Truckers plan convoy around statehouse in Indianapolis on Friday

| 4/16/2008

OOIDA member Dennis Breeden, along with his uncle, Darrell Breeden, of JT Express Trucking in Washington, IN, have been busy this week finalizing details for a truck convoy they are organizing to the state Capitol in Indianapolis on Friday, April 18.

They are organizing the convoy in hopes of gaining media and political attention to the fuel crisis affecting small-business truckers. For information on the event, click here.

Darrell Breeden, who is the company’s safety manager and dispatcher, told Land Line on Wednesday, April 16, that they decided to take action and organize the convoy after watching so many businesses in their area close their doors because of high fuel prices and low freight rates in the past six months. JT Express is a family-owned company that has 28 trucks.

“We’re a small company that’s just trying to keep from closing, too,” he said. “We just want to call attention and ask for some kind of intervention and support from the state and federal government.”

Breeden said truckers will be meeting at the Cloverdale Travel Plaza at Exit 41 on Interstate 70, in Cloverdale, IN. They are scheduled to begin gathering at 9 a.m. and then convoy to Indianapolis where they will circle the statehouse.

They have permission to be there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, but Breeden said he doesn’t think they will use the full time they have been allowed.

“We are planning to go down and circle the statehouse with our trucks in an orderly fashion,” he said. “We’ve got permits and are going to have police escorts and everything. We are not out to break laws; we’re just trying to call attention to what is an extremely serious crisis in the industry.”

Breeden said his family has been working with U.S. Representative Brad Ellsworth, D-IN, to address some of the issues small-business trucking companies like theirs are facing as diesel prices continue to rise and freight rates continue to drop. His nephew, Dennis Breeden, who owns JT Express, now serves on Ellsworth’s Small Business Committee.

“The Congressman sat down and listened to us for a couple hours and was shocked with what we told him about the industry and what we’ve been going through,” he said. “He told us that he was glad to sit down with us and hear what we had to say because he just hadn’t heard the black and white issues that we are facing in the industry.”

Darrell Breeden and his brother, Carl, both were owner-operators for more than 30 years before coming off the road five years ago to help with the operations side of JT Express.

“Our families have been in the business for close to 100 years,” he said. “We’ve just got a long history in trucking and really just feel like it’s time we’ve got to speak out to save this industry.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer