Community where slain trucker was found has truck parking ban

| 11/9/2009

Police officials have released the name of the slain trucker who was found fatally shot while parked at a dirt lot in Moreno Valley, CA.

Albert Thomas, a 56-year-old driver for KLLM Transport Services, was found dead in his truck a few hours after he failed to show up at his 7 a.m. scheduled delivery time at a Moreno Valley grocery store. Police said he was shot in the back multiple times and was found in his sleeper.

Thomas, who also lived in Moreno Valley, had parked his truck at a dirt lot in Moreno Valley. Moreno Valley Police Sgt. Jamie Briones said it is common for truckers to park there “for overnight stays.”

Briones also confirmed that the city of Moreno Valley has an ordinance that prohibits truckers from parking at their residences, which could explain why he was parked at the lot where he was found.

“Truckers cannot park their rigs in neighborhoods,” Briones told Land Line on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

At this time, Briones said the department still has no leads, but added there’s evidence that “some things” were taken from Thomas’ cab, but not from the load itself.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been fighting for more truck parking for all professional drivers as more states close down rest areas because of budget problems and other municipalities pass ordinances restricting trucks from city limits.

OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz said this latest tragedy highlights the dilemma that many truckers face. They can’t park their trucks at home, so they stay with their loads and sometimes become victims of violent crimes.

“This latest tragedy once again underscores the need to develop meaningful solutions to provide secure truck parking, which is in short supply across the country,” Rajkovacz said.

OOIDA has been urging its members to contact their lawmakers regarding two bills, HR2156 and S971, titled “Jason’s Law” bills. The bills seek $120 million spread over five years for more safe parking options. The bills are named for trucker Jason Rivenburg, who was fatally shot in his rig while parked at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer