their search for a Florida truckdriver who disappeared three weeks ago along
with the truck he was driving. William Casey Ellis, 22, of Ocala was last
seen driving a truck owned by Lester Coggins Trucking (LCT).
Ellis tried to deliver
a load of concentrated orange juice on Sept. 13 in Cincinnati, but the recipient
of the load refused to take it because it had apparently been damaged, a LCT
official told Land Line. Ellis then asked the company for permission to travel
to the Charleston, WV, area to attend a family funeral. Authorities have since
learned that there were no known funerals in the family.
He then stopped by his
father's home in West Virginia, spent the night and the following day left
to find a place to dispose of the load. The Marion County Sheriff's Office
is unclear what may have happened to Ellis after visiting his father. He has
not been seen since. Since his disappearance, the Global Positioning System
installed in the truck apparently has been disconnected. The last satellite
track had him positioned four miles from Tornado, WV.
His LCT credit card
was last used on Sept. 16 in West Virginia, but clerks at the truckstop could
not positively identify the man as being Ellis, the Ocala Star-Banner reported.
The Okahumpka, FL, truck company later filed a stolen vehicle report with
authorities and has since cancelled all company cards and supplies he needed
to conduct business.
Ellis was reported missing
by family on Sept. 27. "We talked to him the day after the bombings,"
his mother, Robin Wilson, told the newspaper. "It's not like him not
to call and check on his daughter." Wilson helps care for the 2-year-old
The missing driver and
truck are authorized to haul hazardous materials. LCT says its drivers are
required to have valid hazardous chemicals transport licenses. Sonny Price,
the company's director of safety, said the truck and trailer, which was transporting
orange juice at the time of Ellis' disappearance, should not have been labeled
with a hazmat placard. "The load had nothing to do with hazmat and was
marked as such," Price said. LCT hauls Group 2 and 3 package hazmat,
which is classified as medium and minimal danger.
The tractor, a white
1999 Kenworth with Florida tag A7629C, and its trailer, a 1998 Great Dane
with Ohio tag C0283M, have been listed in the national stolen vehicle computer.
Price said the tractor and trailer both have blue and yellow stripes and display
the company's "LCT" on the sides. The tractor also has the identification
number 907 on the side and the trailer has an identification of N3858.
Anyone with information
about the truck or Ellis' whereabouts should contact the Marion County Sheriff's
Office at (352) 732-9111.