theft
Post thanks to Bruce Smith at Links provided:

“Icing” your truck’s key fob can prevent electronic break-ins

May, 2015  Thieves are always trying to stay one step ahead of honest folks.
The latest wrinkle involves break-in artists walking up to vehicles with keyless entry and unlocking them as if they had the owner’s key fob.
These thieves are using what is essentially a handheld amplifier that makes the vehicle’s electronic locking system think the key fob is right next to it, when in reality the keyless transmitter is sitting in your house or business 100 feet away.
A fellow automotive writer, Nick Bilton at the New York Times, has had his car broken into this way multiple times recently as have some of his Los Angeles neighbors.
Bilton did a lot of research to figure out how this was happening. He finally talked with Boris Danev, a founder of 3db Technologies, a security company based in Switzerland.
Mr. Danev specializes in wireless devices, including key fobs, and has written several research papers on the security flaws of keyless car systems.
Danev says the young thieves likely got into the car using a relatively simple and inexpensive device called a “power amplifier.”
He explained it like this to Bilton: In a normal scenario, when you walk up to a car with a keyless entry and try the door handle, the car wirelessly calls out for your key so you don’t have to press any buttons to get inside. If the key calls back, the door unlocks. But the keyless system is capable of searching for a key only within a couple of feet.
Danev said that when the thief turned on the device, which cost less than a $100 online, it amplified the distance that the car can search, which then allowed the car to talk to the key fob in the house.
Voila! Unlocked doors.  No broken glass. No alarm.
So how do you prevent your truck, work van or car from being fob-jacked? “Put the fob in the freezer, which acts as a Faraday Cage, and won’t allow a signal to get in or out,” says Danev.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Truckers Say Ill. Cops Cross Line
Story thanks to Links provided:

May, 2015  The Midwest Truckers Association has filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Transportation accusing police of over ticketing truck drivers in Will County. The association says local police are taking advantage of confusing signage to collect revenue through overweight tickets. As much as $2.5 million has been collected from truckers ticketed on a section of Manhattan-Monee Road from U.S. Route 52 East to U.S. 45, says the group. “County police have figured out if they just sit at the road, they can make some money,” wrote MTA Associate Director Matt Wells in a letter to the DOT. One truck driver was fined more than $20,000 last fall, an amount that could put him out of business, according to his lawyer. The drivers do not claim the ticketed trucks are not in fact overweight for the road but that the signage there is misleading and that law enforcement is taking advantage of the situation. Turning onto U.S. 45, the first sign a driver sees says the road has a 15-ton weight limit; however, another sign in the same line of vision labels the road as a truck route. The 15-ton limit actually refers to a culvert west of U.S. 45, but the trucks have to pass over it on their route. “Who in the world would [limit] a structure to 15 tons on a road that has a sign that says truck route,” asked Wells. “Everyone has logically assumed that the culvert five miles ahead is just past [the highway] because the sign says it’s a truck route and they can access U.S. 45 this way.” Local police defend the signage. The Illinois DOT has issued an e-mail statement saying it is looking into the matter.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

How to lose a customer before you even get one, thanks Centurylink!

One hour and 16 minutes of life wasted.

Thinking about it for several months after Comcast jacked my rate up yet again for internet service I made the decision to try Centurylink Broadband through the phone line. I had been a previous customer twice before when they were known as Quest and had been fairly satisfied with their performance.

It was my understanding that they have been upgrading their service in many areas to high speed connections that were as good as Comcast. I found an introductory offer on-line for a much cheaper rate than my current Comcast that was guaranteed for one year, ordered the modem and set a date for service install.

As the date drew near to start service I had to call the customer service department to make some changes. That began a nightmare of a phone call that last one hour and 16 minutes while I was handed off to 5 different people!

After navigating their frustrating menu, I was on hold for 10 minutes before getting a live person to talk to. I gave her my account info, she was gone for awhile before finally coming back and asking where I live. I said "Salt Lake City, UT" and she said "no wonder I can't find you, your not in my area and I need to transfer you". Great, I get transferred and am on hold again for another 12 minutes.

Another live body comes on and asked for my info all over again. His computer pulls up a previous account of mine and he's telling me that I have been cancelled. As I try to explain, he says "this is not my department and I need to transfer you to account retention services, please hold". By than I was already pretty irate as I sat on hold for another 15 minutes.

So on and on, the next person says I shouldn't have been transferred to her, I need the billing department! Another wait, and another until I got to the fifth person. It was more than 70 minutes after I first dialed the phone.

By that time I had to try so hard to keep from yelling at the guy and flat out told him that I was cancelling my account and I need it done NOW! Fortunately, he was able to do that without transferring me to a sixth "person". I'm trying to be nice and not call them names, I know they are probably doing what they have been trained to do. I opened the box that the new modem came in, retrieved the return shipping label, stuck it on and dropped it at UPS.

So, Centurylink, you lost me as a repeat customer before it even began. These companies really need to look at their customer service department and understand what is happening.

So, I have been hearing that Google internet may be coming to this area, I'll wait a while and see about other options.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ryder among ‘America’s Best Employers’
Article thanks to Matt Cole and Links provided:

By Matt Cole on 
Ryder System, Inc. has been named one of Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers,” ranking 62nd out of 500 on the list.
The 500 employers on the list were chosen based on an independent survey of 20,000 American employees working for large U.S. companies and institutions, and U.S. divisions of international firms.
They were asked anonymously through several online panels if they’d recommend their employer, or any other employers in their industry, to a potential employee. The survey was conducted on companies in all industry sectors employing more than 2,500 workers in the U.S.
Ryder was also recently named among Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” Ryder is a $6.6 billion commercial fleet management and supply chain solutions company, with operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia.