Truckers mourn loss of slain NY trucker

| 3/12/2009

Truckers around the country are mourning the senseless loss of one of their own.

More than 1,000 people, including some drivers the family of slain trucker Jason Rivenburg said they had never met, showed up to pay their respects at his visitation on March 11 in Fultonham, NY.

While stopped to take his mandatory 10-hour break on March 5, Rivenburg was fatally shot during an apparent robbery. He was parked at an abandoned gas station at mile marker 136 off Interstate 26, south of Columbia, SC.

He was shot twice in the head at close range through the cab window of his truck. Three suspects are in custody and have been charged with the crime. The suspects are accused of making off with the estimated $7 that Rivenburg had in his wallet.

Rivenburg’s father-in-law, Carl “Butch” Savage of Fultonham, NY, said the family appreciates all the support they have received from the trucking community. Some truckers convoyed to the New York state capital in Albany on Wednesday, March 11, to gain public awareness on the issue of providing adequate and safe parking for truckers.

“Some didn’t even know him, but they were truckers who heard about it and came to support,” he told Land Line Now on Sirius XM.

Rivenburg drove part-time for Frank and Donna VanderVeen who own VanderVeen Trucking Inc. of Delanson, NY.

The VanderVeens recently returned from South Carolina, where they had to pick up the truck.

Donna said that even the tow truck company, R & B Auto Repair and Collision in Swansea, SC, were touched by what happened to Rivenburg when settling the $500 bill on the towing costs.

“So Frank gave him his credit card and he paid the bill. Then the tow truck driver asked the name of the driver’s wife … And he turned around, and this fellow’s wife wrote out a check to Hope Rivenburg for $500.”

Rivenburg leaves behind a 2-year-old son. His wife is pregnant with twins.

Donna said they were “amazed” by the tow truck company’s kindness. Ricky Baker, who owns R & B, was the first one to tell them about Rivenburg’s death when he called early Saturday, March 7, because he was notifying the VanderVeens that he was towing their truck to an impound yard.

“I kept asking him what about the driver. … I must have asked him two or three times and then he realized we didn’t know yet,” she said.

Savage said the Rivenburg family plans to meet with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, on Saturday, March 14, about the petition they are circulating to push for legislation to address the growing truck parking problem. Click here if you would like to sign the petition.

“Everybody’s for it. Everybody agrees there’s got to be parking for trucks,” Savage said.


– By Staff Writers Clarissa Kell-Holland and Reed Black