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News roundup, Feb. 5: HHG mover pleads guilty to racketeering; trucker named Highway Angel for assisting at accident scene; enclosed car hauler recognized

Updated Feb 6, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020:

Florida-based HHG mover pleads guilty to racketeering
Vladimir Pestereanu, a foreman for a moving company enterprise based in Florida, pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to one count of participating in a racketeering conspiracy related to a moving company enterprise. The enterprise allegedly controlled several moving companies and defrauded, extorted and stole from customers seeking to move household goods, according to DOT OIG.

OIG says the companies would offer low estimates and promised to beat competitors’ prices. Then after loading goods onto a truck, employees would increase the price of the move, holding the goods hostage until the customer paid the inflated prices. They also allegedly charged customers for moving more cubic feet of goods than they actually loaded, and did not deliver some goods at all.

OIG adds that when customers would complain, the enterprise would shut down the latest iteration of the company and open a new one, falsifying information about owners’ identities to receive operating licenses from FMCSA.

Trucker named Highway Angel for helping at accident scene
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Network Transport driver Stafford Albertson a Highway Angel for helping at the scene of a serious accident involving a van and two trucks.

Stafford AlbertsonStafford Albertson

Albertson was about 70 miles outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, when he heard a report on the CB that there was a bad wreck ahead with a van and two trucks. As he approached the accident, he could see a woman standing off to the side in the grass and one of the trucks, a box truck with a sleeper, was on its side.

“The cab was mangled,” Albertson said. “The door had been torn off and the driver had been ejected. Someone was already helping him. Then someone said there was another man in the cab, in the sleeper. I could hear him in there moaning.”

Albertson said the man in the sleeper was buried under debris. A small microwave and mattress had landed on him, along with parts of the truck. Albertson assured the man help was on the way as he worked to dig him out. He was finally able to free him and help him out of the truck.

By this point, police had arrived, and Albertson heard they were bringing a Life Air Rescue helicopter. Albertson saw a problem, however. The truck had been carrying paint cans which were strewn across the accident scene. “I knew those paint cans would become like shrapnel when the helicopter came in, so we needed him to land where no one would be too close,” he said.

He told the sheriff he had been a combat lifesaver in the military and had experience helping land helicopters, so he helped make sure the pilot made a safe landing. One of the truckers was then airlifted from the scene.

For his willingness to help, TCA presented Albertson with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. Network Transport also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors the TCA Highway Angel program.

Jacinda Duran: WIT February ‘Member of the Month’
The Women in Trucking (WIT) association recognized third-generation female truck driver Jacinda Duran as its February 2020 Member of the Month.

Duran has been around trucking her entire life. Her mother was a professional truck driver for 23 years and often took Duran with her on the job. Her father drove dump trucks and cement trucks. Her grandmother hauled produce in California for more than 50 years. Her grandfather did his hauling in the 1950s.

Ten years ago, Duran got started with FedEx Express as a courier, then transitioned into Class 8s in 2014. She has experience driving limos, buses, charter buses and everything in between. Today, she hauls enclosed car carriers for Plycar Transportation, based in Kings Park, N.Y.Ten years ago, Duran got started with FedEx Express as a courier, then transitioned into Class 8s in 2014. She has experience driving limos, buses, charter buses and everything in between. Today, she hauls enclosed car carriers for Plycar Transportation, based in Kings Park, N.Y.

The company recruited Duran after seeing her social media page, Jacinda Lady Truckin, recognizing a passion for the business that fit their elite trucking team. Plycar’s six-week training program delivered the basics of loading and unloading unique, one-of-a-kind cars. She became the company’s first solo female driver.

For the past year, she’s run coast to coast and in all 48 states. “I stay out on the road for a long period of time, living in my truck,” she says. “I get to travel the country, seeing friends, making new friends and living the best life out on the road. I am blessed and thank God every day for my health, my life and my blessings.” She’s the proud mother of two children. Her daughter is in nursing school at Northern Arizona University and her son is a cadet in the U.S. Air Force Academy, obtaining a degree in Aero Engineering.

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