Line One
Roses & Razzberries

ROSE to four of New York City’s finest. They are Sgt. Hector Santiago, Officer William Vargas, Lt. Peter Santana and Officer Iman Tirado — all with the Department of Safety’s Emergency Services Unit at Hunts Point. All four quickly responded after California driver David Benson, 56, collapsed beside his employer’s truck after suffering a massive heart attack. Vargas reported no pulse and immediately began CPR while Santiago called on EMTs Santana and Tirado, who used an automatic electronic defibrillator to deliver two shocks. After the first shock — no response. Then after the second, Benson regained a pulse and oxygen was administered. The driver, a resident of Yucaipa, CA, works for Ed Stratton Trucking, Adelanto, CA. Owner Stratton later said: “(David) was dead. The guys at Hunts Point brought him back.” As of Oct. 10, Benson was reportedly in stable condition — good news — however, he broke his back when he fell, so the challenge to recover will be formidable.”(David) has been with us three years,” Stratton said. “I can tell you, he’s one of the best.”

OOIDA member Pete Lopez gives a RAZZBERRY to UPS of Farmington, NM, which recently allowed DOT to train inspectors and perform inspections on its premises. The problem: Local police were stopping big rigs on Highway 64 to enable the UPS trucks to enter the area first. “They stopped me on a four-lane highway so the UPS trucks would have the right of way,” Pete said. “They shut down a lot of people — the over-the-road and bobtail drivers were getting hammered. What really griped me was that all the UPS drivers were standing around giggling at us because we had our hoods open — and our wallets out.”

OOIDA members Carl Springsteen and Wanda Jo Winkelman, Detroit, owner-operators with a combined driving experience of nearly 50 years, give a RAZZBERRY to Uniroyal for a prominent billboard at exit 208 on eastbound I-94 promoting the company’s new SUV tire. The sign says, “The SUV tire for everyday adventures. Like passing 18-wheelers.” Carl: “Both of us are highly insulted by this — they could have mentioned more typical problems, like dodging orange barrels or bicyclists, but they decided to pick on truckers.” Wanda: “That billboard says we are road hazards and a nuisance — a stereotype doesn’t need to be put on a billboard.” Wanda and Carl contacted Uniroyal five times to make their point and ask for a reply. So far, no one from the company has responded.

When OOIDA member Bill Taylor stopped at the St. Clair, MO, weigh station, the only problem appeared to be a burned-out headlight. But asked to pull forward to make room for another truck, Bill’s rig jerked, and there was an explosion. “I felt a gush of air. Then a second tire went flat and people came running to see what happened,” Bill said. The problem: The aluminum wheel chocks were left in place between two rear tires. “Everybody just shook their head, but the DOT guy and a young, courteous inspector apologized. Everyone was joking around — one guy said I should wear the wheel chocks around my neck.” A ROSE to the weigh station, Bill says, and to OOIDA’s Business Services unit. After the incident, a mechanic told Bill the repair costs are the driver’s responsibility and he should do battle with Missouri if he didn’t agree. A RAZZBERRY to the mechanic. Bill called Business Services, which in turn called Jefferson City. Weigh station officials had already notified state authorities they were responsible for the $501 repair bill. The lesson: “I know you’re expected to do exactly what inspectors tell you to do, but from now on, I’m going to walk around my truck before I move forward,” Bill said.

OOIDA member Ron Sidebottom gives a ROSE to the scale house on I-65 southbound from Kentucky to Tennessee. The facility recently celebrated driver appreciation day by feeding truckers and by being “just plain friendly,” Ron says. In addition, they handed out useful information related to new hours-of-service rules.

Michael Eshleman recently wrote the executive producer of the new CBS television show “Joan of Arcadia” on behalf of his father, Terry, a long-time member of OOIDA with 30 years’ driving experience. When tuning in to the show, Michael was surprised to hear Mary Steenburgen’s character telling her daughter Joan, after she was sent to the principal’s office, that she would end up in a “big rig school.” A RAZZBERRY to the writer, says Michael, who wrote: “Just what’s so bad about being a truckdriver? My father has been one for 30 years and has made a good living at it. He is one of the smartest and most capable men around, and I resent your contemptuous attitude toward him and his fellow drivers.”