‘Clean and green’ – alleged serial killer had no shady background

| 7/16/2007

The former supervisor of an accused serial killer said the 56-year-old Illinois man had never failed a drug test and had not been a problem driver. When he was hired more than a year ago, the routine background checks conducted during his interview process were unremarkable.

Bruce Mendenhall, Albion, IL, was arrested and charged last week with criminal homicide in connection with the death of Sara Nicole Hulbert, 25. Hulbert’s body was found at 12:40 a.m. on June 26 alongside a fence at the Nashville TravelCenters of America truck stop.

During interviews with Nashville police, Mendenhall admitted to involvement in the early June death of another Tennessee woman and gave information concerning four other women’s deaths.

Danny Davis, owner of Quality Oak Products of Noble, IL, said Mendenhall worked for Dart Transit before Davis hired him about one year ago, and had been a driver for 18 years.

“They ran all that information on him – they told us he was clean and green,” Davis told Land Line Magazine on Monday. “Our insurance company wouldn’t hire anybody that’s got bad violations. They said everything was fine.”

Davis said he remembered placing phone calls to Dart Transit of Eagan, MN, regarding Mendenhall’s work record.

“They didn’t give him a bad report or anything,” Davis said. “We did everything we were supposed to do.”

Authorities are also trying to tie Mendenhall to the killing of 48-year-old Symantha Winters on June 6, as well as a 43-year-old woman who was shot to death on Feb. 22 at Lake Station, IN, a 43-year-old woman found on Jan. 29 in Atlanta, and a 44-year-old woman shot July 1 in Birmingham, AL.

The Associated Press reported that Mendenhall ran a failed campaign for mayor about 10 years ago in his hometown of Albion, IL, after a dispute about junked cars parked in his yard.

Police detectives have been making phone calls from several different states regarding women killed at rest areas and truck stops, making it difficult for Davis and his wife to take calls from their customers and drivers.

“I’ve been trying to run my business, to be blunt about it,” Davis told Land Line on Monday. “We’re still surviving.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer