Another conviction in Illinois bribery case

| 6/2/2003

An employee of an Illinois trucking firm has been convicted of bribery, the second worker at the company to face penalties for the crime, The Chicago Tribune reported recently.

Frank Catanzarite, who was a manager at the Lyons, IL, facility of Watkins Motor Lines, has pleaded guilty to taking bribes from drivers who wanted to haul for the firm.

John Nowak, a former safety supervisor at Watkins’ Lyons terminal was convicted last year in U.S. District Court of accepting bribes from about 20 unqualified drivers. He received four months’ home confinement for that conviction.

One of the drivers Nowak received payments from was Adem Salihovic, who caused a fatal 74-vehicle wreck in 1998. Salihovic allegedly paid a bribe to obtain an Illinois commercial driver’s license and bribed trucking company officials so he could drive for the firm, The Tribune reported in early December.

In November 1998, Salihovic lost control of his truck on a fog-shrouded California highway, the newspaper reported, triggering a pileup that killed two people and injured 51. The Tribune had reported two years ago that Salihovic paid $800 to the manager at a Melrose Park, IL, state licensing facility to obtain a CDL permit in June 1998.

Catanzarite has acknowledged that he assisted Nowak.

The newspaper said Watkins had made attempts to ensure its drivers were qualified, including making them take skills tests before hauling freight for the company.