Friday, September 11, 2015

OOIDA member takes journalist on ride-along, makes big impact

We here at Land Line give the mainstream press a hard time when they get a story wrong that involves truckers or truck driving. It’s only fair then that we give them an “atta boy” when they get it right.

Last week, reporter Dennis Yohnke of The Daily Journal in Kankakee, Ill., wrote a pair of stories about trucking. They’re both good, but we particularly enjoyed this one about Yohnke’s experiences during a ride-along with a trucker from Hoekstra Transportation, LLC. He writes an “unofficial trucker’s log” that starts at 4:30 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m.

Along the way, the reporter and the trucker make about five scheduled pickups along the route, a visit to the truck stop for coffee, and a lengthy detour around I-65 in Indiana.

The driver who gave the reporter an inside-the-cab look at a day on the road is OOIDA Life Member Steve Collins of Urbana, Ill. A 43-year veteran of the trucking industry, Collins said he enjoyed having the reporter along for the ride.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

#TBT – Remembering Pennsylvania’s ‘Turnpike Phantom’ of 1953

Editor’s note: It’s “Throwback Thursday” and we’re breaking into the Land Line digital archive to bring you a November 2009 story from State Legislative Editor Keith Goble, who talked to OOIDA Life Member John Taylor, a 65-year veteran of the trucking industry, about his recollections of a highway shooter who terrorized truckers in Pennsylvania.

In 1953, a roving sniper was on the loose terrorizing communities, shooting people to death at random. All the shots allegedly were fired from the same weapon. Detectives frantically pursued the killer, questioned suspects, analyzed clues, and followed countless leads.

The story dominated the national media, which called the shootings “an unprecedented wave of fear.” The story sounds a lot like the D.C. sniper story, but it happened about 56 years ago in Pennsylvania.

On July 25, 1953, trucker Lester Woodward, 30, was fatally shot while sleeping in his truck’s cab near the Irwin Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Western Pennsylvania.

Three days later and 30 miles farther east on the turnpike, near Donegal, trucker Harry Pitts, 28, was slain by the same “phantom killer.”

Three days after that, trucker John Shepherd, 36, was shot and wounded as he slept in his truck’s cab near Lisbon, Ohio – 18 miles from the western end of the turnpike.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Trooper, ‘good Samaritan’ honored for pulling trucker from flaming wreck

Our abbreviated deadline for the holiday weekend left us unable to cover this as it was happening, but if you haven’t seen the video of a Minnesota good Samaritan being recognized for helping a state trooper pull a trucker from a fiery crash, well, take 15 minutes out of your day and check it out.

Seriously, gang. This is an incredible story of heroism, on the parts of both the state trooper, and Paul Langseth, who owns a tree-trimming and nursery business in Worthington, Minn. The story of the patrol’s efforts to locate Langseth in the days after the crash is almost but not quite as exciting as the actual rescue itself. Take a look.